BEAUMONT, Texas — Some Entergy customers are concerned a new piece of equipment could be causing their electric bills to skyrocket. The company recently installed smart meters in parts of Jefferson County, and some residents have seen their bill almost double.
Rachel Thorsen wants an explanation. Her bill from Entergy this month was $260. She says that's up almost 30% from last summer.
"I remember thinking, 'Did I forget to pay it? This is maybe tacked on from last month,' and that’s not how it was," Thorsen said. "It was just a huge leap.”
Thorsen says she can think of only one variable to explain the drastic discrepancy. The new smart meters that were recently installed at her home.
“It's about $60 or $70 more than what I’m used to paying in the middle of summer with all the heat. It was a shock. I wasn’t prepared for that," Thorsen said.
Kacee Kirschvick, Communications Specialist with Entergy, says the company has heard the complaints from folks, but she believes there is an explanation.
“Unfortunately they got new meters at the hottest time of the year," Kirschvick said. "This summer has been extremely hot, and usually in the summer bills do go higher.”
Kirshvick says the meters can sometimes make a mistake, but it is by a case-by-case basis.
“If you had an older analog meter, and it’s been there for a very long period of time, they can become less steadfast. And they slow down, so it’s possible that you were actually using more electricity than your older analog meter was registering.”
Yet, Kirschvick says there’s more to it than that. She says higher bills are likely a combination of multiple factors, including weather and usage, in addition to the advanced accuracy of new meters.
Once these systems go online, she says customers will be able to monitor usage in real time.
“You will be able to see how some of these appliances are affecting your usage so, that’s the important thing we think customers will enjoy,” said Kirschvick
"Even if it is $60 or $70 bucks or $500, a lot of families can’t handle that kind of price increase. They are on a budget,” Thorsen said.