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Firelands Electric Cooperative is building for future with new all-in-one facility

By Norwalk Reflector Staff • Mar 24, 2018 at 6:00 PM

NEW LONDON — Firelands Electric Cooperative held an official ground-breaking ceremony Oct. 30 for the construction of its new facility in New London.

The cooperative selected Monroeville-based firm Janotta & Herner to construct the building, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The property will incorporate a community solar project that will be available as a generation resource to Firelands Electric’s membership.

Contractors completed some ground work before having to suspend construction in December. Weather conditions haven’t been favorable for work progress, but contractors are hopeful to resume construction over the next few weeks.

In other news, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $276 million in rural electric infrastructure to improve system efficiency and reliability throughout the United States. The type of loan guarantees being provided through USDA Rural Development’s electric program, the successor to the Rural Electrification Administration, invest capital in the form of low interest loans and loan-guarantees to non-profit and cooperative associations, public bodies and other utilities.

Firelands Electric is receiving $5.58 million in Rural Development loan funds to construct the cooperative’s new modern headquarters. The cooperative is among 14 recipients nationwide receiving loan funds for infrastructure improvement.

“Financing the project through the U.S. Department of Agriculture gives a lower fixed interest rate that will save our members money,” general manager Dan McNaull said,

The cooperative’s board and management exercised due diligence by researching costs to maintain and repair the current three deteriorating facilities, versus building a new structure to meet the co-op’s needs. Having the facilities under one roof will offer improved communications and operating efficiencies, as well as provide a long-lasting structure to serve the co-op and its members for many years.

“The new building is an investment in both our future and in the community, which is reflective of the comprehensive strength and financial health of Firelands Electric Cooperative. Consolidation to a single facility will enhance communication, streamline member services and overall operations, and provide opportunities for improved efficiency,” McNaull said.

Janotta & Herner has provided a general timeline for the project that is dependent on weather conditions. The tentative schedule is provided on the Firelands Electric website at www.firelandsec.com/content/news-updates.

The cooperative ranks among the highest energy utilities in the country for customer satisfaction. For more information, visit www.firelandsec.com or stay connected with the co-op through its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/FirelandsElectric and Twitter feed, https://twitter.com/Firelands.

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