Energy bill assistance comes up short for customers in Ascension Parish

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 5:28 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2022 at 6:43 PM CDT
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ASCENSION PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Anthony Kimble first heard about LIHEAP, a program that helps people pay cooling, heating, and water bills, after seeing it on WAFB.

“Well, this is the time of year when People’s Energy Bill usually goes up. It is because it is summertime. They have raised the rates according to what energy said yesterday. I called Entergy and I asked him why my bill was so high, so they looked at my usage and said, they had to admit that their rates have gone up,” Kimble said.

When he went to apply, they told him they were already out of money to help folks out.

“I am still trying to find help with our bill. Our bill is like $423.89, it has never been that much and somebody else picked up the phone and said the same thing, that they were out of funding. So, I said, ‘well, this is a federally funded program, how can you just be out of funding for Ascension Parish?’”

Officials at LIHEAP Quad Area said this summer they had more people coming in who qualified for help, and even though they had additional funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, by mid-July, they were out.

Normally, they run out in late August or September.

“But the summertime is when the bills go up, and there are no funds, that doesn’t make sense,” Kimble said.

Entergy spokesperson David Freese said there are other options for people struggling to pay their bills.

“Although a customer cannot necessarily control the world market, how high natural gas prices are as well as on storm restoration cost, they can control their usage,” Freese said.

Entergy is also working on plans to help more people through their Power to Care program.

“The power to care is a program that supports the disabled and senior customers with Entergy so that is a particular program that Entergy supports.”

Ascension Parish is expected to get more funding from LIHEAP in October.

If you are struggling to pay high energy bills, Entergy wants to hear from you.

Call them at 1-800-ENTERGY.

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