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Cleco Power completes electricity restoration following ice storm update

Feb 6, 2011

PINEVILLE, La.  – Cleco completes restoration of power after ice storm damage knocked out power to approximately 30,000 of its customers in the central and south central areas of Louisiana. The hardest hit areas were Grant and Rapides parishes.

Power outage reports started in the early morning hours of Friday, February 4. Recurring outages in central Louisiana from falling ice-coated tree limbs hampered restoration efforts throughout the day; however, Cleco crews were able to restore power to approximately XX customers in those areas and substantially complete restoration in south central Louisiana.

“By noon on Friday, ice was melting in the Eunice and Ville Platte areas, but in Rapides and Grant parishes, we were experiencing freezing rain,” said Anthony Bunting, vice president of customer service and energy delivery. “The freezing rain and temperatures resulted in our crews restoring power to the same areas multiple times, and the combination created even more outages as tree limbs kept falling under the weight of the ice.”

Cleco originally had approximately 800 line mechanics, contract workers, including tree trimmers, and support staff working the restoration. As power came on in other areas of Cleco’s service territory, the company moved workers to the hardest impacted areas. Saturday, February 5, Cleco had approximately 400 workers and support staff concentrated in the central Louisiana area.

“We had crews from North Carolina and Alabama working the ice storm,” said Bunting. “In addition, we brought in Cleco crews from other areas to help out.”

According to Cleco, outages resulted from trees and tree limbs falling into its electric system. Rural areas experienced outages on cross-county lines in more remote areas, requiring off-road equipment. These outages took longer to repair and restored power to smaller numbers of customers.

“We know that it is never easy for anyone to go without electricity, especially in the cold temperatures we’ve seen in the past few days,” said Bunting. “We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding.”