SWEPCO & Cleco have finally gotten their 2018 Energy Efficiency programs up and running! But, unfortunately, Entergy has yet to finalize their 2018 Energy Efficiency programs, meaning the bulk of Louisianans are paying for programs that we’re not getting, and have been since January.
If this sounds familiar, it’s very similar to what’s going on with the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Starting in January, our utilities’ tax rate dropped from 35% to 21%, yet they did not immediately lower their rates, in which case they were still collecting at 35% level from us, knowing full well that they were only going to have to pay at the 21% level. Although we were successful in getting Entergy Louisiana to refund their customers, Entergy New Orleans, Cleco and Swepco customers have yet to see any relief. Ironically, it’s Entergy customers that are paying for Energy Efficiency programs that are not being implemented.
You may have heard us talk about Louisianans having the lowest electric rates, yet some of the the highest electric bills and energy burdens. Well, a lot of that comes down to our energy efficiency. Homes aren’t insulated, HVAC systems are out of tune, some of us can see sunlight coming through the floorboards in our kitchen. And we all know how hot August is. That all add up to very high energy usage, and in turn, high energy bills.
Louisiana’s Energy Efficiency program is in its fourth year of the ‘Quick Start’ phase. This phase was intended to jump start programs while the LPSC worked to finalize the long-term program. Despite huge savings, both kWh and dollars, long-term program planning has fallen to the back burner. The good news is, we don’t need to start from scratch. Arkansas has a very successful program and Louisiana is in the perfect place to follow their lead. So as temperatures and electricity bills rise in the coming months, make sure your Commissioner knows we need Energy Efficiency programs now.