Vermont seeks federal damage assessment from storm, outages

Associated Press

Published: 01-06-2023 4:05 PM

Vermont has requested a federal damage assessment to see if the state qualifies for a federal major disaster declaration from last month’s storm that caused tens of thousands of power outages and other damage.

Vermont Emergency Management Director Erica Bornemann requested the preliminary assessment for Addison, Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, and Orleans counties from the massive Dec. 23-24 storm, the division said Friday.

“This storm was significant for Vermonters and Vermont’s utilities,” Bornemann said in a statement. “Municipal, non-profit, and public utilities worked for several days to restore electric service to tens of thousands of customers in rural areas of Vermont. Some smaller electric departments spent hundreds of thousands to over a million dollars on repairs, far exceeding their yearly budgets for emergency work.”

A declaration means municipal and non-profit utilities could be reimbursed for 75% of restoration costs. Municipalities could also get back 75% of the costs of expenses such as road repairs and overtime pay for storm cleanup, the division said.

Vermont must show at least $1.14 million in response and public infrastructure recovery costs to qualify and so far has found $2 million in utility and community costs. Counties must also show costs of $4.44 per capita, the division said.

The assessments will start next week.