PUD Receiving FEMA Reimbursement

This broken pole on Neer City Road was one of 49 poles replaced following the December storm.

June 20, 2016 – Columbia River People’s Utility District (PUD) will receive $379,600 in Public Assistance funding from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) for recovery from the damage caused by severe winter storms that occurred in December of 2015.

On Dec. 21, heavily saturated soils and high winds combined to create the biggest power outage in the PUD’s history. Downed lines were reported on more than 150 roads in the PUD’s 240-square mile service area and 80 percent of the PUD’s 18,700 customers experienced outages. Eight agencies sent a total of 10 mutual aid crews to assist the PUD in the restoration effort, which spanned five days.

The total cost of the PUD’s outage restoration was $550,000, and $506,000 of those costs were eligible for a 75% Public Assistance reimbursement. PUD Interim General Manager John Nguyen said these funds will help the PUD stay on track with its budgeting.

“While the PUD has funds set aside for emergencies like the December outage, this reimbursement will go a long way toward keeping the PUD on budget as was planned before the storm,” Nguyen said.

Columbia River PUD was one of several Oregon agencies to receive FEMA Public Assistance funds. Statewide, Oregon received more than $2 million. Nguyen credited PUD employees for helping bring federal dollars into Columbia County.

“I am very appreciative of our CRPUD team and the work they did to ensure that FEMA had the information they needed to make this disaster declaration. The FEMA reimbursements are a great outcome, not only for our PUD, but also for Columbia County as a whole,” Nguyen said.

President Obama declared Oregon’s winter storms a disaster on Feb. 17, 2016, which made FEMA’s Public Assistance recovery program available to declared counties. The state and FEMA have been working closely with local officials since then to identify damage, develop project costs, and deliver funding to assist in the recovery.