N.C. electric co-ops to get $22 million reimbursement for Hurricane Florence damage

Hurricane Florence
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DURHAM, N.C. (WNCT)

The Carteret-Craven, Four County and Tideland electric cooperatives will receive more than $22 million in reimbursements from FEMA and the State of North Carolina for damages to their electrical systems caused by Hurricane Florence.

FEMA says high winds, rain, and flooding caused by Hurricane Florence damaged poles, lines, and transformers in multiple counties.

The three electric cooperatives selected for reimbursement provide electrical service to Beaufort, Bladen, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Duplin, Hyde, Jones, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Sampson, and Washington counties, all of which were included in the presidential disaster declaration following Hurricane Florence.

According to FEMA officials, Hurricane Florence knocked out all power across Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative’s system and it took 11 days to restore power to the last circuit. Repairing the grid required bringing in help from more than 500 outside line workers, replacing about 250 utility poles, 400 transformers, and miles of lines.

“The reimbursement prevents us from having to pass on those costs to our roughly 40,000 co-op members as they continue working to repair their homes and lives,” said Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative CEO and General Manager Jake Joplin. More than $9 million of the total funds will reimburse the cooperative for its Hurricane Florence expenses.

Four County Electric Membership Corporation is receiving more than $11.2 million, and Tideland Electric Membership Corporation is receiving nearly $1.9 million of the total funds.

FEMA says at Tideland, 77 percent of customers lost power and the complete restoration took 10 days. “Tideland EMC appreciates the financial relief these funds will provide to our member rate-payers, many of whom are still recovering from Hurricane Florence,” said Tideland Electric Membership Corporation CEO Paul Spruill. “This puts us in a better position to continue the work necessary to harden our utility infrastructure against future storms.”

FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides grants for state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations to reimburse the cost of debris removal, emergency protective measures, and permanent repair work.

Public Assistance is a cost-sharing program. FEMA reimburses applicants at least 75 percent of eligible costs, and the remaining 25 percent is covered by the state. FEMA’s share for these projects is nearly $16.7 million, and the state’s share is more than $5.5 million. The federal share is paid directly to the state, which disburses funds to agencies, local governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations that incurred costs.

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