Piedmont Electric Leverages Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program to Support Local Fire Departments

The Semora Volunteer Fire Department recently received a $300,000 zero-interest loan from Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation to help pay for a new fire truck as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program.

Over the past four years, Piedmont Electric has secured a total of $9 million in REDLG loans within Person, Caswell, Durham, Alamance and Orange counties for fire trucks, fire stations, ambulances and schools. As the funds are repaid, they are re-loaned to assist with future projects in communities served by Piedmont Electric. The co-op has presented funds to fire departments in Efland, Mebane and Roxboro, and to the Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department in Durham in recent months alone.

“We are always proud when we can support a project that improves our communities,” said Piedmont Electric President and CEO Steve Hamlin. “Working with fire departments provides us the unique opportunity to help make our communities a safer place to live.”

State Senator Mike Woodard (left) and representatives of Piedmont Electric and Semora Volunteer Fire Department discuss the new truck.

The Semora Volunteer Fire Department was in need of a larger engine to replace its aging 1,250 gallon pumper/tanker. The new fire truck boasts a 3,100-gallon water storage capacity and will be the largest pumper/tanker in both Person and Caswell counties. The new fire truck will enhance the department’s ability to put out fires, protect property and provide life-saving assistance across its huge service territory that spans approximately 60 square miles throughout Person, Caswell and Halifax (Va.) counties.

“This new pumper tanker will help us better serve our community by increasing our overall effectiveness and ability to provide manpower, water and equipment during times of emergency,” Deputy Chief Clayton Myers said.

Based on previous results from the Cooperative Difference Survey, a key driver of community engagement among co-op members is the cooperative’s support of local fire and rescue services. In the case of the Semora Volunteer Fire Department, the new truck will allow it to maintain its 9S Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating, which helps determine insurance rates for homeowners in the area.

Members of the Mebane Fire Department, North Eastern Alamance Volunteer Fire Department, Congressman Mark Walker, and representatives from the City of Mebane and Piedmont Electric gathered last month to celebrate the closing of $468,330 in zero-interest loans to the Mebane Fire Department.