Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Summary

Electric cooperatives depend on FEMA’s Public Assistance Program to help restore electric power to consumers after natural disasters – such as floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and ice storms. Co-ops serve on average 7 consumers per mile of line, including some of the most rugged terrain of any electric utility, yet own and operate 42 percent of the distribution lines in the country. As such, disasters can have a disproportionate impact on electric cooperatives and their member-consumers. Congress made electric co-ops eligible for FEMA reimbursements to mitigate these costs, keep electricity prices down and ensure smooth recoveries from major natural disasters for not-for-profit, consumer-owned utilities. Without FEMA financial assistance, many co-op consumers living in disaster-stricken areas could face significantly higher electric rates.

Fact Sheet