Laura R. Landreaux was named president and CEO in July by Entergy Arkansas, which serves more than 700,000 customers as the state’s largest investor-owned electric utility.
Landreaux was finance director at Entergy Arkansas before being promoted to the top spot, and previously was the utility’s vice president of regulatory affairs and senior counsel. She was an attorney for the Salt River Project in Arizona for four years, and before that spent four years in private practice in Phoenix.
A Little Rock native, Landreaux received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and earned her Juris Doctor at its School of Law, where she was on the Law Review.
You’re the first female president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas. Is that sort of gender milestone still important or noteworthy?
Entergy promotes diversity and inclusion. That means people of all races, genders, ages and backgrounds can bring their talents and skills and have every chance to do well here. In fact, Entergy Texas’ president and CEO, Sallie Ranier, is also a woman.
It matters for people who work here to know that it’s more than just talk by those in leadership; we really do value all people at Entergy. It’s also important for my daughters and other young women to see themselves represented in leadership. According to the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, only 33 percent of privately held businesses in this state are owned by women. Arkansas ranks 47 for women in political participation. Nationwide, just 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies are run by women.
For those reasons, I think that milestone is noteworthy.
Investor-owned utilities are often cast as fossil-fuel holdouts. What is Entergy doing in the realm of sustainability?
Entergy’s goal is to provide safe, clean and dependable electricity in a way that economically benefits customers. Companywide, Entergy has been a proactive leader in responsible energy efficiency and efficient generation for more than 15 years. We have taken steps to remain under our voluntary carbon cap, in part by investing in a portfolio of utility-scale solar investments, low-emitting modern natural gas units and zero-emissions nuclear assets.
In Arkansas, we began taking power from the Stuttgart Solar Energy Center in June as part of a 20-year purchase power agreement. The center has a capacity to generate 81 megawatts, enough to power 13,000 homes. Entergy Arkansas also recently received approval from the Arkansas Public Service Commission for a second purchase power agreement from a solar-generation center in Lake Village. It will generate another 100 megawatts of electricity.
Are the solar power-purchase deals becoming a trend?
It comes back to providing safe, clean and dependable electricity in a way that economically benefits our customers. We are always looking at our entire generation portfolio and reviewing what options best serve all our stakeholders.
As CEO, do you plan to be an innovator or more of a caretaker?
I have to be both.
This company is more than 100 years old. As the largest utility in the state, there are 700,000 people who rely on us for power every single day. Businesses depend on us for a reliable service so they can operate, grow and create jobs. Communities look to us to help attract new business to the state.
At the same time, our customers’ expectations of what their energy provider offers is evolving. It’s up to us to deliver on that expectation. I want to find the unique balance between making the investments necessary for the modern grid, for the customer expectations, all while keeping a close eye on reasonable rates.