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Electric Investments Impact Thousands of Rural Ohioans
Ohio Ag Connection - 12/03/2019

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $1.4 billion in projects in 21 states (PDF, 143 KB) to build and improve rural electric infrastructure. "Modern and reliable electric infrastructure has been a cornerstone to rural prosperity since the Rural Electrification Act of 1936," Perdue said. "This funding we are providing is critical to rural communities and reflects President Trump's commitment to increasing prosperity across all of rural America. When rural America thrives, all of America thrives."

USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program. It will help build and improve 6,886 miles of line to strengthen reliability in rural areas. The loans include $255.8 million for investments in smart grid infrastructure that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.

In Ohio:

- Midwest Energy Cooperative will use its $63.75 million loan to build and improve 1,193 miles of distribution line, connecting 1,160 new customers. The new lines include 988 miles of fiber backbone for smart grid communications improvements across the electric operating system, including upgrades to metering and grid management systems. Headquartered in Cassopolis, Mich., Midwest Energy Cooperative serves about 36,000 customers over 4,240 miles of line in 10 Michigan and Indiana counties, plus two counties in northern Ohio.

- Mid-Ohio Energy Cooperative will use its $8 million loan to connect 220 customers, upgrade 52 miles of line, and make improvements to substations and metering points. A nonprofit distribution cooperative based in Kenton, Mid-Ohio provides electric service to about 8,100 customers over 1,333 miles of line in 10 north-central Ohio counties.

- Consolidated Electric Cooperative will use its $14.9 million loan to connect 659 customers and build and improve nearly 70 miles of line, implementing smart grid technology to positively impact system performance and reliability. Headquartered in Mt. Gilead, Consolidated serves more than 17,000 rural customers

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