Hillsborough, NC (July 7, 2014) – New Hope Volunteer Fire Department, with locations on Whitfield Road in Chapel Hill and N.C. Highway 86, will soon be able to better protect citizens and property in Orange County with the help of Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation. Piedmont Electric is awarding the fire department a $168,000 zero-interest loan that will be used to add a tanker truck to their fleet.
The funds are part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program (REDLG), which provides zero interest loans and grants to local electric cooperatives (such as Piedmont Electric). The cooperatives, in turn, lend money to local businesses for projects that support rural areas. Tanker trucks, such as the one being purchased by New Hope Volunteer Fire Department, are primarily responsible for hauling water to rural fires where hydrants are often less common.
“We are proud to once again support a community in which we provide electricity, and help keep our members and their families safe,” said R. G. Brecheisen, President and CEO of Piedmont Electric.
The loan’s reach will exceed the purchase of one new tanker truck. “The savings on interest alone will cover new protective turnout gear for three firefighters,” said Howard Pratt, President of the New Hope Fire Department Board of Directors. “This loan will improve the safety of civilians and personnel alike.”
The REDLG loan has extended benefits for the citizens of Orange County as well. New Hope Fire Department currently has a 6/9E Public Protection Classification rating from the North Carolina Department of Insurance. A class 6 is one of the best ratings a rural fire department can receive, and helps to lower insurance premiums for home and business owners in their fire district. The new tanker truck is essential to keeping that rating for years to come.
A portion of the funds loaned by Piedmont Electric, once repaid, will be re-loaned to assist with future projects in the Piedmont Electric service 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 consumers in parts of Alamance, Caswell, Durham, Granville, Orange and Person counties. Visit www.pemc.coop for more information.