Electric cooperative leaders meet with FEMA during legislative conference

Published on May 12, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

Electric cooperative leaders visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as other federal agencies, during the recently concluded National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Legislative Conference, where they spoke with officials about a number of issues.

“Our board of directors felt it was important to make sure we are looking out for the interests of
our co-op,” Bill Carson, manager of member services at North Plains Texas Electric Cooperative in Perryton, said.

During his time in the meeting, Carson told FEMA officials how his co-op suffered $13.8 million in damages from a January ice storm that failed to meet FEMA’s relief threshold for Texas. FEMA told co-op leaders that the agency will provide relief for large events such as hurricanes, but is still exploring changes in coverage for lesser events.

Iowa co-ops thanked FEMA for reversing a regional administrator’s decision that denied them about $15 million in disaster relief from a 2013 ice storm. FEMA also extended the recovery deadline to the end of 2018.

“It was refreshing to see the participation of the RECs throughout the country sharing their issues, their concerns with FEMA funding and the processes used,” Chuck Soderberg, executive vice president of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, said. “Hopefully, FEMA will listen and consider changing the funding parameters as they make decisions over the next year or two.”

In addition to meeting with FEMA officials, co-op leaders also met with the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies where they discussed issues that included vegetation management and endangered species designation.