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Utility Companies Begin Construction to Strengthen Transmission Grid

Jan 15, 2010

Cleco Power, Entergy and Lafayette Utilities System (LUS) announce today that contractors will begin construction on a 90-mile transmission expansion project in the Acadiana area. The project is estimated to cost approximately $200 million and is expected to be complete by the end of 2012.

The expansion is in an area known by the local utilities as the Acadiana Load Pocket and has experienced transmission constraints in recent years during the peak summer usage months. The area is located south of Highway 190 between the Atchafalaya Basin and Jennings.

"This project is an example of utilities working together for the good of all customers," said Dilek Samil, president and COO of Cleco Power. "We are strengthening our transmission system to accommodate the growth in the area, and this project will continue to help the flow of power for years come."

Cleco will oversee the largest part of the construction project. Cleco will own approximately 60 of the 90 miles of the newly constructed line at an estimated cost of nearly $150 million. LUS will be responsible for $23 million of the project.

"These upgrades are of critical importance in keeping up with recent growth in the Lafayette and Acadiana areas," said Terry Huval, LUS director. "LUS is committed to seeing this project completed, and we're looking forward to working with our fellow utility providers to get that done."

The total project consists of adding substations, capacitor banks and transmission lines and structures in the area. The work will be completed in phases with each completed phase bringing incremental improvement to the transmission grid.

"We are pleased to be part of this successful collaboration with Cleco and LUS to enhance electric reliability in the Acadiana area," said Renae Conley, president and chief executive officer of Entergy Gulf States Louisiana. "This project will benefit our customers and the region as whole, and support the growing economies and communities of southwest Louisiana."