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VEC Receives $11.2 million grant to help Northeast Kingdom

first_imgDuring a meeting with business leaders in Johnson on Wednesday morning, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez announced that the Vermont Electrical Cooperative (VEC) will receive an $11.2 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant.  Dave Hallquist, CEO of VEC, said the new investment would improve electricity reliability and telecommunications access in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.“This grant award provides VEC with the opportunity to improve reliability and expand the broadband infrastructure for Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom,” said Dave Hallquist, CEO of VEC.  “This project will make the region more attractive to new businesses, while strengthening the economic climate for existing businesses, like the furniture industry.  Additional benefits will include increased border security and improved service in northern New Hampshire.”“This is a two-part victory for the Northeast Kingdom – improved electricity reliability and an enhanced broadband backbone that will expand the smart grid and broadband access,” said Senator Patrick Leahy, who assisted VEC with its grant application.  “The current lines and poles are extremely vulnerable to severe weather, like the heavy snow that fell last week.  When an electrical system is vulnerable, so are the people who depend on it — whether we are talking about job-creating furniture manufacturers or Vermonters who need electricity to heat their homes.”   Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch also support the project.VEC officials explained the funds will upgrade 5.2 miles of transmission lines and 26 miles of distribution lines, including poles and lines along Vermont Route 102.  These routes will connect customers in the Northeast Kingdom to Vermont’s power system and provide redundancy to customers in Coos County, New Hampshire.  The funds will also be used to replace a 1920’s-era steel tower line. In addition, VEC will also install fiber optic cables to expand VEC’s existing smart grid system and expand future broadband capabilities in Northeast Kingdom communities. Source: VEC. 5.5.2010last_img

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