Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer has announced $1.4 billionin loans to build new distribution lines and make system improvements for more than 73,413 new customers and finance the construction and repair of 6,206 miles of distribution line.

"USDA's Rural Development keeps that important connection for lighting the way and powering homes and businesses to millions of rural Americans," Schafer said. "These investments help keep electric cooperatives strong with continued, reliable service."

Loan funds will be used for a variety of upgrades. Eighteen rural electric utilities in 13 states have been selected.

For example, Cullman Electric Cooperative in Cullman, Alabama, has been selected to receive $26.1 million to build 294 miles of new distribution lines and improve 444 miles of existing lines serving approximately 5,687 consumers. The Sewanee Electric Membership Cooperative in Cumming, Georgia, has been selected to receive nearly $160 million to provide 1,462 miles of new distribution lines and make 553 miles of improvements to existing lines in seven counties, providing upgraded service to 25,299 consumers.

Since 2001, USDA Rural Development has awarded approximately $28 billion in electric loans to utilities across the nation.

Funding for individual recipients is contingent upon meeting the conditions of the loan agreement. Loans will be made to the following utilities:

Borrower State Loan Amount
Cullman Electric Cooperative AL $26,100,000
Central Florida Electric Cooperative, Inc. FL $10,747,000
Jefferson Energy Cooperative GA $30,000,000
The Little Ocmulgee Electric Membership Cooperative GA $13,303,000
Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation GA $159,246,000
North Georgia Electric Membership Cooperative GA $113,602,000
Glidden Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. IA $4,365,000
Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative, Inc. IA $10,665,000
East Kentucky Power Cooperative KY $276,298,000
East Kentucky Power Cooperative KY $457,510,000
The Cooperative Light & Power Association of Lake County MN $4,762,000
Missouri Rural Electric Cooperative MO $159,246,000
French Broad Electric Membership Corporation NC, TN $17,000,000
Darke Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. OH $4,350,000
Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. OH $18,400,000
Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc. SD $3,490,000
Bowie-Cass Electric Cooperative, Inc. TX $33,490,000
Northern Neck Electric Cooperative VA $19,243,000