Rural Nebraska Receives $42.4M through USDA Programs

By: 10/11 Central Nebraska News Email
By: 10/11 Central Nebraska News Email

More than $42.4 million was delivered to Nebraska in federal fiscal year 2013 through the Rural Utilities Service Electric and Telecommunications programs, according to USDA Rural Development State Director Maxine Moul.

“Solid utilities infrastructure is important for rural Nebraska. The Electric and Telecommunications programs keep our communications and electric systems up to date, allowing for top grade services to our rural communities,” said Moul. “We look forward to Fiscal Year 2013 and continuing to help meet the needs of rural residents.”

Hartington Telecommunications, Inc. received a $5,265,000 telecommunications loan for a proposed system that uses active and Passive Optical Network (PON) to deploy FTTH that will be capable of serving each home with modern state-of-the art broadband services. Both technologies have been selected to help increase the efficiency of the network. The project will entail replacing the rural portion of the outside plant copper cable with fiber optic cable. The new system will also require replacing rural drops with fiber cables and installing new optical interfaces at each subscriber location. A large number of digital loop carrier (DLC) sites will be retired or converted into optical nodes, increasing system reliability due to a reduction in grid powered sites.

USDA Rural Development’s Electric program provides leadership and capital to upgrade, expand, maintain, and replace America’s vast rural electric infrastructure. The electric programs make direct loans and loan guarantees to electric utilities to serve customers in rural areas. The loans and loan guarantees finance the construction of electric distribution, transmission, and generation facilities, including system improvements and replacement required to furnish and improve electric service in rural areas, as well as demand side management, energy conservation programs and on-grid and off-grid renewable energy systems. Funds are available for Fiscal Year 2014 and applications are being accepted.

Nebraska counties will be served through electric loans provided to Colorado and Wyoming based companies. Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. of Westminster, CO, which serves Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming, received FY 2013 funding for two projects involving upgrades and modifications to existing generation and transmission facilities, improving 50 miles of transmission line, one new substation, and making other system improvements.

The electric loan to High West Energy, Inc. of Laramie, WY, which serves Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska, will build 483 miles of distribution line, 17 miles of transmission line, and make other system improvements.

Total value of the electric loans to Nebraska counties in FY13 was $37,152,911. Counties served include Arthur, Banner, Box Butte, Chase, Cherry, Cheyenne, Dawes, Deuel, Garden, Grant, Hayes, Hooker, Keith, Kimball, Lincoln, Morrill, Perkins, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan, and Sioux.

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