Feds route millions to aging Minnesota electrical lines

Feds route millions to aging Minnesota electrical lines

Maya Rao | Star Tribune

As electrical systems age and decline in northwestern Minnesota, Runestone Electric Association is preparing to upgrade 180 miles of line and build 88 more with the help of federal loans.

“A lot of the equipment is over 30 years old and pre-computers and electronic devices … it’s like going from an old rotary phone to a smartphone,” said Al Haman, manager of operations and engineering at the Alexandria-based utility company.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has promised in recent months to invest more than $108 million in Minnesota’s electrical systems, including $43 million last week, amid the Trump administration’s promises to rebuild rural infrastructure nationwide. The federal loans come via the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service, which some advocates also want to see carry out a massive expansion of broadband internet in sparsely populated areas…(Read the full story)

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