LINGLE – After a financial green light from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Lingle-based electric cooperative Wyrulec Company is preparing for upcoming modernization projects.
In mid-October, The USDA announced funding in the form of $1.95 billion in loan guarantees to modernize and improve rural electric generation and infrastructure. Wyrulec received roughly $4.9 million in funding, which includes provisions for building and improving 85 miles of distribution line, other system improvements and about $155,000 for smart grid projects. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a “smart grid” refers to a modern delivery system that incorporates computer-based remote control and automation technology.
Wyrulec General Manager Rollie Miller said the loan announcement is another step in a funding process that occurs every four or five years. Miller said Wyrulec workers analyze the needs of the service area, estimate costs, formulate a work plan and apply for the loan.
“That’s been done for decades,” Miller said. “We’ve received funding continuously from the USDA and (Cooperative Finance Corporation).”
Miller said this cycle’s funding would be used for “multiple small projects” throughout the service area, including replacing poles and wires.
Wyrulec was incorporated in 1936. The first cooperative meeting was held on Dec. 22 o that year; the main topic of discussion at that time was a $29,000 loan request to build 25 miles of line to serve 78 customers.
Today, Wyrulec oversees 1,952 miles of line serving 4,704 accounts and 2,200 customers, according to its website. It is located at 500 Main Street in Lingle and can be reached at 307-837-2225 or 1-800-628-5266. Office hours until mid-May are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The USDA’s Rural Development mission area funds community infrastructure, housing and business programs nationwide. It currently has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees designed to improve the quality of life in rural America.