The electric division of Lafayette Utilities System could be sold or be put under new management.
Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux tells us he’s not certain whether or not LUS should be sold, but he says he’s willing to hear ideas.
“If there are folks out there that want to have conversations, that want to come in and look at the books to see what they feel like the value is, then I’m happy to entertain any offers that are out there and then ultimately share that with the public,” says Robideaux.
Multiple utility companies, like Entergy and the firms that bought Cleco have approached Robideaux expressing interest to buy or manage LUS, but only Bernhard Capital Partners Management has taken it a step further.
Robideaux explains, “Right now Bernhard Capital is doing their due diligence… They’re digging into the books and looking at everything to decide if, in fact, there is some value there and then my hope is that they’ll wrap it up some time in July.”
The mayor-president says that if and when Bernhard Capital meets with him about their offer, he’ll make all of the information available to the public.
According to the Home Rule Charter, the Robideaux administration cannot sell the utility system without a vote from the people. It doesn’t, however, require a vote if it’s just a management change.
But Robideaux says he feels like it should go before voters anyway.
“Ultimately we, meaning the rate-payers for LUS, need to be the ones making the decisions,” he says.
Robideaux emphasizes that nothing is certain yet, adding they could decide none of the offers are as good as what is already in place for LUS and its customers.