U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director Roy Holleman announced today that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $126 million to improve rural electric infrastructure in Louisiana.
“Modern and reliable electric infrastructure is foundational to building prosperity in rural Louisiana,” Holleman said. “USDA is committed to being a strong effective partner in improving this essential infrastructure.”
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.
In Louisiana, the Dixie Electric Membership Cooperative will be receiving an award of $126 million dollars. This Rural Development investment will be used to connect 11,368 consumers, and to build and improve 640 miles of line. This loan includes $4,539,666 in smart grid technologies (communication cable) for 8.4 miles of fiber for connection from the Watson substation to the Live Oak substation and to the Indian Mound substation. Dixie Electric, headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, serves an average of 111,777 accounts over 8,787 miles of line. The distribution network covers Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Livingston, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, and West Feliciana parishes.
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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