June 21, 2004
For Immediate Release
Debi Derrick
Summer Temperatures on the Rise; Entergy Gives Cooling Tips

Beaumont, Texas – It’s summertime and the livin’ is hot in Southeast Texas.

Rising temperatures combined with the area’s usual humidity-induced heat index also means higher utility bills as residents crank up the air conditioners in search of comfort.

The average 1,000-kilowatt residential bill this year will be about $91.40, compared to last year’s average bill of $75.80. The increase is a direct result of higher natural gas prices.
In addition to offering tips to customers about how they can manage their energy use, Entergy also takes steps to help keep utility costs down.

That includes taking advantage of fuels other than natural gas to make electricity, such as nuclear and coal. These fuels have prices that are more stable and predictable, as opposed to the volatility of natural gas.

Entergy is also working to help customers manage their electricity bills through programs such as “Budget Billing,” which calculates a rolling average of the previous 12 months’ bills to help level out energy costs. “Pick-A-Date,” is another program that lets customers choose which day of the month they want to pay their power bills.

For those most in need, low-income senior citizens, Entergy offers Project CARE, a program that helps these customers pay energy bills up to two times a year. In its 21 years of existence, Project CARE has paid about $3 million in energy bills for some 40,000 customers. The program is administered by charitable nonprofit agencies throughout Southeast Texas.

But officials with Entergy Texas say there are steps homeowners can take to keep their homes more comfortable and make them less costly to cool. Many of those steps involve inexpensive, easy to do projects. Customers can call a toll-free hotline, 1-800-ENTERGY or go to Entergy’s Web site, www.entergy-texas.com and find tips on weatherizing homes and reducing electricity cost. The Web site also features the Environmental Protection Agency’s Home Energy Advisor, an online home energy audit packed full of energy savings tips tailored for your own home.

“We tend to think that the only way we can make a home energy efficient is either to start from scratch when we first build it or to spend thousands of dollars on new siding or attic insulation,” said Vernon Pierce, Entergy Texas customer service director.

“Sometimes taking simple steps and doing them right can be very effective, too,” Pierce said.

Pierce noted that 55 percent of a homeowner’s utility bill is spent for heating and cooling, while another 20 percent is spent on heating water. “There are a lot of things we can do in just those two areas that will help keep the bills down,” he said.
According to Entergy officials, the five most important actions customers can take to help manage energy use in either summer or winter include the following:



Wrap your water heater.

For only $10 or $15, homeowners can purchase a water heater jacket they can install themselves. Reports show that insulating your water heater and the pipes that lead to and from it is the single most cost-effective improvement you can make. Energy savings that result will pay for the jacket in just a few months – or less.


Seal the ductwork.

In eight out of 10 houses in the south, leaky ducts waste more energy than any other problem. To stop energy loss, ductwork should be made airtight everywhere ducts attach to vents, each other and the heating/cooling unit. Mastic or foil tape can do the trick, and often needs only the homeowner’s attention.


Add attic insulation.

About half of all homes with attics have insufficient insulation. A good rule of thumb is that if you have six inches or less of insulation you need more. An attic should have insulation rated R-30, or six to eight inches.


Seal other air leaks.

Air infiltration from the outside is another huge energy loser. In a drafty home, the air may “turn over” several times an hour, meaning that the home’s entire volume of air must be reheated or recooled that often. Caulking and weather-stripping are the keys.


Install energy-efficient light bulbs.

Every home has lights and new compact fluorescent light bulbs can save a lot of energy. They last much longer than regular incandescent bulbs. And while they do cost more, they save enough energy to pay for themselves twice before they burn out.

Other tips specifically for keeping cool in summer include:


  • Raise the central air conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees. Window units should be adjusted accordingly. Each degree cooler than 78 may increase your bill by as much as 3 percent.

  • Use energy efficient electric ceiling fans and portable fans to circulate air and help occupants feel cooler.

  • Close window blinds, drapes and curtains to reduce warming in the home from direct sunlight.

  • Check the air conditioner filter to ensure it is clean. Repeat monthly and change the filter when necessary.

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with cooler-burning fluorescent bulbs to reduce the amount of heat created in the home.

  •  Place window and central air conditioning units on the shady or north side of your home when possible. When using window units, shut doors to unused rooms and close floor or wall registers used for heating.

  • Install solar screens or films on sunny windows.

  • Leave storm windows and doors closed when the air conditioner is on.


  • Have a professional inspect the air conditioner and check the refrigerant level.

  • Do not allow cooled air to escape from the home. Check caulking around doors and windows. Close the fireplace damper. Fill holes and gaps where wiring and pipes enter the house and insulate the attic.

  • Check seals on all refrigerator and freezer doors. Make certain they close properly and open them only when needed and only for short periods of time.

  • Make sure your clothes dryer and attic are vented properly.

Entergy customers interested in obtaining more information about energy conservation may call Entergy Texas at 1-800-ENTERGY.

Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production, retail distribution operations, energy marketing and trading, and gas transportation. Entergy owns and operates power plants with about 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.6 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Through Entergy-Koch, LP, it is also a leading provider of wholesale energy marketing and trading services, as well as an operator of natural gas pipeline and storage facilities. Entergy has annual revenues of over $9 billion and approximately 14,000 employees.

Entergy''s on-line address is http//: www.entergy.com.