Agriculture Secretary Announces Electric System Improvements in Seven States

TEMPLE, September 17, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced funding for projects in seven states, including Texas, 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 U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service.  They include more than $5 million for smart grid projects and nearly $3 million to improve electric service.

“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.”
In Texas, Rural Development will finance $25 million in loan guarantees to build more than 589 miles of line which will serve almost 3,000 rural residents.  The Central Texas Electric Cooperative will use the funds for new distribution lines and other system improvements, with over $850,000 reserved for smart grid projects.

“Electric cooperatives provide a vital service to rural Texas communities,” said Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development Texas State Director. “Rural Development is pleased to offer assistance to The Central Texas Electric Cooperative as they may provide valuable and reliable services to homeowners, farms and businesses.”

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. The Obama Administration has invested more than $135 million in smart grid technologies nationwide during 2013.

  USDA Rural Development serves as the lead federal agency for rural development needs by offering financial and technical assistance to individuals, businesses, and communities. For more information on programs offered by USDA Rural Development, contact visit


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