Yakama Nation secures $30M loan to expand utility company

Leaders and members of the Yakama Nation are seen with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) in 2014. Photo from Office of Jay Inslee

The Yakama Nation of Washington has secured a federal loan to assist with its efforts to expand power service on the reservation.

Yakama Power can use the $30.8 million loan to improve transmission and distribution line and make other system improvements. But it also could help finalize the purchase of Benton REA, a local utility, for $24 million, The Yakima Herald-Republic reports.

The members of Benton REA are voting on the proposed deal, the paper said. If it's approved, Yakama Power would add another 2,000 customers to the existing 700, according to the paper.

The $30.8 million loan was announced by the Department of Agriculture on Wednesday. A total of $3.6 billion is being loaned for rural electric projects in 31 states.

"For 80 years, rural electric utilities have provided reliable and affordable electricity to help rural communities increase productivity and build stronger economies," Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. "These loans will help them continue to do that. The utilities and cooperatives will use some of the money to finance energy efficiency projects, renewable fuel systems and smart grid technologies to increase our energy independence and improve rural electric infrastructure."

Read More on the Story:
Yakama Power lands $30 million USDA loan for expansion (The Yakima Herald-Republic 10/26)

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Yakama Nation seeking to expand power service on reservation (08/04)