FEMA encounters problems getting power to MHUs

(Photo Courtesy: WAFB)
(Photo Courtesy: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – Many flood victims have their Mobile Housing Units (MHU), but they aren’t living in them yet because many units still need power hooked up to them.

FEMA said it has crossed over the 2,000 mark for getting MHUs on site, which is just under half of what it expects to get done. However, getting power to those units remains a big problem before people can move into them.

FEMA said it has faced many ongoing challenges when it comes to getting electricity. Officials mentioned obstacles like homeowners needing to start a utility account and then getting a power meter, and that’s just the beginning.

“We need to mark every underground utility line that we have by calling 811,” said Tito Hernandez, a representative of FEMA. “And that takes 48 hours or more. Once we set the unit on your place, then we need to start strapping, we need to level it, we need to skirt it, we need to attach the utilities to that.”

Officials said they’ve noticed several common problems, one of which is working within a neighborhood of closely built homes.

“If the power is in the neighbor’s property, we need a right of entry to get to that property to get to that power to get to your site,” Hernandez explained.

FEMA suggests people talk to their neighbors ahead of time to get permission.

Officials expect to install another 3,400 MHUs before it is all said and done.

“We know that there are families that are going to continue to wait until probably January until we continue this process,” Hernandez added.

FEMA also has MHUs on commercial sites where rent and utilities are paid for. However, most people prefer to be closer to their home so they can start repairs.

People will have a chance to get some of their questions from FEMA answered straight from the source. A FEMA representative, as well as someone from the National Flood Insurance Program, will be available Thursday night. For more information, CLICK HERE.

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