GREENWELL SPRINGS, La. (BRPROUD) — Customers are outraged about high electricity prices from DEMCO. But DEMCO is saying another power company is responsible.

“This is outrageous,” said Petra Hebert, a DEMCO customer.

Hebert has been a DEMCO customer for 15 years and she said she’s never seen her bill this high. Earlier this week the DEMCO Board of Directors announced a dispute with Cleco Power, which is their wholesale power supplier, over fuel cost charges that have affected DEMCO and their customers.

“It’s just me. So there’s really no need for a $200 difference in the light bill. If they cut it off, we’re going to lose all the groceries we have. And that would be a big loss. Yeah, we are poor right now,” Hebert said.

And she’s far from the only one dealing with higher costs. DEMCO claims that because of inflation CLECO has raised its prices — but at a higher cost than other wholesale power options. Compared to other companies the difference is more than $200 million.

DEMCO stated that Cleco ran their Dolet Hills plant for the last three years and “the costs charged to DEMCO were imprudent and significantly higher than the power that was available on the market during the same period of time,” said CEO of DEMCO Randy Pierce.

Cleco shared the following response Wednesday:

The contract in place between Cleco Power and DEMCO is a market-based contract, meaning it’s subject to the ups and downs of market prices.  In this case, the primary power being purchased per the contract is coming from natural gas.

Fuel costs are a direct pass-through to customers, including DEMCO, and Cleco Power does not profit from increased natural gas or other fuel costs.

Across the country, natural gas price increases have placed a burden on all utility customers. 

The cost of natural gas has skyrocketed. Natural gas prices for June 2022 compared to June 2021 have increased approximately 162 percent based on the Henry Hub index.  

Since 2014, Cleco Power has prudently served DEMCO with safe, reliable power.  And we’ll continue to do so through the life of our contract ending in 2024.

Cleco Power

Customers are the ones feeling the pinch and all they want is the dispute resolved and their bill to go back to normal. DEMCO claimed if it’s not resolved they plan on filing a lawsuit.