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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced more than $356 million in new loans to upgrade rural electric services, including more than $15 million in smart grid funding.

Since 2011, the USDA says rural electric cooperatives have used department funding to invest nearly $560 million in smart grid improvements.

One of the utilities that will receive funding is Western Farmers Electric Cooperative Inc., in Anadarko, Okla. It was selected to receive an $82.4 million guaranteed loan to build or improve 78 miles of transmission line, two substations and make other system improvements. Additionally, the loan includes $4.5 million for smart grid projects. The USDA says the funding will benefit customers in Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico and Texas.

A complete list of new funding recipients is available here.



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