The Woodward News

Local News

August 9, 2012

Northwestern Electric awarded USDA loan

Woodward, Okla. — The Woodward-based Northwestern Electric Cooperative (NWEC) is among several rural electric cooperatives nationwide that were recently awarded loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

USDA announced Thursday that 16 cooperatives serving customers in 18 states will receive more than $420 million in loan guarantees for rural electric infrastructure.  This includes $18.3 million for Northwestern Electric.

Jonna Hensley, member services and communications coordinator for NWEC, confirmed that "Northwestern Electric did receive notification that it was approved by USDA for an $18 million loan. The loan helps us upgrade, expand and maintain our electric infrastructure."

According to a USDA press release the loan includes funding to build and improve 134 miles of distribution line in the NWEC system.  The loan amount also includes $843,400 for smart-grid projects, such as installation of smart meters.

"We have a work plan and budget in place and will draw money down (from the loan proceeds) as we make those improvements," Hensley said.

The funding for the loans is provided by USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service (RUS), which has been working for many years to see that rural electric service is maintained and upgraded nationwide.

"Receiving RUS funds is just another normal part of the way co-ops do business," Hensley said.

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