Piedmont Electric recently received special recognition from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its commitment to rural communities through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program.
The recognition was presented at the co-op’s 80th Annual Meeting of Members by Bruce Pleasant, USDA’s Director of Rural Business and Cooperative Services for North Carolina, who administers the REDLG program and is a longtime member of Piedmont Electric.
“The 7th cooperative principle is Concern for the Community, which Piedmont Electric embodies through their participation in the REDLG program,” stated Pleasant during the presentation.
Through its partnership with the REDLG program, Piedmont Electric has secured more than $10 million in government funding for projects that support rural areas and have created more than 30 jobs within Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Orange and Person counties since 2014. This USDA funding can be deployed to assist with various projects including fire and rescue, police protection, public buildings and community facilities, and other economic development projects.
Piedmont Electric’s economic development projects focus on emergency preparedness and education. To date, the zero-interest USDA loans have funded the purchase of 18 fire trucks, four new fire station buildings and five ambulances, strengthening emergency response in the community. In addition, Piedmont Electric has dispersed loans for two schools and one public library.
“Our mission is to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve,” said Steve Hamlin, President and CEO of Piedmont Electric. “By helping keep our local emergency facilities and equipment updated, we are keeping our communities safer and lowering homeowner’s insurance rates in the area.”
Once repaid, the USDA grant funds will be added to Piedmont Electric’s revolving loan fund, which will be re-loaned to assist with future projects in the co-op’s service area.
North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are national leaders in channeling funds from USDA’s REDLG program. Since 2012, the state’s co-ops have participated in the financing of nearly 100 economic development projects with a total investment of more than $500 million and creating more than 2,500 jobs in rural parts of the state.
Learn more about the economic development efforts of electric cooperatives throughout the state in the In the Community section of our website.