FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The ice storm that crippled Kentucky in January knocked out power to more than 700,000 customers and blocked roads with debris. But this week's decision to provide more federal assistance to Kentucky will reduce the statewide tab for repair and cleanup.
The recent amendment to President Obama's major disaster declaration makes more Public Assistance program grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency available to hard-hit municipal and rural co-operative services that generate electricity for consumers.
Public Assistance is available to state and local governments as well as certain private non-profit organizations on a cost-sharing basis. The federal share of the eligible costs is 75 percent, with the remaining share coming from local and state government as well as eligible non-profit organizations.
Preliminary damage assessments for Kentucky's historic ice storm may exceed $250 million, with more than half of that estimate for public utilities. FEMA's share for public utilities could be more than $94 million - money that municipal and co-operative power entities would be responsible for without the additional federal infrastructure funds.
Private for-profit power companies are not eligible for Public Assistance.
FEMA pays for the restoration of damaged public utilities. It does not pay for increased operating expenses as a result of a disaster or reimburse for lost revenue because a utility was shut down.
The amendment to President Obama's major disaster declaration also makes more federal money available to an additional 10 Kentucky counties. A total of 100 counties are now eligible for Public Assistance program grants that cover repairs to road systems, bridges, water control facilities, public buildings, public utilities, parks and recreation.
All 103 designated counties are eligible for reimbursement for debris removal and emergency protective measures.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.