U.S. Rep. John Barrow announced Tuesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded Planters Electric Membership Corp. a $1.9 million grant for extensive damage caused to the local energy provider’s infrastructure from February’s ice storm.
Few power companies in the region were left with a more daunting test after the winter storm than Planters 0EMC, a small energy cooperative that serves rural areas of Richmond, Burke, Jenkins, Screven, Emanuel and Bulloch counties.
Planters Electric customers in McBean, a small community in south Augusta, remained without power almost a full week after the storm began.
“The ice storms earlier this year did a lot of damage to our homes and businesses in the 12th District, with many people left without power for several days.” Barrow said. “FEMA’s job is to help local governments and electric coops pay for catastrophic losses from natural disasters like this, and that helps all of us. PEMC serves thousands of 12th District residents, and this grant helps to ensure that repair costs aren’t passed on to the community.”
Planters Electric responded to roughly 89 percent of their 13,500 members who were without power from the storm. The company brought in 250 linemen to help its staff of 31 technicians.
“Planters EMC and the families and businesses that we serve are very grateful to Congressman Barrow and FEMA for these funds,” said General Manager Matt Brinson. “ The electric system we built over the last 75 years was almost completely destroyed by a single storm. These funds will help to pay for the expenses of rebuilding our system, and will allow Planters EMC to continue to provide affordable and reliable electricity to our members.”
Barrow said the funds will be disbursed to the State of Georgia and made available to PEMC on a reimbursable basis once they present the state with appropriate documentation.