MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 12, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding for projects in seven states to improve electric service for about 7,000 rural customers. Rural Utilities Service Administrator John Padalino made the announcement on the Secretary's behalf during a regional meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The loan guarantees are made available through the Rural Utilities Service of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development. They include more than $5 million for smart grid projects and nearly $3 million to improve electric service for Native Americans.

"These investments will continue to ensure that safe, reliable and affordable electric service is available for rural residents, farmers, and commercial and industrial consumers," 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 system operation."

USDA says the more than $136 million in USDA loan guarantees announced today will help build more than 2,200 miles of line, fund more than $5 million in smart grid projects and make other system improvements.


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