USDA Announces $309 Million Investment in Rural Electric Utilities

Power pole
Contact: Phil Eggman
(360) 704-7709

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $309 million in 16 projects (PDF, 107 KB) to improve rural electric infrastructure in 12 states, including Washington.

“Robust, modern infrastructure is a foundation for quality of life and economic opportunity no matter the zip code in which you live,” Hazlett said. “Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in addressing rural infrastructure needs to support a more prosperous future in rural communities.”

Hazlett made the announcement here today during a visit to the Central Iowa Power Cooperative. One of its members, Farmers Electric Cooperative in Greenfield, Iowa, is receiving a $1.4 million USDA loan to invest in smart grid projects. Farmers plans to install more than 5,800 single-phase meters and additional meter reading equipment in its west-central Iowa service area.

Hazlett also announced that Orcas Power & Light Cooperative in Washington State will receive a loan for $18.19 million to build two miles of line, improve 66 miles and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $6 million for smart grid projects. Orcas Power serves 13,025 residential and 2,061 commercial consumers over 1,300 miles of line to 20 islands in San Juan County.

The loans announced today are being made through USDA’s Electric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee program, which helps finance generation, transmission and distribution projects; system improvements; and energy conservation projects in communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. Funding for these loans was included in the FY 2018 Omnibus spending bill. It allocates significant resources for infrastructure investments, including $6.25 billion to USDA for electric loans. The measure also directs Secretary Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.

In addition to funding in the 2018 Omnibus bill, President Trump has proposed a $200 billion infrastructure investment plan that allocates 25 percent ($50 billion) to rural projects.

Last Modified: 06/07/2018