September 21, 2021

Wyden, Merkley: Two Rural Electric Co-ops in Oregon to Receive $21 Million in FEMA Funds for Repairs from Wildfires

Resources for Lane Electric Cooperative and Consumers Power Inc. will help pay for expenses to fix damages to electrical distribution and transmission systems from 2020 wildfires

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that Lane Electric Cooperative and Consumers Power Inc. -- two electrical co-ops serving rural Oregonians -- will receive a combined $21 million in federal funds to help cover the cost of repairs to infrastructure damaged by wildfires in September 2020.

The need for federal resources to help Oregonians rebound from these wildfires was clear from the destruction I witnessed statewide, and the powerful accounts I heard on the ground from devastated rural homeowners and small business owners working to restore their lives,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified these resources are now secured to assist these two Oregon co-ops that serve these rural communities, and will keep working both to reduce the risk of wildfire throughout the West and to ensure federal funds are available to help any of our state’s communities recover when fire or other disasters strike.

“Communities that have been devastated by massive wildfires are in need of repair, and the federal government needs to do all it can to assist Oregon families and businesses with those efforts,” said Merkley. “I am pleased to see federal funds go directly to entities that will be on the front lines working to revive our rural communities and rebuild critical infrastructure. I will continue fighting to bring federal support that will help Oregon to rebuild and to prevent future wildfire destruction.”

The $19.90 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Lane Electric – which serves rural customers in Lane County -- will be for repairs to electric distribution and transmission system including  power poles, pole heads, overhead and underground conductors, and ancillary equipment that were damaged last year by wildfires. The $1.13 million FEMA grant for Consumers Power Inc. – which serves rural customers in Benton, Lincoln, Lane, Linn, Polk and Marion counties -- will be for repairs to electric system components as well as system hardware including poles and transformers.

“Grants like this are essential to financing repairs to our transmission and distribution system after devastating events like the Holiday Farm Fire,” said Debi Wilson, General Manager, Lane Electric Co-op. “On behalf of our Cooperative’s 10,400 members, we thank Senators Wyden and Merkley for their diligent work to make a real difference in our community. Lane Electric is committed to rebuilding our community stronger than before.” 

“CPI greatly appreciates receiving this federal assistance which is a vital part of our ongoing efforts to rebuild a more resilient power system for our communities ravaged by last year’s wildfires,” said Roman Gillen, President and CEO of Consumers Power Inc.