Power districts across the state will receive at least $109 million in federal assistance for winter storm recovery efforts.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency grants include $79.1 million for the Nebraska Public Power District, with money included for expenses incurred while repairing transmission and distribution systems and damage by heavy equipment to rights of way and roads.
More than 30,000 utility customers in the state lost power in the wake of an ice storm that struck Dec. 29-30. It took weeks to restore power to everyone, and utilities still are repairing transmission lines, towers and other parts of the network.
“The winter storms that rocked our state placed a tremendous burden on these communities, both financially and emotionally,” said U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith, who announced the grants Wednesday. “These funds will help many of the ongoing recovery projects as well as assist our communities as they recover funds already disbursed.”
The figures aren’t final, and more projects likely will be funded in the future, according to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.
Several power districts are raising rates to help pay for repairs, with the exact amounts determined by how much of their storm costs are eligible for reimbursement.
NPPD provides power directly to customers in 79 communities across the state, and it sells power wholesale to 78 other utilities. The district has rebuilt all but 13 of its 1,137 damaged structures and restored power to 91 percent of damaged lines, the district said.
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