Customer Assistance Programs

The CARE program

Cleco Alternative Rate for Electricity (CARE) program for low-income customers

The CARE program provides low income customers with a 25 percent discount on the fuel portion of their bills during July, August and September. Customers must qualify for the CARE discount through their local community action agency between Oct. 1 and May 30th.

Income qualifications for this discount are the same as those required for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assistance. Customers who apply and are accepted for LIHEAP assistance during the CARE signup period will automatically be approved for the CARE discount. Customers will have to re-qualify each year for the CARE discount.

See if you qualify for the Cleco CARE discount

The Power of Sharing Fund

You can help those who struggle to pay their energy bills by contributing to the Cleco Power of Sharing Fund. This fund, formerly called the Energy Fund, has been in effect since 1985 to assist economically disadvantaged seniors and disabled citizens. Monies collected through the fund are used to assist with energy bills, purchase fans and blankets, weatherize homes, and make minor repairs to heating and cooling units.

Cleco customers and employees contribute to the fund, and Cleco provides matching donations. Assistance provided by the fund is distributed through the Louisiana Association of Councils on Aging. To find out if you or a loved one qualifies for assistance, contact your local Council on Aging. You may choose an option on your bill to contribute $1, $2, or $5 to the Power of Sharing Fund.

Energy Emergency Deferred Billing Program

If the Louisiana Public Service Commission declares an energy emergency, eligible Cleco customers may defer a portion of their bill. Cleco developed this program under the guidelines of Legislative Act 629 of 2001, and Louisiana Public Service Commission Order No. R-26038. The deferral can be paid over a period of up to 12 months, depending on the amount. The amount deferred would be the amount in excess of a customer's previous year's Cleco bill for the period of time specified in the declared emergency. The example below shows what could be deferred.

$160.00 Current bill
$100.00 Pay now (bill for same month last year)
$60.00 Amount that can be deferred

To be eligible, last year's bill must be at least $20.00 lower than the bill for the specified period of time deemed an emergency. Generally, you would be responsible for paying the amount paid in the same month last year, or $100.00, on the regular due date. The $60.00 would be deferred and paid in installments over some period of time (see below).

Amounts and periods of maximum deferral are:

  • $20.00 - $75.00 may be deferred over a period of 1-3 months
  • $75.01 - $150.00 may be deferred over a period of 1-6 months
  • $150.00 and above may be deferred over a period of 1-12 months

Eligible customers

  • Those whose income does not exceed 150 percent of the poverty level as established by the federal government
  • Those who receive food stamps or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Those whose sole income consists of Social Security payments
  • Vital government entities designated by the LPSC as providers of services essential to public health, safety and welfare
  • Persons certified by a physician as needing life-sustaining, electrically operated equipment, or life-sustaining medical treatment that requires electricity.

After eligibility is established, customers may receive a deferment on their most recent bill that is not past due. Each month during the declared emergency, eligible customers will receive a deferment unless the customer withdraws form the program.

Application process

Enroll through your local community action agencies. You will need a Cleco bill and proof that establishes you as a member of an eligible group to apply. The Community Action Agency will forward approved applicants to Cleco. Certified Cleco critical care customers only need to sign some paperwork to initiate participation in the program. Paperwork for critical care customers can be sent by mail at the customer's request. You must be recertified every two years to remain eligible.

Note: Those currently enrolled in Cleco's Levelized Billing Program will receive no benefit from enrolling in the EEDBP as their energy bills are already levelized over a 12-month period.

Community Action Partnerships (CAP) Agencies

Credit Extension Agreement

This program provides eligible customers additional time to pay an arrears balance in a non-emergency situation. Cleco reserves the right to deny a credit extension agreement under circumstances in which it feels an agreement would be imprudent.

Levelized Billing Plan

Levelized billing is a payment plan based on a 12-month average of your electric utility bills. Your bill is based on the monthly average of your bills for the previous 12 months.

Each month the average is calculated. This average is always rounded to the next whole dollar amount. An adjustment is made to the average bill amount each month to avoid overpayment or underpayment on your account. The plan is an easy way to balance your electric bills. Instead of fluctuating bills, you can expect to pay about the same bill each month.

To sign up for this service, you must have a zero account balance and be a customer in good standing. Call our customer service line at 1-800-622-6537 or visit one of our customer service offices to enroll.

Critical Care Alert Program

The Critical Care Alert Program identifies customers with medical conditions where loss of electricity would be detrimental to their health. A critical care customer registration form must be completed and signed by a physician. Call 1-800-622-6537 or visit a Cleco customer service office for a registration form.

State and Federal assistance

Links to State and Federal assistance