USDA invests millions in improving East River Electric’s rural electric infrastructure

East River Electric Power Cooperative and two other cooperatives in the state have been awarded federal funding to build and improve rural electric infrastructure in the state.  

USDA Rural Development South Dakota State Director Julie Gross announced Wednesday that East River, along with Cam-Wal and Douglas Electric Cooperatives, have been awarded combined federal funding of more than 210-million dollars.  The financing is through the USDA’s Electric Loan Program.

East River Electric Power Cooperative, a generation and transmission electric cooperative headquartered in Madison, is receiving close to 199-million dollars to make improvements to their headquarters’ facility, build new and updated substations, and build 135 miles and improve 469 miles of transmission line that will enhance system resilience and reliability.  East River’s loan includes funding for smart grid technologies, including 65 miles of fiber cable between substations to enhance communication capability.

East River provides power to 25 rural electric utilities that serve 41 counties in eastern South Dakota and 22 counties in western Minnesota.