High prices are still a hot topic, but Southeast Texans can look forward to a welcome break on their electricity bills beginning in March. And the good news is that the new lower costs will be in place throughout the brutal summer months.
In March, Entergy Texas, Inc. customer bills will reflect a new, lower charge for fuel. For the next six months, an average 1,000 kilowatt-hour residential bill will include about $44.42 for fuel. The previous charge was $72.80. The change reflects decreases in fuel costs since the charge was last set in September 2008.
As a result, the average total bill will drop to about $104 from the current $132.
The fuel factor is designed to pass along the actual cost of fuel used to generate electricity for customers. As a pass-through charge, the company is not allowed to make a profit on fuel costs. The Public Utility Commission of Texas has agreed to a set formula that Entergy Texas uses to decide the fuel factor. The formula looks at natural gas prices during the first 10 days of February and again in August with those prices along with actual historical costs and usage then determining what customers will be charged beginning the following months.
“The bills customers received from September 2008 to March 2009 included a charge for fuel that still reflected last year’s high prices,” said Joe Domino, president and chief executive officer, Entergy Texas, Inc. “We are currently only allowed to change the fuel factor twice a year. That change is reflected on bills each March and again in September. “We know how difficult the current economic situation is for our customers in Southeast Texas,” he added. “The lower fuel charge will bring some welcome relief during the coming summer months.”
The PUCT must approve of any changes in what the company charges customers. The rates charged are also trued up to actual costs so there is always the possibility of a surcharge or refund if the company’s forecast is incorrect.
Entergy Texas, Inc. provides electricity to 395,000 customers in 26 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation. Entergy Corp. is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.