A message from the Manager, in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura

A message from the Manager, in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura


First and foremost, I would like to thank you for the overwhelming support we have been shown in the last three days in the wake of Hurricane Laura. I am astounded by our members, and I want you to know we appreciate you.

I also understand the complaints that have come in about being without electricity. It is hot and humid. Members are uncomfortable and greatly inconvenienced by the lack of electric service. Some believe there are no clear answers to questions related to restoration, adding to the frustration. I do understand. Let me take a moment of your time, not to make excuses but, to explain our dilemma.

In our current situation, we are unable to predict with any degree of accuracy exactly when most of our members will see their service restored. There are numerous reasons why. I’d like to share two.

Despite the fact that even before the storm hit, we brought in more assistance to help us in our restoration efforts, this storm is like no other we have experienced in the history of our cooperative. At no time have we ever suffered Category 1 hurricane force winds for four hours within our cooperative’s territory. At no time in our past have we experienced a storm that so completely covered our territory that, at one point in time, we had more than 98% of our meters without power.

We did plan ahead for this event. We knew the storm was coming and staged 12 full construction line crews here at the cooperative in advance of the storm. We also brought in 4 damage assessment crews to assist. We even brought in additional right-of-way crews to help us deal with clearing fallen trees and limbs. Once the storm was upon us, we made the decision to bring in even more crews to assist. In addition to our own personnel, we now have 20 full line construction crews on the job and another 3 right-of-way crews complete with bucket trucks working in this effort.

Even with the extra help, the going is slow. The damage is widespread and varied. In places it is mostly downed trees with power lines pinned under them. In others, poles and crossarms have been broken and must be replaced. We are making significant progress in bringing lights back to our members. As I write this note to you, we have fewer than 10,000 meters without power. That’s down from more than 23,000 initially. This is an unprecedented event for us.

We are faced with another problem in our restoration efforts, one in which we have absolutely no control. That is, we currently have no transmission service into 5 of our distribution substations. These substations represent more than 8,000 of the meters still without power. Without transmission service into a substation, there is no electricity to distribute to our members.

Entergy controls much of the transmission line in Louisiana, including the transmission lines that deliver power to our substations currently without service. We recognize Entergy was stricken with the same catastrophic weather event the entire state endured. We understand that maintaining and repairing these transmission lines is a monumental task. We still feel we are entitled to ask for these lines to receive priority treatment given the number of families and businesses affected, but we have absolutely no control of how they choose to prioritize their restoration efforts with regard to these lines they own.

We are not alone in our problems in receiving transmission service. They provide this service to most of the utilities affected by Hurricane Laura. We have complained to Entergy. We have filed complaints with our power supplier CLECO Cajun. We have even spoken with state officials regarding our problems. Entergy has been slow to respond, but they are beginning to make some progress.

Under normal circumstances, we would not mention problems we are experiencing with a neighboring utility. However, our members deserve answers to questions as to why it is taking so long to restore our members’ power. The two primary drivers of the time requirement are the unprecedented, damaging nature of the event and delays in receiving transmission service to many of our substations.

The combination of the two factors has made it difficult, if not impossible, to accurately predict when an individual member might receive service. This is the reason we have been reluctant to speculate estimated restoration times when members have called or messaged.

Please know that we are doing everything in our power to restore power to our members as safely and as quickly as possible. Our crews in the field and in the office are working from before 6 a.m. until after dark. Many of them are sleeping in homes that do not have power. They are getting the job done, and we are so appreciative of the patience and understanding of our members.


Thank you,

Mark Brown

General Manager & CEO

Co-op preps for Hurricane Laura – Manager’s Message



Here’s a quick update on our preparations for Hurricane Laura. We currently have four extra crews here onsite from ECHO. We also have four more crews on the way. There has been a steady stream of delivery trucks arriving over the last few days bringing us an extra supply of poles and pole-line materials. We should be ready when this storm arrives.

I should also offer a few words regarding how the repairs will be handled as a reminder of our procedures. These kinds of situations are the most dangerous for our co-workers and for our contractors. Safety comes first. As the storm approaches, we will stage materials and supplies in our warehouses and on each truck involved in the restoration effort. While the storm is actually underway in our area, our employees and co-workers will be located safely out of harm’s way. We will be assessing the extent of our outages during this time to better allocate resources across the system. When the storm passes, the restoration effort will begin in earnest.

You should be aware of the priorities used in this effort. Transmission lines must be restored first. Any required substation work comes after that. Next, we focus on main three-phase feeders. We then begin working on large single-phase feeders. Finally, we commit effort to restoring smaller single-phase taps and individual outages. We often receive complaints from members telling us that we drove right by their house without stopping. It will likely happen again over the next few days. We must follow the proper power restoration process. For example, if a substation is without power, we must make those repairs before homes served by that substation can receive power. We will focus our efforts where they can make the most impact in the shortest amount of time.

Please pray for our Cooperative, for our employees and for those individuals who have come to our area to help us with these restoration efforts.

Mark Brown
General Manager & CEO

Claiborne Electric refunds nearly $700,000 in account deposits

Claiborne electric members who have paid their monthly electric bill on time for the past 36 months will receive a credit on their August or September bill in the amount of the deposit they paid when connecting their account.

“At a time when many of our members are wondering how they will pay monthly expenses, our Board of Directors made the decision to refund deposits on accounts with a demonstrated on-time payment history,” Claiborne Electric General Manager and CEO Mark Brown said. “These members have shown that they are unlikely to disconnect and leave the Co-op with unpaid debt, which is the reason we keep a deposit on file. For many of these members, a deposit refund will mean one to two months without owing an electric bill.”

Brown said refunding deposits after 36 months of on-time payments will continue.

“This is not a one-time refund,” he said. “Any member, no matter how long they have been connected, will receive their deposit back at the point they have paid on or before the due date for 36 months.”

Claiborne Electric names 2020 college scholarship recipients

Congratulations to Claiborne Electric’s 2020 college scholarship winners! Due to the cancellation of our Annual Meeting, winners were drawn in our office.

Each student will receive a $2,000 scholarship.


Elise Perritt (parents: Wayne & Monique Perritt)

Kathlyn Redman (Parent: Michael Redman)

Bethany Morris (Parents: Terry & Stacey Morris)

Evangeline Brasher (Parents: Ryan & Leslie Brasher)

Mihir Patel (Parent: Kamlesh Patel)

Janae Battle (Parent: Jacqueline Battle)

Allyson Martin (Parent: Megan Martin)

Daisy Verdin (Parents: Chad & Amanda Verdin)

Kaleb Armstrong (Parent: Kevin Armstrong)

Kyleigh Bass (Parents: Charles & Dwala Bass)

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