Carper, Coons, Carney announce $28,300,000 to expand electric infrastructure in rural areas

Job-creating USDA funds will help provide reliable power to more than 9,000 residents in Kent and Sussex

WILMINGTON, Del. – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Representative John Carney (all D-Del.) today announced a total of $28,300,000 in U.S. Department of Agriculture funding for Delaware Electric Cooperative, Inc. to build 587 miles of new power distribution lines, improve 55 miles of existing distribution lines, and make other electric power infrastructure improvements. This funding will benefit more than 9,000 residents in Kent and Sussex County.

“This is welcome news for the First State, particularly for our agricultural community,” Senator Carper said. “Investments in smart-grid technologies provide homes and businesses with reliable, economical and sustainable energy services. This critical federal funding will support key technology enhancements for Delaware Electric Cooperative, Inc., creating much-needed jobs, better service and additional economic growth for farms and families in Kent and Sussex counties. I thank the Administration for its support and will continue to work with the Administration and my colleagues in Congress on other initiatives to help our rural and agricultural communities in the First State and across the country.”

“Delaware’s agricultural communities need access to dependable and cost efficient power sources,” Senator Coons said. “Upgrading and expanding the electric infrastructure in Kent and Sussex counties will not only provide areas with additional power, but they will help create high-quality jobs in Delaware. I wholeheartedly welcome this funding, which will brighten Delaware’s rural communities and our state’s economy.”

“With the events of this past weekend, we’ve seen the importance of a dependable electric infrastructure for emergency situations, as well as for the daily needs of Delaware businesses and residents,” Representative Carney said. “I applaud the Delaware Electric Co-op’s efforts to maintain and expand their reliable, efficient infrastructure, while creating needed jobs for Delaware workers.”

On Monday, the USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announced $900 million in national funding to rural electric cooperative utilities for smart grid technologies and improvements to generation and transmission facilities. These loans, which help with electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural America’s electric infrastructure, will benefit more than 19,000 rural consumers in 14 states.

“Rural electric cooperatives provide direct jobs and support economic growth in our rural communities,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “By financing electrical system improvements USDA and the Obama Administration helps ensure sustainable growth and business job creation. Investments in smart grid technologies will give rural electric utilities and their consumers one more tool to better manage use of electricity, increase reliability and lower costs.”

The total national amount awarded by the USDA through its RUS program will help build nearly 1,500 miles of line and improve more than 1,700 miles of existing line in rural areas across the country. More than $19 million will finance smart grid technologies. USDA Rural Development also funds energy conservation and renewable energy projects.