Cleco rebate to have $7.4 million impact on local economy

Utility bill credit will give customers financial relief during July


   Cleco’s 15,600 energy customers in Avoyelles will receive an estimated $475 each in July -- part of the “sweetener” the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) squeezed out of the utility company to approve its sale to a Canadian-led group of investors.
    The economic impact to the parish could be significant, if those Cleco customers spend that extra $7.4 million in Avoyelles rather than in neighboring parishes.
    The utility credit was just one of a list of concessions the LPSC obtained for its approval of Cleco’s sale in April. There were 77 commitments in all that will benefit the company’s customers, employees, retirees and communities within Cleco’s service area.
    Cleco customers who had a valid 13-digit account number as of this past Thursday will be eligible for the credit. Cleco will apply the credit to each account for those customers with multiple accounts.
    “We are pleased the credit is coming at a time when our customers begin to use more energy because of the summer heat,” said Shirley Turner, Cleco’s vice president of customer experience.  “For many of our customers, a portion of the credit will roll over for several months. This will be a big help to those who struggle to cover all of their bills each month.”
    Cleco will begin applying the estimated $475 credit to a customer’s bill in July. If the customer’s July bill is less than their credit amount, the remainder of the credit will be applied in August. If there is still credit available, it will continue to roll over each month until it is exhausted.
   “This credit is just one way we are showing our commitment to our customers and ensuring they receive a direct benefit from our transaction,” Cleco President/CEO Darren Olagues said. “Supporting our customers and the communities where we live and work will remain a top priority for us as we plan for our company’s future.”
   The unexpected money will be welcome relief for many in the parish. 
  “People with school children will be able to buy school supplies for the upcoming year,” Lynn Bordelon of Cottonport Bank said. “Families may use the money to take a vacation, make home improvements or just pay on other bills they owe.
    ”For our parish, this is a shot in the arm to the economy and it is coming at a great time for many,” Bordelon added.
   He said he is impressed that Cleco and the investment group purchasing the company would make such a generous offer as part of its proposal to the LPSC in support of the Cleco sale.