Government-Owned electric Utilities
Municipal Power Authorities and Electric Utilities

Louisiana's municipally-owned electric utilities consist of 20 cities and towns that each maintain their own independent municipal power system. There are two power authorities that deal with the electricity needs of Louisiana municipalities, the Louisiana Energy and Power Authority (LEPA) and the Lafayette Public Power Authority (LPPA).

LEPA is a non-profit, joint-action agency created by the State Legislature in 1979 to provide a reliable and economic supply of electric power and energy to member municipalities. LEPA is authorized to participate in joint ownership of large generating plants with other utilities.

Nineteen of the state's municipal systems are members of LEPA. Only the system owned and operated by the City of Ruston is not. Each member city is represented by an individual who serves on the LEPA Board of Directors. LEPA utilizes the most efficient power sources out of a pool of resources to control the power costs of its members. LEPA dispatches the most cost effective electricity to participating members through its computerized Energy Control Center located just outside Lafayette.

LEPA administrative offices are located in Lafayette, LA. The organization's principal business address and telephone number are:

Louisiana Energy and Power Authority
315 Johnston Street
Lafayette, Louisiana 70501-8021
Phone: 318/269-4046
FAX: 318/269-1372

LEPA's current member cities are Abbeville, Alexandria, Erath, Gueydan, Houma, Jonesville, Kaplan, Lafayette, Minden, Morgan City, Natchitoches, New Roads, Plaquemine, Rayne, St. Martinville, Vidalia, Vinton, Welsh, and Winnfield. Twelve of these cities have generating capability, though five did not provide any power to the grid in 1992. Six of these plants are sources of power for LEPA. They are Houma, Minden, Morgan City, New Roads, Plaquemine, and Rayne. All twelve of these facilities are 100% gas-fired.

In 1992 the total generating capability of the twelve LEPA municif alities and the City of Ruston was 947 MW, which is 5.7% of the total generating capability of the state's utilities and about 4.9% of the state's total generating capability. In 1992 these facilities generated 1.2% of the total amount generated by all utilities and 0.9% of the state's total from all sources. The net generation and generating capability of each plant is shown in Tables 1 and 3, respectively. The location of each plant is shown on the map in Figure 1. More information on LEPA and its members can be obtained by contacting the LEPA administrative office in Lafayette at the address given above.

LEPA has a 20% ownership interest in the 523 MW coal-fired Rodemacher 2 generating plant, The unit was constructed by CLECO adjacent to CLECO's gas-fired Rodemacher 1 unit and began operation in September 1982. CLECO operates the plant and is a 30% owner. The LPPA owns the remaining 50% interest.

LPPA is a political subdivision of the State of Louisiana that was created by the City Council of the city of Lafayette in 1977 for the purpose of owning and operating public electric power projects and purchasing and selling electric power. LPPA issued $197,200,000 of electric revenue bonds to finance its 50% share of Rodemacher 2. Through LPPA, the city is 50% owner of the Unit. The City Council is the governing authority of LPPA, and the city is the Authority's sole customer. In June 1995, when the city and parish governments are scheduled to consolidate, the new governing authority will be the new City-Parish Council.

In addition to Rodemacher 2 and the previously mentioned generation from six member cities, 0LEPA purchases power from the city of Lafayette, area IOUs, and hydropower from the Southwestern Power Administration. These resources total 426 MW. LEPA's 1993 peak load was 326 MW, up 6.5% from 1992, for a capacity reserve margin of 23.5%.

With an eye to securing power sources for future energy needs, in 1992 LEPA commissioned a consultant to study power supply options on a long-term basis. The consultant evaluated six proposals and recommended that LEPA purchase low-cost supplemental power from the Lafayette Utilities System through the year 2000. LEPA later incorporated that proposal into its contract extension plans with nine LEPA member cities.

The city of Ruston owns and operates an independent generating and distribution system. The city's 85 MW gas-fired generating plant began operation in 1954 as a 3 MW plant. It has since been expanded five times, the last time in 1974. The plant can also use fuel oil if necessary. By virtue of its close proximity to gas pipelines owned by three different companies, the city has been in a position to negotiate very low cost gas supply contracts over the years. This unusual situation has obviated the need for joining LEPA.

In 1993 Ruston's electricity sales by customer sector as a percentage of total sales of 205 million KWH were 37.7% residential, 22.0% commercial, 23.4% industrial, and 16.9% other. Peak load was 59 MW, up 11.3% from 1992, for a capacity reserve margin of 30.6%.

Additional information about the city of Ruston's electric operation may be obtained as follows:

Mr. Robert McDonald, Director of Utilities
City of Ruston Utility Dept.
P.O. Box 280
Ruston, Louisiana 71273-0280
Phone: 3181255-0800
FAX: 318/251-8638

Recent Developments
Pursuant to the late 1992 selection of the Lafayette Utilities System to provide supplemental power through the year 2000, LEPA began making purchases from Lafayette in January 1993.58

In April 1993 LEPA protested to the FERC actions by CLECO to provide wholesale power to the city of St. Martinville. A public hearing by the FERC is scheduled for June 1994.59

On November 19, 1993, LEPA and the Municipal Energy Agency of Mississippi, LEPA's Mssissippi counterpart, signed an interchange agreement allowing the two entities to buy and sell power from each other.58

The city of Crowley extended its power supply franchise agreement with CLECO for 20 years. The existing contract was to expire in July 1994. The contract affects about 6,000 CLECO customers, or about 2.8% of the company's customers. During negotiations the city had indicated that it may instead seek ownership of CLECO's electric system within the city limits.27

A 10-year power sales contract between LEPA and the Southwestern Power Administration went into effect in January 1994, LEPA will serve as the agent of receipt for the hydroelectric power on behalf of 10 Louisiana municipalities.58

The city of Minden is considering bids for wholesale power requirements from several potential suppliers, among them CLECO and SWEPCO.27

Sabine River Authority of Louisiana (SRAL) 12,60,61

SRAL was created by the State Legislature in 1950 as an agency of the State of Louisiana, primarily for the purposes of water supply, hydroelectric power generation, conservation, recreation, and development of the waters of the Sabine River. This mandate resulted in the Toledo Bend Project. Jointly constructed with the Sabine River Authority of Texas (SRAT), the project consists of the 185,000 acre Toledo Bend Reservoir and an 80 MW (nominal rating) hydroelectric station at the south abutment of the dam. Each state Authority owns 50% of the project. The project is located in Louisiana and Texas on the Sabine River, which forms a portion of the boundary between the two states. SRAL's principal business address and telephone number are as follows:

Sabine River Authority of Louisiana
Route 1, Box 780
Many, Louisiana 71449-9730
Phone: 319/256-4112

The power plant is located entirely within the state of Texas, which comes as a surprise to many Louisianans who think it is in Louisiana. All operational statistics on the plant published by DOE are incorporated in Texas statistics. Consequently, the Louisiana statistics shown in the tables and reflected in the figures throughout this report do not include any data from the SRAL.

The purpose of constructing the power plant was to create revenue from the sale of low-cost hydroppower in order to retire the revenue bonds issued by the SRAL to pay for the construction of the reservoir. All of the electricity generated is sold wholesale to GSU, CLECO, and LP&L. According to the power sales agreement, the three utilities are obligated to buy the power according to the following proportions: GSU--50%; CLECO--25%; and LP&L--25%. The plant is operated by GSU and began operation in February 1969.

The power plant consists of two 40 MW (nominal rating) hydraulic turbines and is used primarily for peaking service. In 1993 the facility generated 357,000 KWh up 12.7% from 1992. Peak generation of 424,227 KWH was achieved in 1990. The amount of electricity generated is entirely dependent on the lake level, which is maintained to fulfill the project's primary mission of water conservation, water supply, and recreation. The generation of electricity is secondary so output is dependent on the amount of rainfall in the watershed area.

Recent Developments 62
A study is now being made to determine the feasibility of another reservoir and hydroelectric plant below the present Toledo Bend Reservoir. The project is referred to as the "Bon Wier Project". The environmental impact implications poselare a significant barrier to this project ever becoming a reality.

History 12,60
SRAL has its roots in the 1930s when river water resources were just beginning to be exploited. Projects such as Hoover Dam proved the feasibility of providing cheap electricity and conservation at the same time. Prompted by rapid industrial development and the changing economy in the Sabine River Basin, in 1949 the Texas State Legislature created the Sabine River Authority of Texas. The following year the Sabine River Autority of Louisiana was created by Louisiana Legislative Act 261 of 1950, which enacted Chapter 11 of Title 38 of the Revised Statutes. The two Authorities are charged by their respective states with the duties of conserving and developing the water of the Sabine River for beneficial purposes.

In 1955 the Authorities, acting under a memorandum of agreement established initial engineering procedures which included the preparation of a feasibility report. After the report was completed in 1959, the two states arranged for the financing of $30 million in hydroelectric revenue bonds that would be refired by the sale of electricity. The Toledo Bend Reservoir is the nation's only public water conservation and hydroelectric power project that does not include federal participation in its permanent financing.

Land acquisition for the project began in May 1963, and construction of the dam, spillway, and power plant was initiated in April 1964. The impoundment of water began in October 1966, and the power plant began operation in February 1969.

A Power Sales Agreement contract was executed on February 1, 1964, between the two Authorities and GSU, CLECO, and LP&L. The contract obligated the three utilities to purchase the power generated by the plant and defined the sales terms. Thus, the revenues to pay off the revenue bonds was assured. There have been several changes to the original contract, the last one in 1990. The changes are primarily related to the price and terms of payment for the power.


Competition among electricity providers is making the traditional utility with its protected service area obsolete. The rest of the 1990s promises to be a volatile period for the electric utility industry. Those utilities that seize the initiative will be more likely to succeed. Louisiana utilities are making major efforts to position themselves to be among the survivors. The true test of their ability to cope with the rigors of competition will probably come when substantial new capacity is needed around the turn of the century. Then the marketplace will decide if Louisiana utilities, or the private power newcomers, will prevail. We will continue to follow the trends in the industry and report on new developments in subsequent editions of this report.

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