Hot summers bring higher electricity bills to Southeast Texas. But this year’s exceptionally high temperatures, combined with the effects of a struggling economy, could be especially challenging.

“Temperatures are hot, unemployment in Southeast Texas is high and the prices of just about everything have gone up in recent years,” said Vernon Pierce, customer service director for Entergy Texas. “Electric bills typically are higher this time of year because of cooling costs and the combination of all these circumstances could make the summer of 2011 especially difficult for customers.”

The average monthly residential 1,000 kilowatt-hour bill is about $115 this year, or about $10 more than last year. And unlike last year, there are no summer fuel refunds or other credits to help offset those bills.

Entergy Texas is pointing its customers to, a new web
address that has premiered this summer as part of Entergy Texas’ “You’ve Got the Power” summer education campaign. Customers who use the link are directed to a website where they may find a variety of helps, from simple conservation tips to information about the company’s energy efficiency programs.

The company also recognizes the special needs of its elderly, disabled and/or low income customers. Entergy Texas’ Power to Care program has helped pay energy bills for senior citizens and the disabled for more than a quarter-century. The company partners with charitable, nonprofit agencies throughout Southeast Texas who administer the program. Those who think they may qualify need only call 1-800-ENTERGY to find out the name of the agency closest to them that may be able to help.

Also, Entergy Texas this summer is offering payment options for those who qualify.

“Low-income customers are going to be among the hardest hit. That’s why we are committed to working with these customers to help them better manage their bills,” Pierce said.

Pierce said it is easy for customers to know whether they qualify for additional payment options. Those who are already qualified for and use Lone Star cards for food assistance meet the requirements for one of the payment options. Those qualified as low income have been automatically identified in the company’s customer information system.

In order to be considered for the program, customers must contact Entergy regarding bill payment or in response to a disconnection notice. Customers may call 1-800-ENTERGY and speak to a customer service representative for information about the program.

As part of this year’s “You’ve Got the Power” summer customer assistance program, Entergy Texas has already partnered with charitable, nonprofit agencies in Southeast Texas to deliver
fans to qualified customers. Additionally, the company is supporting a cooling station operated by the Beaumont Chapter, Salvation Army, at its Seventh Street warehouse.

Entergy Texas provides electricity to more than 400,000 customers in 27 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation. Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.