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Cleco asking customers to conserve energy to avoid periodic power outages

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Feb 17, 2021

PINEVILLE, La. – Feb. 17, 2021 – As conditions continue to deteriorate due to a second winter storm, Cleco is asking its customers to voluntarily reduce electricity usage until further notice, especially tonight between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. CST, to avoid potential power outages.

“Conserving energy now could help keep the lights on later.  If the power supply cannot meet the demand, periodic power outages could be needed to protect the stability of the power grid and prevent widespread lengthy outages,” said Jennifer Cahill, director of corporate communications.  “Yesterday, we took the unprecedented step, as directed by MISO, to force outages across parts of our service territory.  This is only the third time in the company’s 85-year history that this step has been taken – once in 2008 and the other two times during this winter storm event.”

Cleco would take this action, as directed by its regional reliability coordinator, MISO, as a last resort and in order to prevent a more extensive, prolonged power outage that could severely affect the reliability of the power grid.  In this circumstance and depending on conditions, customers could experience multiple outages each lasting less than an hour until Cleco receives notification from MISO that this is no longer necessary to protect the electric grid system.

“Unfortunately, we don’t receive much advance notice before being forced to implement rolling power outages.  Customers should heed this public appeal as a notice for possible power outages,” said Cahill.  “This unusual request is necessary because power demand may potentially exceed available supply due to extremely cold temperatures and generation constraints.

“We are making this public appeal at the request of MISO who has made a similar request to other utilities in its footprint,” said Cahill.  “We appreciate our customers following our request for conservation in an effort to keep the lights on.”

Some actions customers can take to conserve energy include:

  • Delay laundry, washing dishes, and other non-essential uses of electricity until this appeal for conservation has ended.
  • Wash clothes with cold water, cook foods at the lowest possible setting and refrain from opening the oven door while baking.
  • Don’t allow warmed air to escape from the home.
  • Lower the central thermostat to 68 degrees or lower if possible.