Ohio Rural Development State Director David L. Hall today confirmed Williams County’s North Western Electric Cooperative is among 18 recipients nationwide to receive U.S. Department of Agriculture funding to improve rural electric service.
“Since its humble beginnings in the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, reliable electric service has been the very foundation of rural infrastructure,” said Hall. “We’re pleased to play a role in helping North Western Electric Cooperative make system improvements that will positively impact more than 6,000 rural customers in four Ohio counties.”
USDA is making the investments through its Electric Infrastructure Loan Program. Headquartered in Bryan, Ohio, North Western Electric Cooperative will use its $8 million loan to build 20 miles of new line and improve 49 miles of line in Defiance, Henry, Paulding and Williams counties, adding an anticipated 140 new rural consumers to its service area. The loan includes $827,225 for smart grid projects, which uses technology to identify and respond to local changes in usage.
In addition to Ohio, these projects will help improve the quality of life in rural communities in Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
Nationwide, the investments USDA is making today include nearly $43.7 million for smart grid technology to increase system efficiencies. Smart grid examples include computer applications, geospatial information systems and other tools to increase reliability and efficiency.
USDA’s support for rural cooperatives and utilities underscores Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s priority to promote rural economic development by centering around three principles: infrastructure, partnerships and innovation.
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 services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.