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Issues: RUS Funding

The small federal investment in the Rural Utilities Service Electric Loan Program over the years, coupled with strong management of the cooperative businesses, helps electric cooperatives keep the 16,000 bulk transmission line miles and more than 2.4 million miles (or 43 percent) of the nation's distribution line miles that make up the rural electric infrastructure strong and viable. The President's Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2016 recommended $6 billion for the RUS Electric Loan program, with restrictions on how these resources can be used. NRECA urges Congress to maintain an adequate loan level for the RUS Electric Loan Program and reject further restrictions on the purposes for which electric cooperatives may borrow from RUS.

Learn More

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.