USDA Rural Development Approves $56.8 Million in Loans to Upgrade Electric Infrastructure in Central, Coastal Mississippi

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today announced that $56.8 million in low-interest loans have been approved to upgrade electric infrastructure in rural areas of central and coastal Mississippi.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development approved the investments through its Electric Program. The Coast Electric Power Association will use a $47.5 million loan for system improvements, while the Central Electric Power Association will receive a $9,250,000 loan for similar work.

“Families and businesses in rural Mississippi depend on reliable electric service. Rural Development loans help finance work to guarantee and expand service, which is important for growing Mississippi’s economy and supporting public safety,” Cochran said.

The Coast Electric Power Association, which serves parts of Harrison, Hancock, and Pearl River counties, will use the USDA investment to build 136 miles of distribution line, improve 270 miles of line, and make other system improvements. The loan includes $689,287 for smart grid projects.

The Central Electric Power Association will use its funding to build 240 miles of transmission line, improve another 323 miles of line, and make other improvements. It loan includes $100,000 for smart grid projects, which can include technologies to improve the efficiency and security of the electric grid. The association serves rural areas of Attala, Kemper, Leake, Neshoba, Newton, Rankin, and Scott counties.