Acting Deputy Under Secretary Roger Glendenning announced that USDA is providing zero-interest loans to two rural energy providers to help business and residential customers lower energy use and costs.
“Funding commercial, farm and residential energy efficiency investments supports rural economies,” Glendenning said. “These investments save money for consumers, create jobs in the community and help energy providers better manage costs.”
USDA is awarding a $13 million Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP) loan to South Carolina’s KW Savings Co. and a $1 million loan to the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC). These are the first loans USDA is making through RESP. They are being provided through the Electric Program of USDA’s Rural Utilities Service, the successor to the Rural Electrification Administration. The Electric Program makes loans and loan guarantees in rural areas to nonprofit and cooperative associations, public bodies and other utilities to help finance the construction of electric distribution and generation facilities.
KW Savings will use the USDA loan to provide funds to seven rural electric cooperatives for South Carolina’s “Help My House” program, which supports investments in behind-the-meter technologies and building improvements to reduce consumers’ energy bills. The seven cooperatives are: Aiken Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Santee Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Little River Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Lynches River Electric Cooperative, Inc.; and Broad River Electric Cooperative, Inc.
NOPEC, a nonprofit regional council of governments, will provide energy improvement loans to small businesses in 206 rural communities across 13 counties in northeast Ohio. USDA’s funds will support NOPEC’s Savings Through Efficiency Program (STEP), which is expected to reduce energy costs for small businesses by 15 percent.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.