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FEMA Reimburses Tallahassee $10.5 Million For Post-Michael Electrical Repairs

HurricaneMichaelTallahasseePowerCrewFleet.jpeg
City of Tallahassee - Twitter
After Hurricane Michael, a fleet of power crews restored electricity to Tallahassee residents and businesses.

Federal disaster assistance will cover most of the costs of restoring electricity to Tallahassee residents who lost power after Hurricane Michael.

"It’ll go back to restore the reserves so that we’re prepared for the next emergency response," said Robert Wigen, the city's director of resource management.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to reimburse the city about $10.5 million of the $14 million spent on repairing the downed power lines and poles after the storm, Wigen said.

In the hurricane's immediate aftermath, the city reported nearly 90% of customers were affected.

Wigen says damage from Michael "affected a good portion of our tree canopy, which brings down power lines and affects the distribution service.”

But Hurricane Michael didn't damage the city's electrical grid as much as Hurricane Hermine in 2016, Wigen said. "We were without power in some sections of the city for weeks."

He says the city and state will also chip in roughly $2 million each to cover the total cost.

In addition to receiving funding from FEMA's public assistance grant program, the city is seeking hazard mitigation funds. “Those aren’t necessarily for restoration,” he said. “Those are for improvements to harden our electric system."

Wigen says city commissioners will consider approving receipt of hazard mitigation grant funds at their next meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 9.

In addition to seeking reimbursements for Michael-related costs, the city could still receive assistance for repairs following Hurricane Irma, which caused less damage than Hurricanes Michael and Hermine, Wigen said.

"Irma is probably about 80 percent reimbursed, with some small outstanding projects that are still being reviewed."