USDA to loan $1.6 billion for rural electric improvements in Oklahoma and other states


Part of the $1.6 billion in USDA investments to improve rural electric infrastructure in 21 states is going to Oklahoma.

USDA is providing loans and loan guarantees to rural electric cooperatives and utilities through the Electric Loan Program. The recipients will use the funds to build and improve 9,138 miles of electric transmission and distribution line, benefiting 1 million rural residents and businesses.

The loans include nearly $386 million for investments in smart grid technology, which uses digital communications to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.


“Reliable and modern 21st century infrastructure, including electric infrastructure and smart grid technologies, is a cornerstone for prosperity in rural America,” Secretary Perdue said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building their futures.”

The investments announced this week are being made in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

One of the loans is going to Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative
Corporation in the amount of $151,488,000. The company serves 60,000 members in 10 counties in Arkansas and three counties in eastern Oklahoma. The investment will be used to install 6,140 miles of fiber-optic cable for Smart Grid purposes on 100 percent of Arkansas Valley’s power distribution lines that will supply a secure high-speed communications path to all their substations and downline devices.

A $75 million loan was approved by the USDA to Little Rock based Arkansas Electric cooperative Corporation. It will be used to install more than 2,000 miles of fiber-optic cable for Smart Grid purposes. The installation will improve grid communication between the  Distribution Cooperatives. Arkansas
Electric provides wholesale electric service to 17 electric distribution cooperative members serving in 74 Arkansas counties.

A north Texas rural electric cooperative, United Cooperative Services received a nearly $41 million loan to install 679 miles of fiber-optic cable to provide a backbone communications network for Smart Grid. The firm is headquartered in Cleburne, Texas and serves more than 83,000 customers in 16 counties.

Source: USDA