Nearly 40 rural utilities and cooperatives in 29 states have been selected to receive more than $1 billion in loans to build and repair more than 10,000 miles of distribution and transmission lines and make system improvements that will benefit 60,000 rural customers. To date, 402 rural electric cooperatives have used USDA Rural Development's Energy Resources Conservation program.
In making the announcement Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said rural communities need affordable, up-to-date electric service in order to broaden economic opportunities. The funding provides loans and loan guarantees to help utilities, cooperatives, states and local governments provide or improve electric service in rural areas.
As an example of the recipients, the Delaware Electric Cooperative in Greenwood has been selected to receive a $21 million loan to build and improve 717 miles of distribution lines and make system improvements for more than 6,000 new and existing customers. And the West Central Electric Cooperative in Higginsville, Mo. has been selected to receive a $12.9 million loan to build and make improvements to 169 miles of distribution and transmission lines and make other system improvements.
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