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USDA Announces Loans to Improve Rural Electric Infrastructure and Upgrade Energy Efficiency in Texas

Erika Archie
Release Date

State Director for Rural Development Edd Hargett today announced that USDA is providing $35 million in loans to upgrade rural electric systems in Texas.  The funding includes $351,000 to finance smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security.

      “Rural Texans need reliable and affordable electricity,” Hargett said. “We are pleased to offer funding to North Plains Electric Cooperative to improve the efficiency of this essential service.”

   USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program to improve electric reliability and resilience in rural areas. 

   In Texas, North Plains Electric Cooperative will use a $35 million loan to build and improve 163 miles of line and invest $351,000 in smart grid technologies to improve system efficiencies and resilience. North Plains provides electric service to more than 7,000 residential and commercial customers over 3,779 miles of line across Ochiltree, Roberts, Hansford, Wheeler, Lipscomb, Hutchinson and Hemphill counties in the northeast Texas panhandle.

    In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

   To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

   USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.