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Louisiana utilities concerned about blackouts

LAFAYETTE, La. — Acadiana utilities say that although they avoided rolling blackouts last week, there’s still worry about the rest of the summer.

Emily Pennel is spokeswoman for the Southwest Power Pool, a nonprofit group that regulates transmission lines in eight states including Louisiana. She tells The Advocate that the group is keeping a close eye on the area.

On Thursday, Lafayette Utilities System, Cleco, SLEMCO, Entergy and the Louisiana Energy and Power Authority all asked customers to conserve electricity to avoid the need to cut power in some areas.

Officials say the big transmission lines from power plants to utility distribution systems have lagged behind population growth.

LUS, Cleco and Entergy have begun $200 million in improvements, but those won’t be completed until 2012.

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