Following the holiday season and as cold, wintry weather settles in, many Arkansans find themselves facing tough financial situations. Entergy Arkansas, Inc. is offering help to customers whose income may be stretched.
Approximately 20 to 25 percent of Entergy’s 2.7 million customers need government assistance to survive. The latest poverty report released by the U. S. Census showed that the number of Americans living in poverty was the highest since 1997. The four states that Entergy serves were in the top nine with the highest statewide poverty rates. Arkansas ranked fifth.
Various state and federal programs are available to help customers manage their bills. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program provides money to help individuals with energy bills and other energy-related expenses. LIHEAP is funded through the federal government and works with the community action agencies to help customers pay for and keep electric service in their homes. Both homeowner and renter households are eligible to receive LIHEAP assistance. The household’s annual income must be at or below 150 percent of federal poverty level. Energy costs must also be documented.
“We have a number of customer assistance opportunities available to our customers,” said James Jones, Customer Service Region Manager for Entergy Arkansas. “We encourage our customers to contact us or nonprofit agencies in their communities that have programs to help with energy bills, as soon as they think they could have a problem paying their electricity bills. It is easier for the customers to get help before their past-due balance becomes too large.”
Entergy Arkansas’ Power to Care fund helps low-income, elderly or disabled customers pay their energy bills in times of financial distress when federal funds are not available. Entergy employees and customers donate to The Power to Care, with company shareholders matching new contributions up to $500,000 annually.
The company works with the Southern Good Faith Fund to distribute these funds. Inquiries on applying for The Power to Care should be directed to the Southern Good Faith Fund, 870-661-0322, ext. 31. More information is available at their Web site.
A donation to The Power to Care is a small thing people can do to make a big difference in someone else’s life. Donations may be made by checking a box to add a dollar to the monthly bill, or online through the secure Web site at entergy-arkansas.com.
Entergy Arkansas has also partnered with many of our agencies by providing more than 800 blankets for distribution during the cold weather.
To help manage payments, Entergy Arkansas provides payment extensions and payment plans for qualified customers having difficulty paying their bills. Additionally, the company can help customers avoid disconnections and the fees and deposits that often are required to restore service.
Another program exempts registered customers with an annual household income of less than $12,000 from the sales tax on the first 500 kWh of electricity they use each month. The registration form is available at entergy-arkansas.com.
To help manage bill payments, Entergy Arkansas offers these programs:
Pick–A–Date – Only customers know the best time to pay their bill each month. With Pick-A-Date, they may be able to select the date each month when their electric bill is due.
Level Billing – The Level Billing option allows customers to pay about the same amount for electric service every month, making it easier to budget and plan for this cost, regardless of the season and usage. Under this program, each bill is essentially an average of 12 months of previous bills. Bills will vary each month, but not as much as before.
Automatic Monthly Payments – Automatic Monthly Payments allows Entergy Arkansas to automatically deduct the amount of the monthly electric bill from a checking account. Customers don’t have to worry about bills, due dates or late fees when they enroll in this option. A statement—not a bill— will be mailed each month, showing the amount of the bill and the date of withdrawal.
Energy efficiency programs are available as well. These programs help reduce energy usage without sacrificing comfort. Customers can find answers to energy-related topics, including what goes into energy costs and what Entergy Arkansas is doing to ensure affordable energy, at EntergyAnswers.com. The Web site also offers easy-to-use tips to help customers lower their energy bills.
The company’s new Bill Analyzer offers customers a simple overview that shows why their bill amount may have changed compared to previous bills. Details on customer usage, energy charges and other factors are available for customers who want more information. To access this feature, customers should register for My Account Online at entergy-arkansas.com. My Account Online also allows customers to view and pay their bill, view their billing and payment history and update account information – all with a few clicks of a computer mouse.
“The programs and plans mentioned above, and more, are available to customers at entergy-arkansas.com, or by calling 1-800-ENTERGY,” added Jones.
Entergy Arkansas, Inc. provides electricity to almost 684,000 customers in 63 counties. 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.