Cleco will not be renewing its energy contract with the city of St. Martinville and will now be going with, LEPA, Louisiana energy power authority. This move could increase utility rates for residents in the area.
According to Mayor Willis, this is something that has to be done.
Peggy James lived in St. Martinville for 30 years and says although she may be okay financially she worries others in the city won’t be as fortunate to pay rising utility rates.
"I'm okay because with my income that I get I'm fine. But it's the people with Big families. And children and stuff like that you know?" James said.
Rodney Celestine has lived in the area since he was three years old and now he’s saying he may be considering relocating. "Because right now I pay for rent, and I pay to forfeit the light bill. So the bill is going to be paying more than my rent," Celestine said.
However, St. Martinville Mayor Jason Willis says Cleco is no longer willing to sell energy to the city but wants to sell directly to customers.
"From what I'm understanding they're trying to get out of the wholesaler business, meaning, they're trying not to sell electricity to municipalities that at a wholesale rate, so they can sell it back to the customers they want to sell it directly to the customers," Willis said.
"Were hoping that it would be around of 6.7 per kilowatt, which will raise our rates by three cents. You know, which is a significant difference, but it's nothing that we can help," Willis added.
Cleco released a statement on the matter saying:
"Cleco’s policy is not to disclose customer information, which includes our wholesale power contracts. The city of St. Martinville is a wholesale customer, so we’re unable to share contract information."
The city's contract with LEPA will begin January 1, 2023.
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