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High Energy Cost Grant Program

Our Grant Programs / How to Apply

Purpose: The High Energy Cost Grant Program provides financial assistance for the improvement of energy generation, transmission, and distribution facilities servicing eligible rural communities with home energy costs that are over 275 percent of the national average.

Eligibility: To be eligible to receive a grant under this program:

  • You must be an eligible applicant (see below);
  • The grant project must serve an eligible extremely high energy cost community;
  • The proposed project must improve energy generation, transmission, or distribution facilities serving an eligible community; and
  • The administrative costs of the project must not exceed 4 percent of grant funds.

Eligible Applicant: You are eligible to apply if you are any of the following:

  • a legally-organized for-profit or nonprofit organization such as, but not limited to, a corporation, association, partnership (including a limited liability partnership), cooperative, or trust;
  • a sole proprietorship;
  • a State or local government, or any agency or instrumentality of a State or local government, including a municipal utility or public power authority;
  • an Indian tribe, a tribally-owned entity, or Alaska Native Corporation;
  • an individual or group of individuals; or
  • any of the above entities located in a U.S. Territory or other area authorized by law to participate in programs of the Rural Utilities Service or under the Rural Electrification Act.

Community Eligibility
Is My Community Eligible? Your community qualifies as an eligible extremely high energy cost community if average home energy costs in the area to be served exceed 275 percent of the national average under one or more RUS high energy cost benchmarks. Eligibility may be established using average annual household expenditures for individual fuels or for total energy, or average per unit cost for home energy.

High Energy Cost Benchmarks 2014
(Benchmarks shown are 275% of national average)
Effective on publication of 2014 NOFA

Fuel/energy source


Average annual
household expenditures

Average per unit cost



$0.33 per kilowatt-hour

Natural Gas


$33.50 per thousand cubic feet

Fuel Oil


$6.68 per gallon



$5.76 per gallon

Total household energy use


$62.12 per million BTUs

What Kinds of Energy Projects Are Eligible?  Grants under this program may be used for the acquisition, construction, installation, repair, replacement, or improvement of energy generation, transmission, or distribution facilities in communities with extremely high energy costs.
Examples of eligible activities include:

  • Acquisition, construction, replacement, repair, or improvement of:
    • Electric generation, transmission, and distribution facilities, equipment, and materials, including associated and supporting activities; land or right of way acquisition, engineering and professional expenses, permitting costs;
    • Natural gas distribution or storage facilities and associated equipment and activities serving residential customers or community use;
    • Petroleum product storage and handling facilities serving residential or community use.
    • Renewable energy facilities and systems used for on-grid or off-grid electric power generation, water or space heating, or process heating and power (renewable energy sources include solar, wind, hydropower, or biomass technologies);
    • Backup up or emergency power generation or energy storage equipment, included distributed generation installed on consumer premises
    • Implementation of energy efficiency, energy conservation measures such as weatherization of residences and community facilities, energy-efficient or energy saving appliances and devices as part of a coordinated demand management or energy conservation program.

The above examples are illustrative and are not meant to limit the projects that you may propose in your application. An activity that meets the objectives of providing or improving energy service or reducing the costs of energy services to eligible communities is an acceptable grant

See the Grant Awards for-2011 and 2012 and project summaries for projects previously funded under this program.  

Contact Information
Rural Utilities Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Stop 1560, Room 5165-South
Washington, DC 20250-1560
Telephone: (202) 720-9545 Fax: (202)690-0717


Last Modified:11/21/2014 
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