Temple, Texas, Oct 24, 2013 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding for rural electric utility system improvements that will benefit residential and business customers in 23 states, including Texas. U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service Administrator John Padalino made the announcement on the Secretary’s behalf while addressing a regional meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in San Antonio, Texas.
“These investments will ensure that rural electric infrastructure will continue to meet the electricity needs of rural residents, farmers, and commercial and industrial customers,” Padalino said. “This funding is part of the Obama Administration’s vision for a new rural energy economy. It includes investments in smart grid technologies that modernize our nation’s electric system and improve its operation.”
In Texas, the Brazos Electric Cooperative was approved for a guaranteed loan of $271,761,000 to build 287 miles of transmission line, build and improve a substation and switching stations, and make other system improvements. The loan includes $352,500 for smart grid projects.
The Northeast Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc. was also approved for a guaranteed loan of $30,000,000 to make plant improvements at the Dolet Hills Power Station Unit 1 and Henry W. Pirkey Station Unit 1. The loan includes $13.9 million for environmental improvements.
“Electric cooperatives provide a vital service to rural Texas communities,” said Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development Texas State Director. “USDA Rural Development is pleased to assist Brazos Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Northeast Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc. in the improvement of essential and affordable services to rural homeowners, farms and businesses.”
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.