|USDA ANNOUNCES FUNDING TO IMPROVE RURAL ELECTRIC SERVICE IN NORTHEAST KANSAS|
|Topeka, Kansas, Aug 21, 2012
@@Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that rural electric utilities in 18 states will receive loan guarantees to make improvements to electric lines, transmission facilities and to reduce peak electric loads by deploying smart grid technologies. In Kansas, the Leavenworth-Jefferson Electric Cooperative received USDA financing.
With this funding, USDA Rural Development moves closer to reaching Secretary Vilsack’s goal to fund more than $250 million for smart grid technologies. Today’s announcement includes support for nearly $29 million in smart grid projects. Smart grid technologies help utilities better predict and respond to changes in supply and demand for power, which allows the utilities to deliver service more reliably and efficiently. In all, USDA is investing more than $420 million in rural electric infrastructure.
“USDA Rural Development provides critical funding to rural electric cooperatives that provide rural Kansans with affordable, reliable electricity,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Patty Clark. “We will continue to partner with electric cooperatives in the state to improve the electric infrastructure throughout rural Kansas.”
The Leavenworth-Jefferson Electric Cooperative, Inc. received a $7.58 million USDA Rural Development loan. Part of the loan will be used to serve 375 new members and includes building and improving 100 miles of distribution line and making other system improvements. The loan amount includes $104,028 in smart grid projects, which will help record electrical information that can be used to reduce storm outage times and assist with system planning. Loan funds will also help with the continued installation of automatic metering infrastructure.
Steve Foss, General Manager for Leavenworth-Jefferson Electric Cooperative stated, “As Leavenworth-Jefferson Electric Cooperative continues to upgrade its system, we are pleased USDA offers these lower interest loans to electric cooperatives. Since we are owned by those we serve, the money we save with a lower interest loan helps us keep our rates stable.”
Funding is provided by USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS). The loans help electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural America’s electric infrastructure. USDA Rural Development also supports energy conservation and renewable energy projects.
The following is a list of rural utilities that also received USDA funding, which is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.
• Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation – $13,000,000. Funds will be used to serve about 3,300 consumers, build and improve 216 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. 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.
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