Powering Sustainable Rural Communities
Providing reliable, affordable electricity is essential to sustaining the economic well-being and quality of life for all of the nation's rural residents. The Electric Program provides leadership and capital to maintain, expand, upgrade, and modernize America's vast rural electric infrastructure. Under the authority of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, the Electric Program makes direct loans and loan guarantees (FFB), as well as grants and other energy project financing to electric utilities (wholesale and retail providers of electricity) that serve customers in rural areas.
The loans and loan guarantees finance the construction of electric distribution, transmission, and generation facilities, including system improvements and replacement required to furnish and improve electric service in rural areas, as well as demand side management, energy efficiency and conservation programs, and on-grid and off-grid renewable energy systems. Loans are made to cooperatives as well as to corporations, states, territories and subdivisions and agencies such as municipalities, people's utility districts, and nonprofit, limited-dividend, or mutual associations that provide retail electric service needs to rural areas or supply the power needs of distribution borrowers in rural areas.
RUS also provides a loan program under section 313A of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as amended (7 U.S.C. § 940c-1) entitled Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued for Utility Infrastructure Loans. The proceeds of the guaranteed bonds or notes are used to make utility infrastructure loans, or refinance bonds or notes issued for those purposes, to a borrower that has at any time received, or is eligible to receive, a loan under this Act. For additional details, see the Code of Federal Regulations 7 CFR 1720
RUS published Notice of Solicitation for Applications (NOSA) (published 5/18/2020). More information go to the Federal Register.
It’s with great pleasure that the RUS can announce one of our newest loan programs. The Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP) provides loans to entities that agree to make affordable loans to help consumers implement cost-effective, energy efficiency measures. RESP will help lower energy bills for rural families and businesses and will reduce barriers to investment in energy efficiency projects or activities.
The RUS Electric Program helps nearly 700 borrowers in 46 states finance safe, modern, and efficient infrastructure. The resulting loan portfolio of approximately $46 billion is managed by the Electric Program.
RUS-financed electrical systems provide service to more than 90 percent of the Nation’s counties that are identified as suffering from persistent poverty, out-migration, or other economic hardships. The Electric Program also provides financial assistance through High Energy Cost Grants to rural communities with extremely high energy costs to acquire, construct, extend, upgrade, and otherwise improve energy generation, transmission, or distribution facilities.
To apply for Electric Infrastructure Loan & Loan Guarantee for a Distribution Loan visit RD Apply, our newly developed, optional online application system.
Contact: Christopher McLean, Assistant Administrator, Electric Program at (202) 720-9545, James Elliott, Assistant Administrator, Electric Program at (202) 720-9546 or Jonathan Claffey, Policy Advisor at (202) 720-9545
Leveraging Smart Grid Investments
RUS continues to work to build infrastructure in rural areas, and funding Smart Grid investments is part of that effort.
Mobilizing Capital into Rural America
Track our progress in loan making throughout the fiscal year by looking at the latest BoxScore. This document displays details of the various Electric Program loan offerings.
Our Functional Structure is Focused on Customer Service
The RUS Electric Program is comprised of three offices: the Office of Loan Origination and Approval (OLOA), the Office of Portfolio Management and Risk Assessment (OPMRA), and the Office of Customer Service and Technical Assistance (OCSTA).
Electric Program Customer Service can be reached at (202) 720-1979 or E-Mail: ElectricProgramCustomerService@rd.usda.gov
Where a Loan Application Starts, is Completed and Submitted
OLOA is the primary contact for all electric borrowers and consists of a Financial Operations Branch, an Engineering Branch, and three teams of General Field Representatives (GFRs). The GFRs assist the Borrower with the development of loan applications, support materials, and the submission of loan applications (see paragraph below). The Financial Operations and Engineering Branches within OLOA provide guidance to borrowers for all financial and operational activities, as well as assistance with the development and approval of construction work plans and environmental clearance. Activities within OLOA continue through loan approval and the obligation of loan funds.
Bringing Customer Service To Our Borrowers
The Electric Program maintains a staff of General Field Representatives (GFRs) stationed around the country. GFRs are an integral part of our outreach delivery system that and a vital component of the program since its inception. GFRs meet regularly with borrowers at the borrowers’ locations. They assist with developing loan applications, discuss matters of interest to borrowers, and provide assistance as requested - all on a one-to-one basis. Field accountants are also available to electric borrowers to provide advice and assistance on accounting issues.
GFRs serve as the local information conduit for the borrowers and headquarters staff. There is a tremendous amount of activity at the state and federal level related to the electric industry. The GFRs keep borrowers current on issues that profoundly impact their business. GFRs play a critical role in the flow of information to electric borrowers. This two-way flow of information enhances our continuing relationship with the borrower and improves the effectiveness of our outreach efforts.
Post Loan Services Ensures Loan Funds are Advanced; Financial and Operational Performance Supports the Borrowers’ Ability to Repay
OPMRA consists of three branches: a Financial Operations Branch, an Engineering Branch, and a Loan Monitoring and Forecasting Branch. The Financial Operations Branch and Engineering Branch provide the necessary post-loan services to the loans and grants made by the Electric Program. The Loan Monitoring and Forecasting Branch review financial and operational performance to assess and mitigate any potential risks to Government securities.
Link to available Prepayment Closing Dates.
Being Responsive to Market Needs and Staying Ahead of Industry Trends
OCSTA consists of a Policy and Outreach Branch (POB) and an Engineering Standards Branch. The Policy and Outreach Branch is involved in the review of agency policies, revising them as needed, and communicating them to our customers. POB also plans and coordinates outreach activities with borrowers, associations and other stakeholders of the Electric Program. Outreach efforts provide valuable opportunities for customer engagement and provides important and timely feedback for the Electric Program to update its products and services. The Engineering Standards Branch develops and maintains engineering bulletins, regulations, and related activities. Technological services provided by this Branch relate to the design, construction, operation and maintenance of rural electric distribution and transmission lines and their materials. Standards and specifications enable RUS borrowers to build the most efficient and affordable infrastructure to deliver electricity to rural America.
Electric Program Links:
- RD Apply
- Loan Refinancing
- Electric Program Streamlining
- Data Collection System (DCS) Information Page
- Interest Rates
- Regulations and Guidelines
- Electric Forms
- Electric Sample Documents
- Electric Program Engineering & Materials
- Electric Program Contacts
- RUS Contacts (Telecommunications, Water & Environmental)
- Electric Program General Field Representatives (GFRs)
Rural Electrification Video:
- The Battle of RECs: Celebrating 80 Years of Rural Electrification
- Vintage USDA/REA Promo – Bob Marshall Comes Home
- Rural Electrification: "Singing Wires" circa 1951 Farm Journal
- “Power and the Land”