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.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.