Buckeye Rural gets #036;16 million from FEMA

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 15, 2003

AID - It may well be the first time in history that a rural electric cooperative in Ohio has gotten disaster money to fix equipment.

That doesn't matter to Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative Customer Service Representative Steve Oden, who said he is happy to see the money coming his way.

Buckeye Rural officials and state and local leaders will gather Thursday, Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. to break ground on a $16 million repair and improvement project. The money is coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. BREC is getting the money because of damage caused to lines by February's ice storm. The project will take a year and a half to two years to complete.

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"A lot of the work done at that time was temporary," Oden said. "We taped and glued just to get the electric back on for people. Now, we need to go back in and make permanent repairs. A majority of the work will be done in Lawrence County. New lines will be built, new facilities put in and a lot of things relocated to reduce the risk of their being damaged by falling trees and to make them more accessible."

Oden said some BREC utility poles are not accessible by trucks and will have to be relocated by hand. Some of the money will be used to clear the areas around lines

Some outdated equipment will also be replaced, For example, old copper conductors that were installed in the 1930s and 1940s will be replaced with new, modern insulated alloy conductors. In some places, the typical wooden utility poles will be replaced with metal ones.

"I'm grateful and thankful to FEMA for this money," Oden said. "And I think our members will be, too."