WASHINGTON, November 6, 2012 – As part of federal efforts to provide necessary support to those affected by Hurricane Sandy, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that power and water services have been restored to more than 130,000 rural customers on USDA-financed systems in nine states.
“USDA Rural Development has been working closely with electric cooperatives, utilities and operators of rural water systems to restore these critical services as quickly as possible,” Vilsack said. “We will continue to work with utilities and local officials to ensure that everyone in the disaster area has access to electricity and safe drinking water.”
Twelve USDA-funded rural electric systems in nine states reported yesterday that power has been restored to all but 38 customers. At the height of the storm, 130,720 customers in Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia had lost power.
Nearly all of the USDA funded rural water systems in Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey and Pennsylvania that reported problems are back online, and USDA field staff and utility workers are continuing to conduct additional assessments. These water systems serve 91,553 rural residents.
USDA encourages homeowners and business owners in rural communities to contact their local Rural Development office for housing, business or community assistance information. Additional information about assistance programs, safety tips and updates about USDA’s hurricane relief efforts are posted on the Web at www.usda.gov/disaster . Click on the hurricane relief link. Click here for a list of Rural Development offices http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/StateOfficeAddresses.html . Information about the U.S. Government’s hurricane response efforts is available at www.ready.gov
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $174 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.