KSLA News 12 viewers demand answers about rising electricity bills

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Many KSLA News 12 viewers have voiced their concerns over high utility bills. And they are demanding answers.

Johnnie Johnson said she noticed her utility bill increase by more than $60 this month, and it’s put a pain in her pockets.

“I’m paying half of it now and half of it later. I was just paying $182 last month; this month is $243 and some cents. That’s going to eat into my budget.”

She sees it as a perfect storm.

“So we’re all in it together and we all got to survive.”

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KSLA News 12 reached out to SWEPCO to ask what is causing the increased bills. They explained that there are two factors — the increased cost of natural gas and increased use of electricity.

Last year, SWEPCO said, their Louisiana customers paid a fuel charge of 3.7 cents per kilowatt-hour. It’s now 6.3 cents per kWh.

“Natural gas price has cost about two and three times higher than it was last year,” SWEPCO spokeswoman Tara Muck said. “We do not make a profit off the cost to purchase natural gas for electricity. So as you see natural gas prices go up, unfortunately, that will have an impact on our customers.

“(And) the more we use to battle the heat inside our homes and our offices, the higher the electricity bill is going to be just because we’re having to run it longer to keep it cooler.”

What happens if you need help paying your utility bill? SWEPCO said they have a list of assistance options.

There also are programs such as Catholic Charities of North Louisiana that can help you foot your utility bill.

“The process is, everyone has to attend our money school class. It’s a requirement for assistance,” explained Jean Woods, case manager at Catholic Charities.

“And once they attend the class, we have an interview with them. And we determine if we’re able to assist them and, if so, how much we can pay for their utility bill.”

Here are other related links to avenues that also might be able to help you pay your utility bills:

As expected, the SWEPCO spokeswoman said, you may not see a big decrease in utility bills until temperatures cool off.

“So once we can get a break from the heat, we can see that demand decrease and, therefore, less usage and lower bills. Until we get that break,” Muck said.

SWEPCO has some suggestions for saving on your bill, which include raising your thermostat setting and using ceiling fans to circulate the air.

Below are some more ideas from the utility:

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