“I’m afraid to open my bill”: DEMCO customer faces skyrocketing electric bill

Local News

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (BRPROUD)- Some people in Baton Rouge say they are dreading looking at their electrical bill after getting a call to expect a higher bill than usual this month.

“I am afraid to open my bill. How do you plan for something that is so unexpected,” said Loretta Tharp, DEMCO customer.

According to DEMCO, DEMCO members are experiencing high bills due to the structure of their wholesaler, CLECO.

“The price of natural gas has gone up but there is also, our contract that we have with CLECO power that price does fluctuate based on the fuel used to power the plants. That is a pass-through charge, we don’t have markup,” said David Latona, DEMCO spokesperson.

DEMCO officials say a new wholesale power contract has been negotiated, signed and submitted to the Louisiana Public Service Commission for review and approval. The current contract expires in 2024.

Tharp is a DEMCO customer. She says her October electrical bill has doubled.

“My bill went from 279 to 562,” she said. “Groceries, gas, my electric bill, everything is going up except for the income.”

According to DEMCO CEO and General Manager, Randy Pierce, the cost of wholesale power is 60 to 75 percent of a member’s bill.

Tharp says DEMCO representatives tell her that her bill has also skyrocketed due to a meter error. She is doing her best in being patient. For her paying high costs comes with a sacrifice.

“They were estimating our bill and they underestimated a lot apparently,” she said. “We’re trying to get out finances in shape for my husband to retire within the next 3 to 4 years. You don’t know what to expect from your DEMCO bill.”

Latona says DEMCO does have options for those who can’t make a payment just yet.

“Arrangements that can be made to extend their time period or make partial payments and then can have an arrangement made that can help them out financially,” Latona said.

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