Rural electric utilities in 20 states have been selected by USDA to receive loans to build new distribution lines and make system improvements. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer announced that $447.5 million will be divided between 24 rural electric companies and cooperatives. The loans will bring electricity to more than 63,000 people and repair or build more than 6,000 miles of electric lines.
"Communities need reliable electric service in rural areas and USDA's support helps businesses expand and create more economic opportunities," Schafer said.
Loan recipients must meet conditions of the loan agreement to receive the funding from USDA. Among the projects that will be made possible by these loans is a new headquarters for the Tri-County Electric Cooperative in Rushford, Minn. The old facility was destroyed by flooding earlier this year. Nearly a fifth of the money will go to Arizona's Trico Electric Power Cooperative, which will allow the building and repair of almost 1000 miles of electric lines.