NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through partnership with the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA), recently provided more than $6.2 million to the Dixie Electric Membership Corporation for permanent work done to restore electricity throughout Livingston and West Feliciana parishes following Hurricane Gustav.
This brings the total funding provided to $22.5 million to date for Dixie Electric Membership Corporation.
"Utilities, such as power generation and distribution facilities, are generally compromised during hurricanes because of high winds, which can easily damage electrical poles and lines," said FEMA's Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office Acting Director Tony Russell. "After Gustav, repairs to these two parishes' electric distribution systems were necessary to help the local communities function again. FEMA has recently provided two grants in August, totaling $6.2 million, to reimburse the Dixie Electric Membership Corporation for their vital restoration work in these parishes following Gustav."
The Dixie Electric Membership Corporation services more than 102,000 meters along 9,202 miles of distribution lines throughout seven Louisiana parishes. During Hurricane Gustav, more than 3,000 miles of electrical lines throughout Louisiana were twisted and some were even torn away from their power poles by the storm's category two winds.
Between Livingston and West Feliciana Parishes alone, Gustav's impact damaged a combined 674 power poles, 592 wooden cross arms, 201 pole transformers, approximately 14,500 fuses, 500 lightening arrestors, 84,470 linear feet of aluminum conductors, 104,970 linear feet of copper conductors and assorted hardware devices necessary for operational electrical distribution systems.
Under FEMA's Public Assistance Program, the recent funding was provided to repair these damages and to support the additional labor costs incurred by the Dixie Electric Membership Corporation for the Gustav-related permanent work.
"We all know how important it is to get electricity to homes and businesses restored as soon as possible after a storm, particularly during the hot summer months," said Paul Rainwater, executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. "Reimbursing the Dixie Electric Membership Corporation for having brought these parishes back online after Gustav will allow them to prepare for any future disasters that may occur."
When FEMA approves projects through its supplemental Public Assistance grant, the funds are transferred to a federal Smartlink account. Once the funds have reached this account, the applicant can request reimbursement from the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) for eligible work completed. Obligated funds may change over time as the project worksheet is a living grant that is often adjusted as bids come in and scope of work is aligned.
The Public Assistance program works with state and local officials to fund recovery measures and the rebuilding of government and certain private nonprofit organizations' buildings, as well as roads, bridges and water and sewer plants. In order for the process to be successful, federal, state and local partners coordinate to draw up project plans, fund these projects and oversee their completion.
Created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the coordinating and planning body leading the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history. The central point for hurricane recovery in Louisiana, the LRA works closely with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and partners with state and federal agencies to oversee more than $20 billion worth of programs, speed the pace of rebuilding, remove hurdles and red tape and ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and...