If you live in Louisiana and get your electricity from Entergy, you may have heard about their Level Billing program. But what exactly is it and how does it work? As an Entergy customer myself, I decided to dig into the details to provide a comprehensive guide on Entergy’s Level Billing.
What is Level Billing?
Level Billing allows Entergy customers to pay approximately the same amount for electricity each month, regardless of how much they actually use.
Here’s how it works:
- Entergy calculates your average monthly electricity bill over the past 12 months
- They then charge you this “level” amount each month going forward
- You pay the same level bill each month, even though your actual usage likely fluctuates
For example, let’s say your electricity bills over the past year averaged $100 per month. With Level Billing, Entergy would charge you $100 each month moving forward.
In the hot summer months when your bill might normally be $150, you’d still pay just $100. And in the cooler winter months when your bill might be $70, you’d pay the usual $100.
The goal is to create predictable, manageable bills year-round regardless of weather, fuel costs, or your actual electricity usage.
The Benefits of Level Billing
There are a few key benefits to Entergy’s Level Billing program:
- Predictable bills – Since your bill stays the same each month, it’s easy to budget and you avoid bill shock from swings in usage.
- Easier to manage money – Level bills spread out costs evenly over the year, which can make it easier to pay each month.
- No high summer bills – You skip those painfully high electricity bills in the hot summer months when AC usage spikes.
For these reasons, Level Billing appeals to many Entergy customers who want stability in their monthly electricity costs. If you’re on a tight budget or like predictability, it can be the right choice.
How Level Billing Balances Out Over Time
Of course, you don’t actually avoid paying for your electricity usage under Level Billing. It balances out over time.
- In January your actual bill is $70, but you pay $100 under Level Billing.
- In July your actual bill is $150, but you again pay $100 due to Level Billing.
- In total over those two months, your actual usage cost $220, which is the total $200 you paid.
Essentially you “overpay” in the low usage months, and “underpay” when usage is higher. But it balances out to your actual overall electricity costs.
Entergy tracks any difference between what you actually owe each month and your level bill amount. This is your “accumulated difference.”
If you end up using more electricity than expected, you’ll owe this accumulated difference at some point. But the goal is for it to balance out over time so there is little or no settle up required when you leave Level Billing.
Risks and Downsides to Understand
While Level Billing seems attractive, there are some risks and downsides to consider:
- You could end up with a large “true up” bill when you leave the program if you used more electricity than expected.
- Since your bill no longer reflects actual usage, you lose visibility into how much electricity you use each month.
- You may not get alerts about unusual spikes in usage, since the bill stays steady.
- Lower bills in summer could reduce motivation to conserve energy.
For these reasons, Level Billing may not be the right fit for everyone. You have to be careful monitoring your accumulated difference to avoid surprises.
And if you want the ability to closely track and reduce electricity usage each month, Level Billing takes away that visibility.
Who Should Consider Level Billing?
While not right for everyone, Level Billing can make sense in certain situations:
- If you’re on a fixed budget or income, the predictable bills help with planning.
- If you’ve had Entergy service for 1+ years, your average bill will be established accurately.
- Homeowners who want to avoid massive AC bills in summer.
- Renters or part-time residents who occupy a home at different times of year.
- Someone with limited ability to control or reduce energy usage.
If predictability and flat bills are your main priority, Level Billing may be a good option. Just go in understanding the potential risks.
How to Enroll in Level Billing
Signing up for Entergy’s Level Billing program is easy:
- Log into your Entergy account online or via their mobile app
- Go to Billing & Payment > Billing Options
- Select Enroll in Level Billing
Or you can call Entergy customer service at 1-800-ENTERGY and speak to a rep to enroll over the phone.
Keep in mind new customers must have at least 12 months of billing history at an address before enrolling. This allows Entergy to accurately calculate your average usage and level bill amount.
Existing customers can enroll at any time, but its best to enroll right after your annual true up month. This starts Level Billing off with your most accurate average bill amount.
How to Leave the Level Billing Program
You can opt out of Level Billing at any time in your online Entergy account or by calling their customer service line.
However, before leaving you’ll need to pay off any accumulated difference between what you were billed under Level Billing and your actual electricity usage costs.
To avoid surprises, monitor your accumulated difference online as you approach leaving the program. Ideally it will be low or zero balance.
Entergy does an annual true up each year for Level Billing customers. If you leave the program right after the true up month, your settle up balance is likely to be smallest.
The Bottom Line
Entergy’s Level Billing program offers predictable electricity bills that make budgeting easier. But the lack of visibility into actual usage and potential for usage true up bills down the road are reasons some customers may wish to avoid it.
Look at your situation and preferences to decide if Level Billing is a good fit. Understanding how it works allows you to make the most informed decision.