Entergy to lower New Orleans electricity rates

Entergy New Orleans Inc. will lower rates by 2.5 percent for electricity customers in Orleans Parish this fall, under a plan the utility company submitted to a City Council committee Thursday.

The company told the City Council utilities committee that it will reduce base rates by $6.5 million a year for electricity customers.

There will be no change for gas customers.

Entergy also intends to refund about $3.8 million to customers who have been paying a higher interim rate since October while the utility company and the council worked to come to an agreement on rates. The credit will appear on bills over a four-month period beginning in September.

The changes must be approved by the full City Council. If accepted, this would be the fifth straight year electricity rates have been reduced.

“This rate decrease will be a benefit to the ratepayers during the hottest months of the year when electrical bills tend to be the highest,” Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said.

Entergy had initially sought to raise its rates, but that adjustment was contested.

“We were able to come to a mutual resolution on this issue for all the parties,” said Gary Huntley, Entergy’s vice president of regulatory and government affairs. “And we were able to do this in a manner where the ratepayers will get immediate action from the settlement.”

An individual residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month would see a $1.62 reduction in their electric bill, from $104.63 to $103.01, under the proposed adjustment.

Entergy New Orleans provides electricity to about 160,000 customers on the east bank of Orleans Parish and natural gas to about 100,000 customers on both sides of the river.

The council utilities committee on Thursday also passed a resolution that would incorporate Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s NOLA Wise energy efficiency program into a similar program, Energy Smart, run by the City Council, in March.

The measure now goes to the full council for a vote.