(The Center Square) – Two rural Tennessee electricity providers received loans in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Electric Loan and Loan Guarantee Program as part of $2.7 billion in loans announced on Monday.
Gibson Electric Membership Corp. received $81 million in loan while French Broad Electric Membership Corp. received $45 million.
In all, 64 projects were awarded in the Electric Loan Program with $613 million to help rural utilities and cooperatives install and upgrade smart grid technologies. The loans are part of a program created as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.
“These critical investments will benefit rural people and businesses in many ways for decades to come,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “This funding will help rural cooperatives and utilities invest in changes that make our energy more efficient, more reliable, and more affordable. Investing in infrastructure – roads, bridges, broadband and energy – supports good-paying jobs and keeps the United States poised to lead the global economy.”
The Gibson EMC loan will be used to connect 2,462 consumers and build 900 miles of line with $51.3 million in smart grid technologies and 1,698 miles of fiber backbone communication network.
Gibson EMC has headquarters in Trenton and nearly 39,000 customers in Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Lauderdale, Haywood, Lake, Madison and Obion counties in Tennessee and part of Carlisle, Hickman, Fulton, and Graves counties in Kentucky.
French Broad EMC serves nearly 40,000 customers in four counties in western North Carolina and two counties in Eastern Tennessee.
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