Unless you have seen it with your own eyes it is really difficult to imagine the size and scope of the damage that was caused by Hurricane Ida. Don't get me wrong, the same can be said for the damage left in the wake of Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Delta, and Hurricane Zeta, too. All of those storms have wreaked havoc on Louisiana's infrastructure.

One of the hardest-hit areas of our infrastructure is our electrical grid. I can't even begin to imagine the countless number of poles and miles of wire that are going to have to be replaced or repaired as we recover from the latest storm. While there are still thousands of our state's residents that are waiting for power to be restored there are already discussions underway about who will pay for those repairs.

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Entergy Louisiana is seeking to add a $5 surcharge to their customer's bills in order to pay for the estimated $1.2 billion dollars in needed repairs. Yes, that is billion and the repairs are needed to cover costs not just from Hurricane Ida but from Laura, Delta, Zeta, and February's winter storm too.

While five dollars doesn't seem like a lot when you consider that the utility will be asking customers to pay that $5 every month as part of their bill for about the next 15 years then you can see it really adds up.

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We did the math and the average customer would wind up paying an additional $900 or so dollars over the duration of the surcharge. Now, before you get your dander up and start calling your congressman, you have to understand, this is a standard industry practice.

You might not know it but Entergy customers paid a surcharge for about ten years following the landfalls of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita back in 2005. Oh, and you're already paying a surcharge to cover repair costs incurred by Hurricanes Gustav, Ike, and Isaac. Those surcharges from Gustav are expected to roll off in about a year or so.

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As of today, the surcharge is just a request. It will have to go through several layers of bureaucracy before it finally reaches the  Public Service Commission. That body will then have to vote to approve or deny. Just to give you an idea of when you might actually see a surcharge such as this showing up on your bill, Entergy has just recently submitted their surcharge request for the 2020 hurricanes and the ice storm, the PSC won't likely vote on that for at least another eight months.

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