Clay County Co-op receives FEMA funds

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

The Clay County Electric Cooperative will be receiving over $1 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for restoration of its electrical system following December's ice storm.

Restoration of the system to pre-disaster condition consists of permanent repairs to the lines, poles and related electrical components, according to FEMA.

"We're getting the system back in shape," manager Derwood Brett said.

He said the co-op's crews should be completed in two weeks and are in the process of doing "clean up" work.

Brett said the FEMA funds are 75 percent of the revised damage estimate. He said the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management will grant an additional 12.5 percent, and the co-op will pay 12.5 percent.

The total cost of the project is $1.4 million. The funds will also assist in mitigation measures against possible future flooding.

Brett said the co-op lost in excess of 1,000 poles.

"Some were just damaged and not completely broken," he said.

At the height of the ice storm damage, Brett said 9,000 meters were not receiving service, which was two-thirds of the co-op's system.

He said power was restored within 12 days to residences that were able to "accept power." He said others experiencing meter loop problems were without power for a longer period.

He said the repairs were done by 40 co-op employees and 120 workers from cooperatives in Arkansas and Missouri.

FEMA funds are made available under its public assistance program, which is administered by the State of Arkansas.

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