USDA Loan to Light Up New and Improved Electricity Service in Grand Traverse County

LANSING – U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Rural Development State Director for Michigan, James J. Turner, announced a $42 million loan to improve utility service to rural Michigan. The state's long recipient: Great Lakes Energy Cooperative, which will receive $42,912,000 to build 122 miles of new distribution line, improve 221 miles of existing distribution line, and make other system improvements.

Great Lakes Energy is the third-largest Michigan-based utility, and the largest member-owned power cooperative in Michigan. Great Lakes Energy is committed to providing energy solutions to more than 125,000 member-consumers in 26 counties in western Michigan, among them Grand Traverse County.

The funds – provided by USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to help electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural America's electric infrastructure – were among a series of loans that will benefit more than 19,000 rural consumers in 14 states. In total, RUS funding will help build nearly 1,500 miles of line and improve more than 1,700 miles of existing line in rural areas. More than $19 million will finance smart grid technologies.