Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding to Improve Electric Service for Rural Residents and Businesses | USDA Newsroom
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News Release
  Release No. 0098.11
Contact:
Weldon Freeman (202) 690-1384

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  Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding to Improve Electric Service for Rural Residents and Businesses
 

ORLANDO, Fla., March 7, 2011—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that rural electric cooperatives in eight states will upgrade services to more than 24,000 rural consumers with loan guarantee financing provided by USDA. Vilsack made the announcement during the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.

"Today's announcement is a continuation of USDA's commitment to bring reliable and affordable electric power to homes and business in rural America," Vilsack said. "The Obama Administration supports investment in the country's energy infrastructure as part of our commitment to 'win the future.'"

The $442 million in funding is being awarded through USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service to assist electric utilities with upgrades, expansion, maintenance, and replacement of rural America's electric infrastructure. Over $9 million of these loans will support investments in smart grid technology through the use of automated metering. The USDA electric program also helps fund energy conservation and renewable energy projects.

Talquin Electric Cooperative in Florida was selected to receive a loan guarantee of $45 million for a project that includes new distribution line and automated metering equipment to serve customers in a predominately agricultural area.

Two of the loans will go to rural electric cooperative utilities in Texas to fund acquisition of a gas-fired plant to provide electric power to meet growing capacity. Northeast Texas Electric Cooperative and East Texas Electric Cooperative will receive support to serve commercial and industrial customers in Texas and Louisiana.

The following is a complete list of rural utilities that have been selected to receive loan guarantee funding, which is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.

FLORIDA

  • Talquin Electric Cooperative, Inc. — $45,360,000. Improvements will serve more than 4,000 consumers, build 150 miles of new distribution and four miles of new transmission line and make system improvements.
  • Glades Electric Cooperative, Inc. — $30,382,000. Funding will be used to serve 1,500 consumers; build 688 miles of new distribution line and one mile of transmission line and make system improvements.

GEORGIA

  • Altamaha Electric Membership Corporation — $10,000,000. This project will serve over 2,000 consumers, build and improve 417 miles of distribution line.

LOUISIANA

  • South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association — $19,777,000. Funding will benefit over 1,800 consumers, build 16 miles of transmission line and improve 30 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.
  • Pointe Coupee Electric Membership Corporation — $11,618,000 Serve 1,500 consumers, build 33 miles of transmission line and improve 24 miles of distribution line.
  • Concordia Electric Cooperative, Inc. — $13,182,000. USDA funding will be used to benefit 4,000 consumers, build 111 miles of transmission line and improve 40 miles of distribution line.

MINNESOTA

  • South Central Electric Association —$14,000,000. Serve 160 consumers, build and improve 219 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

MISSOURI

  • Osage Valley Electric Cooperative Association — $17,150,000. This project will serve 1,240 consumers, build and improve 191 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.
  • Gascosage Electric Cooperative — $6,500,000. Funding will be used to benefit 700 consumers, build and improve 73 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

NORTH CAROLINA

  • South River Electric Membership Corporation — $22,000,000. This project will benefit 3,100 consumers, build and improve 190 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

SOUTH CAROLINA

  • Edisto Electric Cooperative, Inc.— $25,000,000. Funds will be used to serve 3,400 consumers, build and improve 301 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

TEXAS

  • Swisher Electric Cooperative, Inc. — $5,200,000. Funding will serve almost 1,000 consumers, build and improve 181 miles of distribution line.

TEXAS AND LOUISIANA

  • Northeast Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc. — $91,000,000. This funding will be used to help acquire portion of ownership interest in Harrison County Power Plant.
  • East Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc. — $131,000,000. This funding will be used to help acquire portion of ownership interest in Harrison County Power Plant.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. 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. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of nearly $146 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

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