REDLG Q&A with Susan Cashion, Vice President – Chief Compliance and Administrative Officer
What is the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDLG)?
The REDLG program provides zero- interest funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to local electric cooperatives who in turn lend the money to local entities for projects that support rural areas. These loans promote rural economic development and job creation projects. As the funds are repaid to the co-op, a portion of the funds can be re-loaned to assist with future projects in our communities.
Who chooses who receives the loans?
There are specific restrictions established by the USDA that interested borrowing entities must meet to apply for funding. If an organization meets the USDA requirements, they can make an application, which gets presented to the Piedmont Electric Board of Directors who will review the request to determine if Piedmont Electric members will benefit from the project, if there are available funds, and if the project meets the spirit of our program. If all conditions are met, then the loan application is processed. A submitted application to the USDA does not guarantee funding as they compete with applications from other states.
How does this program help our members?
At this point in time, Piedmont Electric has focused on improving emergency preparedness and education within the communities we serve. These types of partnerships with local government and fire departments have long-lasting and deep-reaching impact on the quality of life in our communities. From faster emergency response time to lower homeowners’ insurance rates to improved public education, these projects will continue to make a positive impact for years to come. When we strengthen the communities’ infrastructure of safety and education, we create a better environment for those living in the communities we serve.
Who has already received REDLG funding in our area?
Since we began our program in 2013, Piedmont Electric has secured more than $15 million in funding within Orange, Person, Alamance, Durham, Granville and Caswell counties for fire trucks, fire stations, ambulances, schools and a library and helped create more than 40 jobs.
Why does Piedmont Electric offer these loans?
Commitment to communities is one of the core values that has guided us since we were founded in 1938. Utilizing this loan program from the USDA allows us to provide opportunities for rural organizations in need and help make sure our communities continue to be great places to live, work and raise a family.