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Cleco's restoration gives light to 100 percent of customers who can receive power

Sep 2, 2012

Continuing to monitor 64 customers who cannot receive power due to flooding

PINEVILLE, La. - As of 7:33 p.m. Sunday night, Cleco's 2,400-member storm team brought an end to Hurricane Isaac repair restoring power to 100 percent of customers who can receive power.

At the peak of the storm, Hurricane Isaac impacted more than 95,000 Cleco customers across the state. Of those, 64 remain without power as flood conditions prohibit the company from restoring power until flood waters recede.  

"Cleco employees and contractors wrapped up a very well-executed restoration process," said Bruce Williamson, president and CEO of Cleco Corporation. "Ahead of the storm, we brought in trained workers from utilities as far away as West Texas and contract crews from across the East Coast to work with our Cleco teams. The slow pace of the storm kept our workers on the sidelines for about a day, but our prepositioning of teams around the state set the stage for a speedy response once we could begin assessment and restoration efforts began at daylight on Thursday. 

"As we completed restoration in all other parishes by late Friday evening, we concentrated our efforts on hard-hit Washington and St. Tammany parishes over the weekend. However, flooding has hindered a complete restoration; and, through our local offices in Slidell and Covington, we have staff monitoring each flooded customer's situation. We will restore service to these customers when flooding recedes and homes can be determined safe to receive electricity," Williamson said. St. Tammany and Washington parishes are located north of Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans.

Hurricane Isaac caused damage in central, southern and eastern Louisiana, and its path affected 34 percent of Cleco's customers statewide.  At the height of the storm, Cleco lost power to 100 percent of customers in Washington Parish and 73 percent of customers in St. Tammany Parish. Tropical force winds and drenching rain continued for three days as storm bands intermittingly passed through the southern parishes.

Isaac brought soaking rains that flooded numerous substations and winds that blew trees and limbs into the company's electric system.  High winds and debris resulted in broken poles and crossarms and brought down miles of electric wire. The company estimates the total cost to be about $20 million. Cleco has approximately $25 million in a storm reserve fund to help cover the costs of strong storms that require larger rebuilding efforts.
To assist with the restoration, Cleco secured workers from Oklahoma, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland. Cleco is an active participant in the Southeastern Electric Exchange, the Edison Electric Institute Mutual Assistance Program and the Texas Mutual Assistance Group.