USDA Awards $677 Million in Electric Loans
40,000 Consumers Reached
WASHINGTON. -Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer today announced the selection of 20 rural utilities and cooperatives to receive almost $677 million in loans for new electric lines and system improvements in 19 states.
“America’s electric co-ops provide a vital service to rural areas, electrifying communities, serving farms, businesses and homeowners,” Schafer said. “Electric co-ops do it with a remarkable track record of reliability. The loans we’re announcing today will help make system improvements that will benefit consumers across the nation.”
The loan funds will finance the construction and repair of over 4,200 miles of distribution and transmission lines benefiting almost 40,000 rural electric cooperative consumers. For example, East Central Energy in Braham, Minn., has been selected to receive a loan of over $49 million to serve 4,600 new consumers in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The utility will make system improvements to construct and upgrade over 700 miles of distribution lines. Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative in Live Oak, Fla., has been selected to receive an $18 million loan to build or improve almost 325 miles of distribution lines and provide service to almost 3,700 new consumers. Central Electric Cooperative in Parker, Pa., will receive a $17 million loan to build and improve over 400 miles of distribution lines and provide service to almost 1,400 new consumers.
The funding is being awarded through USDA Rural Development’s Utilities Programs, which Congress authorized under the Rural Electrification Act of 1936. USDA Rural Development has awarded approximately $28 billion in electric loans since 2001.
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development has invested more than $91 billion since 2001 for equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. More than 1.7 million jobs have been created or saved through these investments. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov.
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