KALB - On Wednesday morning, Cleco held a news conference announcing their new S.T.A.R.T program. They called it a $130 million customer service "upgrade."
The project will create 221 new jobs and generate $1.5 million in state and local tax revenues.
"It will allow our employees to work more efficiently," said Andre Guillory with Cleco.
Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy explained how projects like S.T.A.R.T. will pay for events such as the Alexandria Riverfete and Winterfete.
"This is about localism," Roy said. "A very symbolic moment for Cleco and Alexandria."
"Let's not forget Cleco exists here in our community," added Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields.
The S.T.A.R.T. project represents a best practice for companies in the utility industry. To facilitate this system update, Cleco is working with several digital and IT partners to install the program and integrate it into the company. The system is being developed by SAP, and IBM is providing system integration services.
The S.T.A.R.T. project will be coordinated out of a 40,000-square-foot facility in Alexandria. With nearly 100 consultants traveling to and from the Cleco S.T.A.R.T. office and making use of the amenities in the Alexandria area, the Cleco S.T.A.R.T. initiative is expected to generate economic activity in central Louisiana and across the state.
Cleco employs 1,200 workers statewide and supplies power to 288,000 Louisiana customers across 24 Louisiana parishes. Pineville will continue to be home to Cleco’s corporate headquarters, as well as the local customer service office and service center, which, together, employ approximately 650 full-time workers.