Huval says the bill increases are also attributable to record months of heat in July, August and September ' a problem exacerbated by low levels of rainfall. "Rob Perillo told me those three months in 2005 are the hottest on record ' that means the hottest in 112 years," says Huval.
With natural gas prices falling to about $10 per thousand cubic feet in November, down from a yearly high of $14.68 at one point in October, utility customers should get some relief.
Lower bills should be arriving in LUS customers' mailboxes any day now, Huval says. "With the first two of our four new generating units now in service, we are in a position to reduce our fuel costs to our customers significantly." He adds that the fuel component is dropping from 6.4 cents to 5.4 cents per kilowatt-hour. The new units are more fuel efficient, and new technology allows them to be turned off within minutes when usage is down, so LUS will be able to increase its coal utilization to 70 percent. "What that means is that with these new units, we are now relying on natural gas for only 30 percent of our total generation needs," he says.
LUS' effort follows a national trend by utility companies to wean themselves from natural gas-fired generation.
However, other customers in the state, served by utility systems more dependent on natural gas, were hit much harder in recent months. Consumer outcry led the Louisiana Public Service Commission to order audits of Cleco's and Entergy's gas purchases through October of this year in an effort to determine if they bought gas at the cheapest available rates. "In October 2005, Entergy and Cleco's residential electric charges were about 23 percent and 18 percent higher than LUS' respectively," Huval says.
Manuel Lam, an energy analyst with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, says about 37 percent of the Gulf of Mexico's natural gas production is still shut in but should be back on line soon. With natural gas storage climbing and November weather unusually warm, he expects prices for the rest of the year to settle in the $10 to $11 range.
But, says Lam, it's still anybody's guess what kind of weather awaits in the winter months ahead.
Is Mary fading as Vitter solidifies his lock on the fourth floor?
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has renegotiated contracts for six LSU hospital privatization deals, hoping to reach a compromise with federal health officials that will keep Medicaid dollars flowing to the privatized patient services.
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is defending her record on gun rights, seeking to rebut sharp criticism from the NRA in a state where the right to bear arms is given special constitutional protection.
Citizens, you have less than a week to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the outcome. Well, you can but it’s kind of hypocritical.
After being forced out by its former landlords last year, the community garden has a new location and a 10-year lease.
The party says it has hit a milestone, reaching 10,000 registered voters in the state.
Defensive captain Junior Galette is disgusted by the Saints' sluggish start.
The use of $60 million in Louisiana's public school financing formula to pay for nearly three dozen charter schools violates the state constitution, a statewide teachers' union claimed Monday in a lawsuit.
Security breach at White House; Bejing won't back down from protesters; pressure on third-graders and more national and international news for Tuesday, September 30, 2014.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
February trial date indicates parties were unable to negotiate a settlement.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he's tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas.
Jerry Jones watched what he called the best effort he's seen in 25 years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half, and that was before Tony Romo had the longest scramble of his career and DeMarco Murray finished off yet another 100-yard game.
Two of the most recognizable women in Republican politics, Sarah Palin and Mary Matalin, have been heavily involved in Louisiana’s current election cycle.
Even though the Louisiana Democratic Party has thrown its support behind former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ congressional bid, national Democrats are not expected to follow suit.
“[Mike] is no longer the energetic ADA that his recent ad is trying to portray. I just think Mike needs to get the hell out.” — Kermit Harson, DA Mike Harson’s brother
The New Orleans Saints have listed Jonathan Goodwin as questionable for Sunday night's game in Dallas, raising the prospect that second-year pro Tim Lelito will start at center for the first time.
The endorsements keep coming for District 9 LPSB candidate Jeremy Hidalgo, who picked up his fifth vow of support Thursday, this time from the Chamber’s political action committee.
Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter will be out knocking on doors this weekend with anti-abortion activists encouraging people to vote against his colleague, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sued Abbeville's mayor and police chief over a policy barring police from any social media use showing the city in a bad light.
Prospective Republican presidential candidates are expected to promote "religious liberty" at home and abroad at a gathering of religious conservatives Friday, with anti-Obama speeches from the likes of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
The American Zombie blog by New Orleans independent journalist Jason Berry has a photograph of U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier having dinner with Lafayette attorney Pat Juneau — yeah, that Pat Juneau, the BP claims administrator whose fate Barbier will soon decide.
But retirees and employees who face the higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs responded angrily, telling lawmakers that they shouldn't be held responsible for what they consider the Jindal administration's mismanagement of the Office of Group Benefits.
Indictment accuses ‘chef’ who claims to work for the needy of stealing from a disabled man in his care.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's top budget adviser says the state employee health insurance program will face a dire financial scenario without the heavily criticized changes planned by the administration.