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.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.
Jim Bernhard, who engineered the sale of The Shaw Group for $3 billion, recently has told several people involved in Democratic politics that he intends to run for governor in 2015.
A New Orleans levee board wants to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for decades of damage to our state’s coastline, but the Legislature may be poised to put the kibosh on the suit.
New standards curb elective induction
CVS stops tobacco sales
If an Acadia Parish fiddler misses a note while swatting a fly, will a St. Martinville accordionist learn “Ma ‘Tite Fille”?
(It's good, it's bad and it's just crazy)