WASHINGTON — USDA is investing $1.6 billion in 46 rural electric utility infrastructure projects in 24 states. Two Ohio rural electric cooperatives are among the recipients, receiving $145 million in loans for system expansion and/or upgrades.
In Ohio, South Central Power Cooperative will use a $124 million loan to add 144 miles of line, improve 205 miles of line and make other system improvements, including a $24 million investment in smart grid technologies.
South Central Power is the largest rural electric distribution cooperative in Ohio, serving more than 119,000 residential and commercial consumers southeast of Columbus.
The service territory is very rural, heavily wooded and economically diverse. Agricultural production is among the major contributors to the economy in the service territory.
The Guernsey-Muskingum Electric Cooperative received $21,196,000, which will be used to build 43 miles of line, improve 94 miles and make other system improvements.
Guernsey-Muskingum serves more than 16,800 residential and industrial consumers across 2,800 hilly and heavily wooded miles. Major industries in the service territory include coal mining and oil drilling.
The 46 projects announced Nov. 8 are being funded through USDA’s Electric Program. USDA’s funding will help build or improve 5,833 miles of line. It includes $307 million in smart grid technologies, which improve system operations and monitor grid security.
The investments will benefit 7 million rural business and residential electric consumers across the country.
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