Financing from the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) remains an essential component of the co-op utility sector’s loan portfolio. The small federal investment in the RUS electric loan programs, coupled with strong management by the cooperative businesses, keeps the electric cooperative infrastructure strong and viable today.
Although some cooperatives have seen a portion of their service territories transformed into urban areas, for the most part electric co-ops are the sole providers serving far-flung, sparsely populated areas with below-average income levels. For these reasons, the RUS mission for financing new and maintaining existing electric infrastructure in rural America must be maintained.
Where We Stand
- NRECA wants Congress to ensure that its consumers continue to have access to safe, reliable, and at-cost supplies of power from electric cooperative utilities by fully funding the RUS electric loan program.
- As in many industries, the federal government provides assistance to each sector of the utility business. Investor-owned utilities get tax breaks, municipals have access to tax-exempt financing and some electric cooperatives receive loans through the RUS program.