Man receives DEMCO bill for more than $1,400

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 10:48 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A lot of people have probably been dreading having to open up their mailbox, to see just how high their energy bill is after Hurricane Ida.

“I mean, when I opened this bill up, I about had a heart attack,” said Michael Dauzat, an Albany resident.

Dauzat did not hold back when speaking about his bill to WAFB’s Lester Duhe’.

“I mean, we’re already out of service for 17 days, turn around and get a light bill in, that’s $1100 dollars for one month, and when you call all you hear is this ‘northern storm, winter storm damage,’ said Dauzat.

His bill in total he received from DEMCO was $1412.96.

His bill in total he received from DEMCO was $1412.96.
His bill in total he received from DEMCO was $1412.96.(WAFB)

Some of those costs may be added on from previous months, according to DEMCO.

Dauzat is frustrated because even his body shop was closed for weeks because of no electricity.

“My business was closed down for almost 20 days. By the time we got everything back up and running and cleaned up, and then they want you to pay an $1100 a month light bill. I mean that just can’t be done,” said Dauzat.

His neighbor just down the road from him owes $606.

So, Dauzat immediately thought something could not be right.

“So, after contacting Channel 9 News about my DEMCO bill, they just called us and tried to explain their fees on the bill to us, after I was trying to get in touch with them for a week in a half now. They claim that our meter is in error and did not read right for a few months, so what they’re going to do is, they’re going to allow us to pay $200 extra a month until it’s caught up, which will be until the end of the year, and then we’ll have our bill back to normal again. But the meter is not reading right at this point. So, they figure this out when they didn’t have any electricity for 20 days, 17 days? Somebody sat around and figured this out? Because our light bill came in a few days ago and now we have this big light bill,” said Dauzat.

“What could happen in some folks’ cases, if they have a metering error in a previous month, our system understands that and sees that, that billing measured every day. So, that it can have an opportunity to catch up if they’re billed too low. I mean what could happen is a member might be billed too low, and then the next month, that meter keeps track of that information and it understands that, and transmits that to us. But, that being said, if a member does experience that, they are more than welcome to have an arrangement made, and that’s free of charge. That we would make an arrangement in order to make that bill a little more consistent with their month-to-month, and say if someone is budgeting and wants to be consistent each month. We will certainly be happy to make an arrangement with that member if there is in fact a metering error, which when you’re dealing with 113 thousand meters, errors can occur,” said David Latona, DEMCO VP, Marketing and Member Services.

David Latona with DEMCO says they’ve been hearing from a lot of their concerned customers recently.

DEMCO alerts.
DEMCO alerts.(WAFB)

“Our members are calling to ask which questions about, hey this is in a different spot, the amount that I owe is in a different spot, and my usage didn’t always look like this. So, we are getting more calls about that. A lot of that is because of the new look of the bill. But there are a lot of folks who may have billing questions about the amount too. I mean this really honestly happens every year, when the bills go up, and we will see it in some of the months leading up to the fall too. Because when the weather gets nice outside, it’s hard to remember that the 30 days that I’m being billed for, is when it was really hot,” said Latona.

DEMCO alerted members about the possible high costs for electricity over the next few months:

“The cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity for the next couple of months will be quite a bit higher than normal due to a significant increase in the cost of wholesale power,” said Randy Pierce, DEMCO CEO, and general manager.

The high cost of producing electricity will be reflected in member billing statements in August, September, and October.

Pierce explains, “This increase in power costs is solely due to power generation decisions made by our major wholesale power supplier, CLECO Power. CLECO Power is also continuing to bill DEMCO for costs associated with winter storm Uri earlier this year. DEMCO’s distribution costs are virtually the same from month to month. The cost of wholesale power, which is 60 to 65 percent of your electric bill, is a cost that fluctuates each month and is passed through to our members from CLECO Power”.

“And that was a supply expense. It was not from the damage itself, but it was the fact that it was difficult to get supply to run those plants, difficult to get the fuel to run those plants efficiently,” said Latona.

DEMCO officials say they will go out and re-check the meters if you believe there is a discrepancy.

You can contact 844-MY-DEMCO for any questions about your bill.

Click here to report a typo.

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