New Entergy Arkansas CEO wants to balance tech improvements, customer expectations

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 1,720 views 

Newly named Entergy Arkansas President and CEO Laura Landreaux has the background to run just about any division of the state’s largest energy utility and she plans to use that experience to guide her in her new role.

Landreaux, who assumed the chief executive duties on July 1, 2018, has worked in financial, operational, customer service, safety, resource planning, economic development, employee development and regulatory and governmental affairs during her decade with Entergy. Her two most recent roles were serving as finance director and VP for regulatory affairs.

Born and raised in Little Rock, Landreaux earned a degree in political science at the University of Arkansas before completing her law degree there. Her introduction to the electricity business began in Phoenix with a law firm that specialized in that arena.

“We represented clients that were building large power plants out in the desert to serve the growing metropolitan Phoenix area,” she said. “I learned from start to finish what that process looked like. I then moved to the Salt River Project, which is the electric utility that serves the greater Phoenix area, and worked in their legal department but with the transmission organization, and the transmission organization was building large high voltage transmission lines from the power plants that we had built in my law firm.”

It was time to move closer to home with her young family and an opening at Entergy presented itself.

“Entergy was a natural fit coming back to the state of Arkansas. I grew up as an Entergy customer here. They had an opening in their legal department, and so that’s where I started and moved from there into regulatory affairs and then most recently into finance before taking the president role,” Landreaux said.

While electric utilities remain regulated and in many ways similar in their business models, there is a ton of transformation taking place within the industry. There are new forms of power that are becoming more cost-effective, including solar and wind. Technology is impacting the delivery of power from transmission control to advanced metering. And, customer expectations in the age of consumer influence is changing the way a traditional utility company has to interact with the public.

“The customer’s expectations of what their energy provider has to offer them is evolving, and so it’s up to us to deliver on that expectation,” Landreaux said. She’s planning on putting her years of diversified experience into her new leadership role to meet those expectations.

“What I hope to do is bring my experience in regulatory affairs and finance together,” she said. “I want to find the unique balance between making the investments necessary for the modern grid, for the customer expectations, but also keeping a close eye on reasonable rates.”

You can watch Landreaux’s full interview below.