May 22, 2012
For Immediate Release
Robbyn Cooper
Liz Duhon
(337) 272-3065
Beth Chiasson
Utilities on target to complete $193 million joint transmission upgrade project for Acadiana in June

Multi-phase project by Cleco, Entergy and LUS is ahead of schedule, under budget and in time to reliably meet summer’s power demands
LAFAYETTE, La., May 22, 2012 – Ninety miles of new transmission lines, substations and electrical equipment will go online in June as part of a $193 million transmission upgrade project to improve service reliability and accommodate future growth within the Acadiana Load Pocket (ALP). By actively pursuing ways to be more time- and cost-efficient throughout the project, the coordinating utilities anticipate being able to complete it ahead of schedule as well as up to $40 million under its original budget.

The project’s anticipated completion date is well timed to help the utilities more reliably meet the increased power demand that typically comes with the heat of summer.

The joint ALP project, coordinated by Cleco Power LLC, Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C., and Lafayette Utilities System (LUS), has been underway since 2009 to strengthen the transmission system serving the area south of Highway 190 between the Atchafalaya Basin and Jennings. This area has experienced power flow restrictions in recent years during times of peak summer and winter usage. The project was designed to expand and strengthen the transmission grid, improve reliability and help alleviate power flow restrictions by improving the transmission system’s ability to deliver a reliable supply of electricity to homes and businesses, with ample capacity installed to accommodate future growth.

"As a public service commissioner, I am committed to ensuring reliable utility service, and this project is vital for that reliability,” said Jimmy Field, vice chairman and District 2 commissioner of the Louisiana Public Service Commission. “I commend Cleco, Entergy and LUS for coming together and investing in Acadiana's electric infrastructure."

Cleco is overseeing the largest portion of the project, building approximately two-thirds of the new transmission infrastructure. With a projected cost of $125 million, Cleco’s portion of the project includes 68 miles of line, two new substations and upgrades of two existing substations. Cleco plans to complete significant portions of the project by June 1, with minor system upgrades to be finished by December.

“This project is a landmark effort to better serve customers in our state,” said Keith Crump, Cleco senior vice president of commercial operations. “Power constraints in fast-growing areas like the Acadiana area can be disruptive; however, this long-term investment will help stabilize power flows and strengthen reliability.”

Entergy Gulf States Louisiana also is completing a new transmission line from Sellers Road to LUS’s T.J. Labbé Power Generating Station to wrap up its portion of the joint project, which is estimated to cost $50 million. In initial project phases, Entergy performed work at its Moril, Meaux and Richard substations. This included upgrades and expansions to allow for connectivity to newly built Cleco and Entergy transmission lines and to Cleco’s new Rork Substation, a westerly source for the Acadiana area. 

“A safe, reliable and affordable supply of energy is key to the continued growth and economic development of the Acadiana area,” said Bill Mohl, president and chief executive officer of Entergy Gulf States Louisiana.  “Our collaborative effort with Cleco and LUS will ensure that residential, business and industrial customers throughout the region benefit from reliable electrical service for many years to come.”

LUS is on track to complete its portion of the interconnected ALP project by June 1 at a cost of approximately $18 million, with the remainder of the upgrades to be completed over the next three years. The cost includes significant high-voltage infrastructure investments in two major LUS switchyards. These improvements will not only enhance LUS operations, but will also support the transmission of power in other parts of the Acadiana region.

“As a community-owned utility, LUS continually makes investments to make its system amongst the most reliable in the country. This latest investment in our community’s infrastructure reaffirms our commitment to Lafayette to provide for its future growth and prosperity,” said Terry Huval, LUS director. “We believe these improvements will make us more capable of meeting the needs of our customers and ensuring the reliability they have come to enjoy from LUS.”

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.

Entergy Louisiana, LLC and Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C. serve more than one million customers in Louisiana. With operations in southern, central and northeastern Louisiana, the companies are part of Entergy Corporation’s electric system serving 2.7 million customers in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas. For more information about Entergy’s Louisiana utilities, visit www.entergy-louisiana.com and follow the companies on Twitter @EntergyLA.

Lafayette Utilities System provides electric, water, wastewater and telecommunications services to the city of Lafayette, reaching approximately 62,000 customers.  Its mission is to provide high-quality, competitively-priced services that exceed customers’ expectations, and contribute to the Lafayette Consolidated Government to support other community needs.  Follow LUS on Facebook and Twitter.