The House Agriculture Committee will mark up legislation to create a loan program that will help co-op members make energy efficiency improvements. The bill, H.R. 4785, was inspired by an idea from South Carolina’s electric cooperatives. Statewide CEO Mike Couick will be in Washington on Wednesday to attend the committee’s meeting.
The bill will establish the $4.9 billion Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP)–allowing co-op members to borrow money for energy efficiency upgrades with interest of no more than three percent. Members can then use a portion of the savings from electric bills to repay the loans. The House bill is sponsored by Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and a bi-partisan group of 39 members. A companion bill was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Lindsey Graham. Though the framework of the bill received no opposition in subcommittee, several Republicans questioned how to offset the bill’s $995 million in administrative costs.
The Conservation Voters of South Carolina recently lauded Couick and South Carolina’s electric cooperatives for their work to pass companion state legislation in support of RESP.