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

May 25, 2017

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.  

Tree branches encased in ice, lit by Eugene stoplight.
Credit David Geitgey Sierralupe / Flickr.com

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. 

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

“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.