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Cleco customers getting refund, lower rates

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Cleco Power customers will see a reduction in their bills and get a refund under a rate plan approved by the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

Cleco is based in Pineville.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1njRyEb ) the approval extends Cleco Power's formula rate plan for four years, reducing its base rates for customers by $34 million. That's equal to an annual decrease of $84 for an average residential customer's bill.

The one-time refund totals $22 million, or $46 for an average residential customer. The refund will be included on September bills, Cleco said Wednesday.

Cleco said the plan also includes a rate of return and mechanism to fund future growth transactions for the utility.

"As other utilities are asking for rate increases, we are providing a rate decrease to customers," said Darren Olagues, president of Cleco Power. "Cleco Power has strategically added to its generation fleet over the past few years. Now our goal is to capitalize on our diverse generation fleet to help grow our company."

Cleco Power filed for an extension to its existing rate plan in April 2013. The original rate plan began in February 2010 and set a four-year rate structure for the company. The newly approved rate plan extension begins July 1.

Cleco Power is the regulated electric utility subsidiary of Cleco Corp.

Cleco Power serves about 284,000 customers in Louisiana through its retail business and supplies wholesale power in Louisiana and Mississippi. Cleco Power owns 11 generating units.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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