Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing $3.6 billion in loans to fund 82 electric projects in 31 states. These loans will finance infrastructure upgrades, create jobs and improve system operations for rural electric customers nationwide.
“For 80 years, rural electric utilities have provided reliable and affordable electricity to help rural communities increase productivity and build stronger economies,” Vilsack said. “These loans will help them continue to do that. The utilities and cooperatives will use some of the money to finance energy efficiency projects, renewable fuel systems and smart grid technologies to increase our energy independence and improve rural electric infrastructure.”
United Electric Cooperative Services will use a $90,480,000 loan to build or improve 834 miles of line, and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $363,475 for smart grid projects.
Harmon Electric Association will use a $13,838,000 loan to build or improve 534 miles of line, and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $32,069 for smart grid projects and $3,656,000 for restoration projects due to storm damage.
“Electric cooperatives provide a vital service to rural Texas communities,” said Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development State Director. “USDA Rural Development is pleased to assist United Electric Cooperative Services and Harmon Electric Association to improve the efficiency of essential and affordable services to rural homeowners, farms and businesses.”
Today’s announcement is part of USDA’s celebration of National Cooperative Month throughout October. This year’s theme is “Cooperatives Build.”