The Calcasieu Council on Aging and Entergy are giving fans to elderly 60 and over and providing utility assistance and tips on lowering energy usage.
Seventy four year old Myrtle Washington knows what it's like to try to stay cool and pay the light bill. "Paying my electric bill is very hard because I'm taking medicine and the medicine costs like a hundred some dollars. I'm taking twelve kind of medicine and it's hard on me to keep up with my light bill."
That's why she's delighted to get a free fan. "Oh I'm going to enjoy that fan because I'm going to put the fan in my room where I'll keep cool. Right now I have no air conditioning in my room, so sometimes it's very hot at night in my room. A little bit of air is better than no air. You can't stay in a house where you sweat all day and then go to bed and sweat at night. There is no way we can live like that."
Entergy spokesman Lydia Aboagye says fans can be used to help cool and reduce energy use. And they have other tips for using less. Said Aboagye, "We're suggesting for our customers to set their thermostat on the air conditioning to 78 degrees, to change their air conditioning filter monthly, to set their hot water thermostat to 120 degrees, to close the curtains to keep out heat, wash their clothes during the mornings or early evenings. Those are just some of the tips that they can use."
Entergy also has bill pay help through its power to care fund from customer donations matched by the utility. Myrtle is getting that help too. "I called and they told me I could get my light bill paid for this month so I got my light bill paid for this month."
CCOA Director Toni Caraway encourages those who can to contribute to the bill pay fund. "That little box on your utility bill, when you check that little box off that means a dollar comes out for power to care," said Caraway.
Caraway says Entergy matches donations dollar for dollar and urges people to give for those who need help paying the light bill. For more information on getting a fan or other help call the ccoa at 474-2583.
To make an appointment to apply for a fan or energy assistance call CCOA at 474-2583.
Copyright 2011 KPLC.All rights reserved.
The following is a news release issued by Entergy:
Heat Wave Kicks Entergy Customer Assistance into Overdrive
Fans, given to elderly, disabled and low-income customers;
Southwest Louisiana – Hot temperatures are a given part of summer in Louisiana, but beyond being uncomfortable, they are potentially expensive and dangerous. Amid the current heat wave, Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C. is pushing its annual Beat the Heat assistance program into overdrive to help those most vulnerable to these dangers – elderly, disabled and low-income customers – to stay safe, keep cool and potentially lower their utility bills.
Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C. is partnering with Stines and Calcasieu Council on Aging to provide more than 100 free box fans to qualifying low- and fixed-income senior citizens. Residential customers interested in the Beat the Heat program should contact Calcasieu Council on Aging at (337)474-2583 to see if they qualify.
"A simple box fan can make a real difference for someone in need," said Chip Arnould, Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C. regional customer service manager. "Staying cool and hydrated is vitally important for our most vulnerable customers to remain healthy and safe when temperatures rise. That's why were working closely with Calcasieu Council on Aging to identify customers in need and reach out to them with this critical assistance."
Entergy employees have also been sharing important energy-efficiency and conservation information through presentations at community partner agencies across the state. Among the tips they shared was the benefit of using a box fan to circulate air and stay cool while using minimal electricity.
"Another key summer tip is to raise your thermostat to help lower your bill," said Arnould. "Each degree cooler than 78 will increase your bill as much as three percent, so raise thermostats to 78 degrees during hotter months to reduce electricity use as much as 20 percent."
The utility also helps elderly and disabled low-income customers through its customer assistance fund, The Power to Care, which is funded by Entergy employees, customers and shareholders. To contribute to the fund, visit entergy-louisiana.com or check the donation box on your monthly bill. To find out if you qualify to receive assistance, contact your local Council on Aging.
Entergy's Louisiana utility companies serve more than one million customers through the operating companies Entergy Louisiana, LLC and Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C. With operations in southern, central and northeastern Louisiana, the companies are part of Entergy Corp's electric system serving 2.7 million customers in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.
Entergy Pledges $1 Million Additional Assistance
to Help Customers Deal with Extreme Heat, High Bills
Baton Rouge, La. — In response to this summer's extended heat wave and record power usage, Entergy Corporation is allocating $1 million across its four-state service territory to help qualifying elderly and disabled customers who are in need of assistance pay their summer energy bills.
The allocation is divided into two parts:
- Entergy shareholders are providing $500,000 to local nonprofit agencies that provide bill payment assistance to elderly and disabled customers who need assistance.
- Additionally, Entergy is launching a "Double Your Power" fundraising drive to bolster The Power to Care customer assistance fund. Entergy shareholders will give $2 for every $1 in new customer donations to The Power to Care fund, up to an additional $500,000.
"We know from living in the South that summer means higher electricity use as customers try to stay cool," Bill Mohl, president and chief executive officer of Entergy Louisiana, LLC and Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C. said. "This summer we've experienced sustained, record-breaking heat, which can lead to higher energy costs, and can be dangerous. To provide relief, we're building on our summer initiatives by offering a combination of programs to help customers deal more effectively with hotter weather and increased energy costs."
These supplemental donations will provide emergency utility assistance for thousands more elderly and disabled customers beyond those already assisted by Entergy this summer in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Orleans and Texas.
As part of the initial corporate donation to Power to Care agencies in Louisiana, Mohl presented a $220,000 check to the Capital Area Agency on Aging and representative Councils on Aging from parishes across the state served by Entergy. Similar check presentations are being made by other Entergy utilities to nonprofit agencies that provide emergency utility bill assistance to elderly and disabled customers. The total potential donations to customers in Louisiana could reach approximately $550,000 when customer donations to The Power to Care and the shareholder match are calculated.
For more information, to find out if they qualify and to directly apply for assistance, Entergy's Louisiana customers should contact their local Councils on Aging.
As part of the overall initiative to help customers, Entergy is also:
- Providing some 1,000 home weatherization starter kits via special promotions throughout the company's four-state region
- Extending and expanding services at emergency cooling centers for the elderly, and
- Donating an additional 5,000 fans systemwide to qualifying customers via a second round of the company's "Beat the Heat" campaign
The special donation and fundraising drive is continuing the work that Entergy has done to help educate customers about energy-efficiency tips and tools, bill payment assistance, bill management programs and other strategies the company offers to help manage through a hot summer.
Customers have access to money-saving tips and tools in one powerful online resource — ENsight, Entergy's website to help customers save money on their bills. Enhanced features on ENsight include energy, lighting and appliance calculators; simple tips to make homes and businesses more energy-efficient; and information about available energy-efficiency programs.
As they've done throughout the summer, Entergy representatives will continue making energy-efficiency presentations in communities and conducting workshops designed to help customers save money.
"The extended heat wave has made it a very challenging summer for customers, and Entergy wants to do its part to help customers get through the rest of the season as safely, comfortably and cost-effectively as possible," Mohl said.
Entergy, its employees and its customers regularly contribute to The Power to Care, a special fund that provides emergency utility assistance for elderly and disabled customers. None of the donations are used for fundraising or administrative purposes, so 100 percent of contributions go to help those in need. The Power to Care doubles the impact of new pledges and one-time donations through matching Entergy shareholder contributions up to $500,000 annually. Customers can make tax-deductible donations to The Power to Care fund at the secure website at entergy-Louisiana.com or by checking a box to add a dollar or more to their monthly bill.