History of Cleco

Cleco's roots go back to the 1906 installation of a 25 kWh Corliss steam-driven generating plant in Bunkie, LA.

In 1914, Cleco added a 50 kWh diesel engine to the plant to produce ice and light; and in 1935, it became part of Louisiana Ice & Electric Company, which today is known as Cleco Corporation.

Because ice was necessary long before electricity, ice manufacturing fostered the early development of the South's electric industry. Small steam or internal combustion electric motors powered the machinery that ran ice plants. Ice companies used power to light the plants and distributed excess energy to nearby homes and businesses. As demand increased, more facilities were needed to supply electricity and, eventually; manufacturing and delivering electricity became more important than making ice.

History Highlights

  • 1935 - Floyd Woodcock reorganized Louisiana Ice & Utilities into Louisiana Ice & Electric Company.
  • 1938 - The company's first power plant, Rea Station, went into operation in Bunkie.
  • 1945 - The company changed its name to Central Louisiana Electric Company, Inc. (CLECO).
  • 1948 - Coughlin Power Station began commercial operation.
  • 1951 - Gulf Public Service Company merged with CLECO, doubling the size of the company.
  • 1953 - Teche Power Station began commercial operation.
  • 1968 - CLECO's common stock was admitted to the New York Stock Exchange for trading.
  • 1969 - CLECO completed the Toledo Bend hydroelectric power project.
  • 1975 - Rodemacher Unit 1 went into commercial operation.
  • 1978 - Central Louisiana Energy Corporation (ENERGY) formed and became the parent company and owner of all CLECO outstanding common stock.
  • 1981 - CLECO separated from its parent company (ENERGY).
  • 1982 - Rodemacher Unit 2 went into commercial operation and CLECO common stock was listed on the NYSE for the second time under the symbol CNL.
  • 1986 - Cleco built its new headquarters in Pineville, LA and Dolet Hills Power Station began commercial operation.
  • 1997 - CLECO purchased Teche Electric Cooperative Inc.
  • 1998 - CLECO changed its name from Central Louisiana Electric Company Inc. to Cleco Corp. (Cleco) and adopted a new logo.
  • 1999 - Cleco implemented a public utility holding company structure, with Cleco Utility Group and Cleco Midstream Resources LLC as two primary subsidiaries.
  • 2000 - Cleco's first wholesale power plant, Evangeline Power Station (formerly Coughlin Power Station), began commercial operation, and Cleco Utility Group, LLC changed its name to Cleco Power, LLC.
  • 2002 - Perryville Power Station and Acadia Power Station, the company's other two wholesale power plants, began commercial operation, ending the largest construction phase in Cleco's history, and doubling its generation capacity. That same year, Cleco received the Edison Electric Institute's (EEI) prestigious Emergency Response Award for quickly restoring power after Hurricane Lili, which affected more than 165,000 customers. Cleco put its wholesale generation growth strategy on hold after an overbuilt power market and collapsing energy-trading market strained the finances and reputations of many energy companies. Cleco determined, in light of market conditions and other factors, to discontinue speculative trading activities following an assessment of its strategies.
  • 2005 - Cleco sold its its 718-megawatt Perryville Power Station to Entergy Louisiana, Inc. That same year, Cleco announced the planned construction of its new $1 billion, 600-megawatt solid-fuel generating unit to help stabilize customers' costs by limiting the company's dependence on natural gas and diversifying its fuel mix. The unit's Circulating Fluidized-Bed Technology offers the ability to burn a variety of less expensive fuels. Also in 2005, Cleco's service territory was hit by two deadly storms, hurricanes Katrina and Rita, back to back, causing more than $160 million in storm damage.
  • 2006 -  Cleco broke ground on its $1 billion, 600-megawatt generating unit at Brame Energy Center near Boyce, Louisiana. The unit is the third of two existing units at the Rodemacher site.
  • 2009 - Cleco received the Emergency Response Award from EEI for its heroic efforts to restore power to more than 220,000 customers in the aftermath of hurricanes Gustav and Ike that occurred in 2008.
  • 2010 - Cleco completed Madison Unit 3 (formerly known as Rodemacher Unit 3), the largest generation project in the company's history. Rodemacher Unit 1 was renamed Nesbitt Unit 1 and the Evangeline Power Station's name returned to Coughlin Power Station. That same year, Cleco Power acquired the 580-megawatt Acadia Power Block 1 unit from Acadia Power Partners.
  • 2011 - Cleco received the 84th Annual Edison Award, the utility industry's most prestigious honor, for the company's innovative approach to diversifying its generation fuel mix with the deployment of the Madison 3 unit. The award is given each year by EEI.  That same year, Entergy acquired Acadia Power Block 2 from Acadia Power Partners.
  • 2012 - Cleco along with two neighboring utilities completed the Acadiana Load Pocket transmission upgrade project. Cleco's portion of the upgrade was the largest transmission project in the company's history.
  • 2013 - Cleco received EEI's prestigious Emergency Assistance Award for its efforts to help other electric utilities restore power following major storms in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. That same year, Cleco Power LLC, successfully integrated into the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO) market. MISO offers Cleco customers more reliable power through regional transmission planning and coordination and will create wholesale and transmission growth opportunities for the company.
  • 2014 - For the fifth time since 2003, Cleco Power was honored with EEI's Emergency Assistance Award for its power restoration assistance to Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) after EF5 tornados severely damaged the utility's electric system during two separate weather events. Cleco Power sent crews to Oklahoma twice and only eight days apart for a total of 12 days to assist OG&E. That same year, Cleco transferred Coughlin Power Station to its regulated utility, Cleco Power LLC, from its unregulated subsidiary, Cleco Midstream LLC. The transaction added 775-megawatts of nameplate capacity to Cleco Power's regulated fleet. The transfer was a key component for Cleco to secure a 10-year full-requirement contract in 2014 with one of the largest cooperatives in the state of Louisiana, Dixie Electric Membership Corporation also known as DEMCO. DEMCO serves the growing suburban Baton Rouge market and grew the utility's load by more than 20 percent.
  • 2016 - The sale of Cleco to a group of North American infrastructure investors led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, with John Hancock Financial and other infrastructure investors was completed.  Cleco common stock will no longer be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. 
  • 2017 - Cleco was recognized with an EEI Emergency Assistance Award for its work in assisting Georgia Power with power restoration after Hurricane Matthew caused historic damage to Georgia in October 2016.  Cleco's 44-member storm team worked more than 5,280 hours to help replace and repair nearly 1,000 power poles and run approximately 120 miles of new wire.  This is the ninth response award Cleco has earned since the program began in 1998.