Tell Congress: Include Financial Flexibility for Co-ops in COVID Relief Package!
As the pandemic stretches on, Congress is putting the finishing touches on another COVID-19 relief package. With this bill entering the final drafting stages, it’s important that we work together and encourage lawmakers to include key provisions for electric co-ops, consumer-members, and our communities.
Significant issues that require swift congressional action include:
- Supporting consumer-members who are struggling to pay their electric bills in the midst of the pandemic. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 47 million Americans have filed for unemployment. Across the nation, electric co-ops have implemented programs to help their consumer-members who are struggling because of the current economic crisis. While these programs can help consumers manage their bills, many are not in a healthy financial position. Direct financial support from Congress is needed.
- Providing financial flexibility to co-ops and communities by allowing existing RUS debt to be refinanced without penalty. The average co-op with typical RUS debt could save $2 million per year in interest payments if they were allowed to take advantage of current low interest rates. Electric co-ops can use this savings to help communities recover from the pandemic. Congress should minimize COVID-19 impacts on electric cooperatives by including H.R. 7483/S. 4152, The Flexible Financing for Rural America Act, in the next COVID relief bill. The bipartisan legislation that will allow electric co-ops to refinance existing RUS loans without penalty.