|Not-for-profit electric cooperatives are responding to COVID-19 by taking steps to protect employees, maintain reliable and affordable services, and support their communities. Electric cooperatives are built by, and belong to, the communities they serve. That community ownership and focus drives co-ops as they respond to evolving COVID-19 challenges and local concerns.
NRECA urges policymakers to minimize COVID-19 threats to electric cooperatives by providing a safety net to co-ops and the communities they serve. Specifically, Congress should:
- Provide federal funds to address looming operational shortfalls for electric co-ops.
- Allow electric cooperatives to take advantage of unprecedented low interest rates to reprice Rural Utilities Services (RUS) debt without penalty.
- Increase the amount of lending available under the RUS Guaranteed Underwriter Program.
- Provide dedicated funding to allow small broadband providers to continue serving families and small businesses that are unable to pay their internet bill during the pandemic.
- Promote investment in expanded broadband access in the areas of rural America that lack internet access.
- Direct FEMA to swiftly provide promised funding to co-ops that have restored their electric systems devastated by past disasters.
NRECA HEROES Act Letter to Congressional Leadership
NRECA COVID Phase 4 Letter to Congressional Leadership
Financial Impact of Load Loss and Unpaid Bills on Electric Cooperatives
Estimated 2.5 Million of the Jobs Most at Risk from COVID-19 Economic Impacts are in Co-op Areas
Issue Fact Sheets
Issue – RUS Loan Repricing:
- Members of the Senate and House of Representatives have introduced the Flexible Financing for Rural America Act of 2020 to reprice electric cooperative loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service.
- Electric co-ops could realize $10.1 billion in net present value (NPV) savings from repricing $42 billion in RUS loans.
- Repricing RUS loans without penalty for more than 500 participating electric co-ops would help manage consumer electric bills during this difficult economic period.
- We ask that Congress include the RUS repricing bill in the next COVID relief package to provide co-ops with additional financial security.
- Borrowers in the broadband business could use savings from reduced interest payments to upgrade and extend networks to ensure every rural American has access to the robust broadband connectivity that is now more important than ever.
Click here for more information.
RUS Repricing Fact Sheet
Flexible Financing for Rural America Act of 2020 Letter to Leadership