Co-ops Get $200 Million for Rural Power

Electric cooperatives in nine states are in line for $200 million in loans to help them upgrade and expand their rural infrastructure, the Department of Agriculture announced.

More than $200 million in federal loans will help co-ops in 9 states build and maintain their infrastructure. (Photo By: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

More than $200 million in federal loans will help co-ops in 9 states build and maintain their infrastructure. (Photo By: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

"Investing in electric infrastructure is critical to the success of businesses, residents and farmers in our small towns and rural areas," said Anne Hazlett, assistant for rural development to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. "These loans will help provide reliable electricity to rural areas in more efficient and sustainable ways than ever before."

The loans, announced Aug. 24, represent the latest round of funding through the department's Rural Utilities Service and Electric Loan Program.

According to USDA, they will support the construction and improvement of nearly 1,200 miles of transmission and distribution lines.

About $12 million of the allocation will go to co-op-run smart grid projects, such as advanced metering and geospatial information systems.

The largest loan will go to M & A Electric Power Cooperative in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, which provides power to four distribution systems in the southeastern part of the state. M & A will get $38.4 million to build 30 miles of line, with $2.9 million of that earmarked for smart grid projects.

Vigilante Electric Cooperative, Dillon, Montana, will use $14.8 million to build and improve 85 miles of line and make other system improvements for its members in Montana and Idaho. The loan includes $200,000 for smart grid projects.

And a new headquarters is on the horizon for H-D Electric Cooperative in Clear Lake, South Dakota. A $3.6 million loan will help the co-op build the facility, including an office and warehouse to serve members in South Dakota and Minnesota.

A full list of recipients is available from USDA.

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