Central Rural Electric Cooperative in Stillwater recently received a $9.7 million Rural Utility Service loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Larry Mattox, CREC's communications coordinator says the co-op will use the funding to perform line upgrades and build new infrastructure needed to facilitate growth. The loan payback period is 35 years.
"The loans are routine in the utility industry," Mattox said. "It is very capital intensive. The loan will be used for line improvements and new infrastructure to be able to handle the increased load. The lines need to be updated to be able to carry more electricity. This will increase the reliability for the members."
David Swank, CEO of CREC said the electric co-op continues to see increased growth.
"CREC is fortunate that we're seeing growth throughout our service area," Swank said. "The recent increase in oil and gas production in the area has created a steady boost to our economy. Businesses are busier, houses are being built, and CREC is working hard to meet this new demand."
In nearly 75 years, CREC has grown to a utility with assets in excess of $110 million. The not-for-profit electric cooperative serves more than 2,000 square miles in seven central Oklahoma counties and includes parts of Noble, Garfield, Lincoln, and Logan, Payne, Pawnee and Oklahoma counties. It services roughly 15,000 customers.
"Our coverage extends from Perry over to Cushing and down to Stroud and Chandler to the north side of Oklahoma City and back through Edmond and Guthrie up to Perry," Mattox said.
In 1938 CREC was founded and began operating with funds from a $130,000 Rural Electrification Administration loan from the federal government. The Rural Electrification Administration later became Rural Utility Service, and the entity has provided funding to the capital-intensive rural utility industry for more than 75 years.
Mattox said to due to CREC's growth he believes the upgrading project will continue for the foreseeable future.
"We have seen increased growth the past few years," he said." The project will be ongoing for some time. We see this growth has a longterm venture."