The Associated Press story by Jonathan Fahey, “Power bills don’t fall with fuel costs,” which ran in the July 12 edition of The Advocate, stated that though “a plunge in the price of natural gas has made it cheaper for utilities to produce energy … the savings aren’t translating to lower rates for customers.”
While, as the article states, the average U.S. residential electricity rate is anticipated to rise about 2.4 percent this summer versus last, the rates Entergy Gulf States Louisiana customers are paying this summer are significantly lower than last year’s — and significantly below the national average. This is largely because the company employs a diverse fuel mix and has had the opportunity over the last several years to take advantage of declining natural gas prices to help effectively manage fuel costs and provide lower rates to our customers.
Our 2011 fuel mix, in fact, was composed of approximately 70 percent natural gas, through purchases and our own generation. The remaining 30 percent consists of coal and nuclear baseload. Louisiana has been blessed in recent years with an abundant source of natural gas, both on and offshore, which has helped translate into lower fuel costs and lower bills for our customers. Natural gas prices, however, can be volatile. That’s why we work hard every day to manage not only our fuel mix but also our operating costs to keep bills as low as they can be.
In 2011, Entergy Gulf States Louisiana’s residential electric rate of about 9 cents per kilowatt-hour was far below the national average of about 12 cents . Our rates for June and July 2012 are down 28 percent compared to last year, and they are the lowest among all regulated utilities in Louisiana.
Though customers are enjoying very low energy rates, it’s important to remember that summer energy usage can still increase power bills. For example, air conditioning units are great for battling the heat and humidity, but they contribute about 60 percent of energy consumption in the summer months. To help customers better manage energy use and power bills, Entergy offers many low- or no-cost ways to become more energy efficient at http://www.entergylouisiana.com\savemoney.com
Louisiana can be proud that, in yet one more positive way, we are bucking the national norm by offering safe, clean, reliable and extremely affordable power that helps make this state the best place to live and do business.
Bill Mohl, president and chief executive officer
Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C. & Entergy Louisiana