Reauthorization of Rural Energy Savings Program proposed

Legislation to reauthorize the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP) has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. It would provide no-interest loans to rural utilities to help communities access cost-effective energy upgrades for homes and businesses.

The legislation by Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Peter Welch, D-VT, would allow rural utilities to finance projects to electrify household heating and cooling, increase energy efficiency, and transition to renewable energy.

This financing is most often used to support air sealing, insulation, new space conditioning systems, and new water heaters.

The bill would both reauthorize RESP and improve the program to help rural utilities maximize the program’s benefits for customers, by providing limited grant funding to rural utilities to offset administrative and program costs. It would extend the maximum repayment term for loans to consumers to up to 20 years, and expand eligibility for all households within a rural utility’s service territory.

The senators said that Reps. Jim Clyburn, D-SC and Nikki Budzinski, R-IL, would introduce the legislation in the House.

Murkowski said that high energy costs are hurting Alaskan families, especially in rural communities, and that more must be done to make energy more affordable and accessible statewide.


“This bipartisan bill aims to provide Alaskans and Alaskan utilities with more opportunities to invest in cleaner, more resilient energy generation, and ultimately, lower the financial impacts that come from living in such a geographically unique state,” she said.