The Eno Fire Department will soon have more reliable access to water in rural areas with the help of Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation. Piedmont Electric awarded the fire department a $285,000 zero-interest loan to add a new tanker truck to their fleet.
The loan funds are available in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program (REDLG), which provides zero-interest funding to local electric cooperatives, such as Piedmont Electric. The cooperatives, in turn, lend money to local businesses for projects that support rural areas.
“Eno Fire Department’s new fire truck, the Elliptical Water Tanker, was selected for its ability to haul more water to rural areas than a typical engine or tanker. Easy access to water is essential to fight fires, and a reliable tanker truck is especially necessary in rural areas where fire hydrants are less common,” says Eno Fire Chief Keith Hayes.
Another advantage of the Elliptical Water Tanker model is that it is the standard model used by surrounding fire departments in Orange and Durham Counties, which is essential when the Eno Fire Department responds to emergencies in other fire districts. In such situations, both fire departments will be familiar with the other’s equipment. “The unique opportunity to not only aid one community, but potentially our service area as a whole, is one of the most rewarding aspects of the REDLG program,” says Piedmont Electric President and CEO, Randy Brecheisen. “It is a direct representation of why electric cooperatives were created – to support individuals while caring for the community as a whole.”
The $285,000 truck is funded by a $237,500 grant from the USDA REDLG program to Piedmont Electric and $47,500 in matching funds from the electric cooperative. Once repaid, the funds will be added to the electric cooperative’s revolving loan fund, which will be re-loaned to assist with future projects in the Piedmont Electric area.
Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative headquartered in Hillsborough with district offices in Person and Caswell Counties, is a nonprofit electric utility serving 31,000 member services in parts of Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Granville, Orange and Person counties. Visit www.pemc.coop for more information.