USDA Invests $276 Million in Rural Electric Infrastructure - Southeast Colorado Power Association Receives Loan in Colorado

Contact: Amy Mund
(720) 544-2906

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2018 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $276 million in rural electric infrastructure to improve system efficiency and reliability. This announcement comes the day before Secretary Perdue is set to testify alongside Secretaries Wilbur Ross, Alexander Acosta, Elaine Chao and Rick Perry at a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing focused on rebuilding American infrastructure.
   “Investing in our nation’s electric infrastructure is fundamental for rural economic growth,” Secretary Perdue said. “USDA’s longstanding partnerships with rural electric cooperatives help ensure that rural areas have affordable, reliable electric service. These investments also increase efficiency and productivity for businesses and residents, and support the quality of life in rural America.”
   USDA’s $276 million investment will build nearly 1,000 miles of line and improve 733 miles of line to meet current and future needs of rural businesses and residents. It will also support $65 million in smart grid technologies to help rural electric utilities reduce outages and integrate new systems. Smart grid includes technological enhancements such as metering, substation automation, computer applications, two-way communications and geospatial information systems.
   Investments are being made in 12 states. The loan guarantees are being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Electric Program, which is the successor to the Rural Electrification Administration.  The Department is awarding a $13 million loan to Southeast Colorado Power Association (SECPA) in La Junta, Colorado to build 72 miles of line, improve 125 miles and make other system improvements. SECPA currently serves 10,278 meters with 7,688 residential, nearly 1,500 irrigation and 1,100 commercial consumers across a 13,000-square-mile service territory that includes 11 counties in Colorado.  “USDA Rural Development is focused on modernizing rural utilities across the nation,” said USDA Rural Development Colorado State Director Sallie Clark. “This funding will allow SECPA to advance important infrastructure efforts and provide reliable, affordable electricity essential to sustaining the economic well-being and quality of life for rural Coloradans,” said Sallie Clark. 
   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 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.
 

Last Modified: 03/13/2018