Jeff Davis Electric Co-op officials give update on hurricane repairs

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 9:37 PM CDT
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Cameron, LA (KPLC) - Steps towards hurricane repairs are being made for Jeff Davis Electric Co-op customers.

CEO Michael Heinen said in a previous interview their systems are running off of generators after extensive hurricane damage, and the company is awaiting FEMA reimbursements.

This month, the company received roughly $60 million of that money.

That reimbursement was earmarked for restoration and repairs to the Creole substation and damaged transmission lines from Manchester to Gibbstown.

“When we get money back, that’s not our money,” Heinen said. “We don’t put it in the bank, we repay the bank for them letting us borrow the money way back in 2020. That’s what is really the hardest part is the interest keeps accumulating, while we are waiting for payments from FEMA.”

Heinen said emergency repairs made after hurricanes Laura and Delta cost $300 million. Those repairs are complete, as now the company is working on a second project: a complete overhaul of the current system.

Heinen said the approximately $370-million project will be worth the extra time and money, with construction starting in August.

“South of Lake Charles and goes all the way down to the coast, across Calcasieu Ship Channel to Holly Beach and then back up to Hackberry, and that is going to be a 230-kilovolt line that we are trying to rebuild,” Heinen said. “A small 69-line, we’ve been hit so many times, FEMA said it’s time to upgrade, we’re going to put in steal poles and elevated substations in that area.”

Heinen said the construction is on track and should be completed in 2025.