STILLWATER, OK June 22, 2020 – The Trump Administration today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $1.6 billion to build or improve rural electric infrastructure in 21 states.
Dr. Lee Denney, USDA-Rural Development State Director said, “Improvements to rural infrastructure, whether it is maintenance, expansion, or modernization is essential to quality of life for our rural customers. Oklahoma is pleased to announce that three eastern Oklahoma counties, Adair, LeFlore and Sequoyah, will benefit from this investment.”
USDA is providing loans and loan guarantees to rural electric cooperatives and utilities through the Electric Loan Program. The recipients will use the funds to build and improve 9,138 miles of electric transmission and distribution line, benefiting 1 million rural residents and businesses. The loans include nearly $386 million for investments in smart grid technology, which uses digital communications to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.
The investments announced today are being made in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
In Oklahoma: The Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative Corporation, based in Ozark, Ark., serves three counties in Oklahoma and 10 counties in Arkansas. This loan of more than $151 million will be used to install 6,140 miles of fiber-optic cable for Smart Grid purposes on 100 percent of Arkansas Valley’s power distribution lines. Arkansas Valley serves nearly 60,000 members across 6,622 miles of line.
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.
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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.