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News Release
  Release No. 0318.12
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USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

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  Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding to Improve Electric Service in Rural Communities
 

ATLANTA, Ga., Oct. 4, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding to modernize and improve the efficiency of rural electric generation and transmission systems. Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager made the announcement on Vilsack's behalf during a speech before members of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Today's announcement includes a $30 million loan guarantee to Jefferson Energy Cooperative, which serves parts of 11 Georgia counties.

"USDA and the Obama administration continue to support investment by rural cooperatives that will modernize service and improve reliability for rural businesses and residential customers," Tonsager said. "Several of these utilities and cooperatives are also receiving funding that will allow them to deploy smart grid technologies in their operation."

Secretary Vilsack announced last month that USDA met its goal to finance $250 million in smart grid technologies in fiscal year 2012. Today's announcement includes support for $9.8 million in smart grid technologies.

The following is a list of rural utilities that will receive USDA funding, which is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.

Alabama

  • Cullman Electric Cooperative: $29,190,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 461 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan guarantee includes $937,600 in smart grid projects.

Arkansas

  • South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative, Inc.: $10,800,000. Funds will be used to serve build and improve 141 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan guarantee includes $1,099,000 in smart grid projects.

Georgia

  • Jefferson Energy Cooperative : $30,000,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 467 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan guarantee includes $202,592 in smart grid projects.

Kansas

  • Western Cooperative Electric Association, Inc.: $7,238,000. Funds will be used to serve build and improve 6 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

New Mexico

  • Mora-San Miguel Electric Cooperative, Inc. : $8,374,000. Funds will be used to serve build and improve 122 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan guarantee includes $120,000 in smart grid projects.

North Dakota

  • Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc.: $24,100,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 404 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan guarantee amount includes $2,380,000 in smart grid projects.

Ohio

  • The Frontier Power Company: $6,400,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 113 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan guarantee includes $221,232 in smart grid projects.

Texas

  • Wood County Electric Cooperative, Inc.: $32,000,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 222 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $225,000 in smart grid projects.

Virginia and North Carolina

  • Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative: $18,931,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 166 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan guarantee includes $833,279 in smart grid projects.

The $128 million in loan guarantees announced today are provided by USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service. The funding helps electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural America's electric infrastructure. The agency also funds energy conservation and renewable energy projects.

For information on other RD projects, please visit Rural Development's new interactive web map at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html. The map features program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2011.

President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

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