Federal officials say enough cash is on hand to meet disaster needs for fiscal 2011. But electric cooperative officials remain cautious, as bills pile up following a spate of disasters.
“We’re concerned about where things stand with permanent restoration dollars,” said Nelle Hotchkiss, senior vice president of corporate relations for the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives.
Co-ops in North Carolina have projected losses from Hurricane Irene could top $12 million, Hotchkiss said. “That’s a substantial amount of money to pass onto our members. As nonprofits we are not in position to absorb those costs.”
A budget reassessment by the Federal Emergency Management Agency averted the need for Congress to consider a proposed $744 million replenishment measure for the current fiscal year. That sum, and how to pay for it, were at the heart of a week-long debate between the two political parties.