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USDA Announces New Program Designed to Cut Energy Costs and Conserve Energy for Rural Families and Small Businesses

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On Tuesday, June 21, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the creation of a new program that will help rural residents save money on utility bills while conserving energy. Through the Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP), USDA has allocated $52 million in loans for energy providers to help rural families and small businesses reduce costs through energy conservation. 

"Investments like the ones we will make through the Rural Energy Savings Program not only reduce energy costs for consumers, but also build a cleaner and more sustainable energy future," Vilsack said. "This program is the latest of many financing options USDA provides to rural communities to expand energy efficiency efforts and strengthen rural economies."

Funding through this program will allow rural energy providers to fund energy efficiency improvements on homes or small businesses. According to USDA, RESP borrowers will be able to finance loans at zero percent interest for up to 20 years, making the program an attractive and affordable option to finance energy-saving measures. Energy customers participating in programs financed through RESP will then repay the loans at an interest rate of up to three percent for up to ten years through their electric bills.

The Rural Energy Savings Program was authorized by Congress through the 2014 Farm Bill and will be administers through USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS). 

To be considered for RESP funding, applicants should submit a letter of intent by August 5, 2016. E-mail the letter of intent to RESP@wdc.usda.gov. Applications will be processed on a first-come/first-served basis until funds are expended. For additional information, please contact Arthur Scott, Associate Legislative Director, at (202) 942-4230 or ascott@naco.org

About Arthur Scott (Full Bio)

Associate Legislative Director – Political Outreach Manager

Arthur Scott serves as Associate Legislative Director for NACo’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs portfolio, lobbying on a broad range of issues facing rural counties. Arthur also serves as Political Outreach Manager for NACo developing and leveraging strategic partnerships to help address key county priorities in Congress and the Administration.

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