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Cleco receives industry award for financial performance

PINEVILLE, La., Nov. 12, 2012 - Cleco Corporation (NYSE:CNL) today received the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Index Award for highest total shareholder return in the small capitalization category. Cleco posted at 98 percent return for the five-year period ending Sept. 30, 2012.

"Our strategy of building a diverse generation fleet with leading environmental compliance and transmission system expansion has served our customers in Louisiana and has produced an exceptional return for our shareholders," said Bruce Williamson, president and CEO of Cleco Corporation. "We have narrowed our focus to our regulated utility business and it is this business that will remain at the center of our strategy.  Underpinning this business strategy is our strong balance sheet and free cash flow, which allows us to fund our capital programs and growth with internally generated funds."

EEI, an association that represents the majority of the country's shareholder-owned electric companies, calculates results on an ongoing basis providing a benchmark for long-term financial performance.

"Cleco has experienced tremendous growth over this five-year period, while maintaining its strong focus as a fully integrated utility," said Tom Kuhn, President of the Edison Electric Institute. "The company recently announced its fourth dividend increase in less than three years for a total of 50 percent, an indicator of its strong financial condition."

Cleco Corporation is a regional energy company headquartered in Pineville, La.  Cleco owns a regulated electric utility company, Cleco Power LLC, which owns nine generating units with a total nameplate capacity of 2,524 megawatts and serves approximately 281,000 customers in Louisiana through its retail business and 10 communities across Louisiana and Mississippi through wholesale power contracts.  Cleco also owns a wholesale energy business, Cleco Midstream Resources LLC, which owns two natural gas-fired generating units with a total nameplate capacity of 775 megawatts.  For more information about Cleco, visit www.cleco.com.

Analyst & Investor Contact:
Tom Miller
(318) 484-7642

Media Contact:
Robbyn Cooper
(318) 484-7136

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