Hattiesburg-based rural electric partnership Cooperative Energy has been awarded a $148.8 million loan to finance system upgrades for a rural electric system serving 55 Mississippi counties. The announcement was made Tuesday by U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.)
The Electric Loan Program financing to Cooperative Energy is among the awards issued to improve rural electricity service in 13 states. The loan program is administered by U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.
“Greater demands are being made of rural electric cooperatives, and this long-term loan will allow Cooperative Energy to take on the evolving needs of rural Mississippians,” Hyde-Smith said. “I’m grateful USDA Rural Development is making this financing available.”
“Funding through the USDA electric cooperative program provides low interest loans to not-for-profit utilities such as Cooperative Energy so that we may invest in our system and continue to provide affordable, reliable electricity for the nearly one million Mississippians served by our 11 member systems,” said Tom Hall, Cooperative Energy’s senior vice president and chief financial officer.
“This (35-year) loan will allow us to implement a number of projects designed to make our generation plants and transmission system more efficient. These projects include routine environmental upgrades and transmission line and substation construction and other improvements within Cooperative Energy’s system.”
Cooperative Energy partnership provides electricity service to approximately1 million residents which includes the Pine Belt counties of Forrest, George, Greene, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Marion, Perry and Wayne in addition to Adams, Amite, Attala, Bolivar, Carroll, Clarke, Coahoma, Copiah, Covington, Choctaw, Claiborne, DeSoto, Franklin, Grenada, Hancock, Harrison, Hinds, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Jackson, Jasper, Lawrence, Leake, Leflore, Lincoln, Montgomery, Newton, Pearl River, Pike, Quitman, Rankin, Scott, Sharkey, Smith, Stone, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tunica, Walthall, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wilkinson, and Yazoo.