Hillsborough-based Piedmont Electric has been awarded a $60 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through a recently announced $371 million investment to build and improve critical electric infrastructure that will benefit more than 222,000 rural residents and commercial customers in 11 states.
The loan will be used to connect 1,636 new members, as well as build and improve 70 miles of line. It also includes $4.45 million for smart grid technologies. Piedmont Electric currently serves nearly 33,000 members along more than 3,500 miles of line in Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Granville, Orange and Person counties.
“We thank the USDA for this support that will allow us to expand and upgrade our electrical system to better meet the needs of our members,” said Piedmont Electric President and CEO Steve Hamlin. “These improvements are a critical part of our efforts to continue delivering reliable, affordable and sustainable power to the people, businesses and communities we serve.”
The USDA investment includes 10 projects funded through its Electric Loan Program that will help build and improve 3,741 miles of line to improve electric reliability and resilience in rural areas. The loans include $80 million for investments in smart grid technology, which uses digital communications to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.
The Electric Loan Program is part of USDA Rural Development, which provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.