Sometimes when two companies merge its a good thing. The combination of assets and infrastructure make for a more solid and efficiently run organization.

I am pretty sure that is what the guiding forces behind a proposed merger between the Central Louisiana Electric Cooperative and Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets have in mind. I'm sure their plan includes better service, more reliable service, and better value for you the customer.

Another group, the Alliance for Affordable Energy sees this possible merger as a bad thing for consumers and Logan-Atkinson Burke a spokesman for the group explained to the Louisiana Radio Network why his group feels the way they do.

Cleco customers are currently paying the highest bills in the state and we are concerned that a sale to one of these investors is just going to raise rates even higher for them.

Burke went on to explain that his group's opinion is not based on speculation but they look to the history of other mergers that Macquarie has been involved in. That history includes the acquisition and reorganization of a company and then an increase in rates just as soon as there is an opportunity.

The Public Service Commission in Washington State has referred to it as ‘rate fatigue’ because Macquarie, rather the company, comes back and asks for increases through what are called late cases.

Robin Cooper a CLECO Spokesperson disagrees with Burke's assessment of the merger. Her position is that the merger will not only benefit CLECO customers but CLECO employees as well.

We started out with a good deal that is now even better.

Cooper went on to say that the company has a history of success and that there will be no rate increase for customers because of the proposed merger.

This transaction should be seamless for our customers with the additional rate credits they will be seeing on their bills if this transaction is approved.

Before the merger becomes final it must be reviewed and approved by the state's Public Service Commission. Hearings on the merger are expected to take place soon with a decision on the merger expected by early next year.



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