- Associated Press - Saturday, June 6, 2015

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Electric Cooperative is getting a $2.1 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help pay for cleanup and repairs following severe weather last December.

The grant was announced Friday by the state’s congressional delegation, Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch.

The December storm devastated northern Vermont, leaving thousands without power and causing damage to Vermont’s electric infrastructure that rivaled Tropical Storm Irene and the 1998 ice storm.

There were about 45,000 outages in Vermont Electric’s service territory, affecting about 13,000 members.

The FEMA grant will cover about 75 percent of Vermont Electric’s eligible damage and costs.

Vermont Electric CEO Dave Hallquist says that without federal assistance the costs of the cleanup would have fallen on the coop’s members.

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