Runestone Electric gets $19.5 million loan
Runestone Electric Association in Alexandria is planning major upgrades to its lines, thanks to a jolt in federal funding to rebuild rural electrical systems.
The association will receive a $19.5 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service.
The funding will help Runestone Electric improve 36 miles of line and add another four miles of new line, according to Al Haman, manager of operations and engineering for the utility. About 90 percent of the miles are located within Douglas County, he said.
Runestone Electric plans to install advanced electric metering technology, buy new equipment and upgrade its electric substations.
Some of the equipment that will be replaced is more than 30 years old, Haman said, and was installed before advancements in computers and electronic devices.
Statewide, the agricultural department plans to invest more than $108 million in Minnesota's electrical system. The investment fits in with President Donald Trump's plan to allocate $50 billion to help rural areas rebuild and modernize their infrastructure.