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  • Q. My electric/telephone/water bill is more than I can pay. Do you have a program to help me?

    A. Unfortunately, we do not. Payment of bills or the level of charges is a matter between the individual and the utility. The Rural Development Utilities Programs are structured by statute to provide service to rural and small community residents at an affordable cost. Loans are made to the utility for construction of the infrastructure. The Rural Development Utilities Programs do not have programs or authority to provide grants to individuals for monthly payment of bills.

  • Q. I want to build a house out in the country where I have bought some land, but the electric cooperative/utility wants to charge $20,000-$50,000 to get a line out to me. Does The Rural Development Utilities Programs have a program to help pay for the connection?

    A. The cost for connection to a home or business is an issue between the utility and the individual concerned. Working with neighbors and the utility concerned may be the best approach to resolving the connection problem. If it can be demonstrated to the utility that there is growth potential that will level out the fixed costs, the utility may be willing to share more of the initial outlay for connection.

  • Q. The electric cooperative says I have to die to be paid my capital credits (cooperative stock dividends). Is that true?

    A. Not necessarily. The cooperative capital credit retirement policy varies by cooperative. A cooperative generally establishes a retirement cycle, normally 10-15 years, for the retirement of capital credits. Under a 15 year retirement cycle, capital credits that were assigned in 1990 would be retired in 2005. It should be noted, however, that before capital credits are retired, the cooperative management is required to insure that the cooperative has the financial ability to make such retirements. In addition to the normal retirement cycle, capital credits of a deceased member are normally paid. This payment may be a full value or at a discounted value. The policy varies by cooperative. To determine what your cooperative's policies are with respect to the retirement of capital credits you can ask the management of your cooperative or you could check the cooperative bylaws.

  • Q. I would like "broadband" service in my home/business. Do you have a grant for providing that service?

    A. Broadband service depends on the provider of telecommunications service.The Rural Development Utilities Programs loans go to providing modern, high speed telecommunications service in rural areas, but not for individual grants or loans.

  • Q. I don't have access to the clean drinking water. What can I do to obtain safe, clean, and affordable drinking water?

    A. Contact the USDA Rural Development state office. The Rural Housing or The Rural Development Utilities Programs personnel in the state office can help you or your community find the best program to meet your community's needs. The Rural Housing Service (RHS) can make home improvement loans to construct or improve wells and to provide funds to connect a house to a public water system. Low-income senior citizens may qualify for grant funds. The Rural Development Utilities Programs can assist in financing a new public water system for the community or extend water service from a neighboring community.

  • Q. My community has a lot of septic tanks that do now work. Raw sewerage often runs in the road-side ditches. Our small town is in need of a sewer system. Where can we get help?

    A. Contact the USDA Rural Development office in your state. They can help communities to first determine what they might need and then help them with the financing to construct facilities like a sewer system or even on-site systems so long as the facilities will be owned and operated by a public or quasi public body. In some cases, the solution may be to develop and then enforce rules for onsite waste disposal. The Rural Housing Service (RHS) may be able to assist homeowners with loans, or in the case of low-come senior citizens, grant funds to make needed improvements to their on-site systems.

  • Q. I want to build a wind generation system (or some other type of renewable energy source) and sell it to my local utility. Do you have a grant for building a renewable energy generation system?

    A.The Rural Development Utilities Programs can and will make renewable energy loans to rural electric providers. Individual loans and grants may be available through the Rural Business Service of the USDA Rural Development office in your state.

Last Modified:06/27/2011 
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