Agriculture Secretary Announces Electric System Improvements in Eight States Print
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Wednesday, 18 September 2013 14:30
Agriculture Secretary Announces Electric System Improvements in Eight States
More Than $11 million in Smart Grid Improvements Included

NORFOLK, Va., Sept. 5, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding for projects in eight states, including Virginia, to improve electric service for about 10,000 rural residents. Rural Utilities Service Administrator John Padalino made the announcement on the Secretary's behalf in Norfolk, Va., during the 2013 regional meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The loan guarantees are made available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) rural utilities program and include more than $11 million in smart grid project funding.

"These investments will continue to ensure safe, reliable and affordable service for rural residents, farmers, and commercial and industrial consumers," Padalino said. "This funding, which is part of the Obama Administration's vision for a new rural energy economy, includes investments in smart grid technologies that modernize our nation's electric system and improve its operation."

For example, the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative will use USDA funding to build 327 miles of line and invest more than $1.1 million in smart grid technologies across 14 counties. The following is a list of rural electric utilities that will receive USDA funding, contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.

Iowa

  • Midland Power Cooperative – $25,300,000. Funds will be used to serve 530 customers, build 552 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $520,000 for smart grid projects.

Kansas

  • Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $28,460,000. USDA funds will be used to serve 580 customers, build 121 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $3,000,000 for smart grid projects.
  • Bluestem Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $12,850,000. Funds will be used to serve 431 customers, build 62 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $312,000 for smart grid projects.

Missouri and Iowa

  • United Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $26,625,000. Funds will be used to serve 652 customers, build 167 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

North Carolina

  • Halifax Electric Membership Corporation – $4,050,000. Funds will be used to improve 2 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

New Mexico and Texas

  • Lea County Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $24,508,000. Funds will be used to serve 1,158 customers, build 138 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $75,000 for smart grid projects.

Ohio

  • South Central Power Company – $64,000,000. Funds will be used to serve 5,160 customers, build 558 miles of distribution line, 34 miles of transmission line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $6,370,485 for smart grid projects.

Virginia

  • Central Virginia Electric Cooperative – $22,100,000. Funds will be used to serve 1,989 customers, build 327 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $1,157,330 for smart grid projects.

The $207.9 million in USDA loan guarantees announced today will be used to build nearly 2,000 miles of line, fund more than $11 million in smart grid projects and make other system improvements. Since 2011, USDA has invested more than $526 million in smart grid technologies nationwide.

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 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, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as the Department implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act.

USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.

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