Cleco Power earns EEI Emergency Response Award for historic efforts to restore service after Hurricane Laura
PINEVILLE, La. (Jan. 14, 2021) — Today, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) presented Cleco Power with the 2020 Emergency Response Award for its response to Hurricane Laura, the most powerful storm to hit Louisiana since 1856.
The Emergency Response Award is given to select EEI member companies in recognition of their recovery and assistance efforts following service disruptions caused by extreme weather or other natural events. The winners were chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process, and the awards were presented during EEI’s virtual Winter Board and Chief Executives Meeting.
“We experienced a record-setting hurricane season in the midst of a global health pandemic, and it’s an honor to dedicate this award to the Cleco team for their unwavering efforts, to the workers from across the country who helped us repair our damaged system and restore power, to our customers for their support and patience and everyone in between,” said Bill Fontenot, president and CEO of Cleco Corporate Holdings.
Hurricane Laura made landfall in southwest Louisiana on Aug. 27 as a Category 4 storm. It was stronger than Hurricanes Rita, Gustav and Katrina and left half of Cleco Power’s 288,000 customers without power, as it tore a path through the entire state.
“Over the past year, many of our nation’s electric companies and their customers have endured historic storms and wildfires and other significant weather-related events,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Working around-the-clock to restore power safely and quickly to customers and deploying mutual assistance crews to support impacted companies are hallmarks of the electric power industry. When disasters strike, impacted and neighboring electric companies are quick to assess damage and to respond and assist with restoration.
“I congratulate and applaud Cleco Power for demonstrating continued commitment to the customers and to the communities it serves. In the midst of a global pandemic and often in the most hazardous of conditions, Cleco Power and its frontline employees worked around-the-clock to restore service safely and quickly and is exceptionally deserving of this prestigious award.”
EEI has recognized Cleco with 24 awards since the program’s inception in 1998, earning 13 Emergency Response Awards and 11 Emergency Assistance Awards.
Cleco’s customers were impacted by multiple hurricanes in 2020. This was an unprecedented storm season for the utility. During all the restoration efforts, Cleco used radio, television, and social media to keep customers up to date on restoration efforts. For example, following Hurricanes Laura and Delta alone, Cleco made 271 Facebook posts, sent 1,828 private messages to customers, made 91 press releases and participated in 46 TV interviews ” said Jennifer Cahill, Director – Corporate Communications
- Cleco notified customers that it had over 1,800 workers ready to respond to outages caused by Hurricane Laura. The workforce consisted of Cleco personnel, as well as contractors from 11 states.
- Cleco kept customers up to date on a regular basis regarding how many customers were restored each day. The company shared the types of damage being identified and the expected timelines for restoring power to customers
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