Smart grid funding benefits rural electric cooperatives

Electric cooperative utilities will receive funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for improving smart grid technologies and improvements to generation and transmission facilities in rural areas. These loans will benefit more than 19,000 consumers in 14 states.

Among the rural electric cooperative utilities that will receive funding are Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Co-op Inc., which serves Indiana and parts of Illinois. Hoosier received a $462.5 million loan to fund system projects to improve reliability and comply with environmental requirements. The loan will also finance smart grid technologies and transmission line improvements.

Northeast Oklahoma Electric Co-op Inc. received a of $23.5 million loan to build or improve nearly 250 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $1.2 million for automated metering.

The $900 million in loans announced today are provided by USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS). RUS funding aims to build nearly 1,500 miles of line and improve more than 1,700 miles of existing line in rural areas. More than $19 million is expected to finance smart grid technologies.

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