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FEMA Helps Cover Some Of EWEB's $4.7M Storm Recovery Expenses

David Geitgey Sierralupe

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has given Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) a grant for recovery costs related to last winter’s major ice storm.  KLCC’s Brian Bull has more.  

FEMA’s $3.5 million dollar grant covers three-fourths of EWEB’s cost for restoring power and service after a heavy ice storm hit in mid-December. 

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Utility crews clear debris from power lines and poles after the December 2016 ice storm.

“The ice…really started accumulating, I think we had up to an inch of ice by about 4:30 in the afternoon on December 15th," recalls Joe Harwood, EWEB spokesman.  

"Probably the most devastating storm in our history in terms of damage to our infrastructure, and in terms of the number of customers we had out. I think you’d have to go back to the 1962 Columbus Day windstorm that ravaged Eugene.”

December’s storm left 22,000 customers without power, some for more than a week.

Harwood says thankfully, EWEB emergency managers were quick to realize the severity of the storm.   They called in two dozen utility crews from across the region, to help out.  Without them, Harwood says, power could have been out for at least another week.

Copyright 2017, KLCC.  

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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