Grants for Utilities

Government grants for utilities are assistance given by the Federal government for projects that will benefit high energy cost communities. This program covers projects that will provide or improve energy generation, energy transmission, and energy distribution facilities that will serve eligible communities.

The Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural Communities Federal Grant is an unrestricted grant. However, beneficiaries must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • The applicant must be doing business in the United States, or in a U.S. Territory or Possession and other areas that are authorized to take part in the programs carried out by the Rural Utilities Service, or in the Rural Electrification Act of 193, as amended.
  • The project to be undertaken as a result of the grant must benefit a community that is subject to extremely high cost of energy. The project must not for the sole benefit only of a household or a business.
  • The project to be undertaken as a result of the grant must improve or provide for the generation, transmission, and distribution facilities of energy in the target communities.
  • The grantee may spend not more than four percent of the grant funds for planning the administrative costs that are not related directly to the actual grant project.

In addition to the above-mentioned eligibility requirements, applicants for government grants for utilities must be able to prove that the target community of the grant will qualify under the “extremely high energy cost” requirement for communities under the following eligibility benchmarks that is set to be 275 percent of the average per units costs of home energy or average annual expenditures by household for fuel or for total energy as determined by the U.S. Department of Energy:

  1. Electricity – $0.264 for each kilowatt hour
  2. Natural gas – $30.30 for every thousand cubic feet
  3. Fuel oil – $5.54 for each gallon
  4. LPG/propane -$5.10 for each gallon
  5. Total Household energy – $51.62 for each million BTUs

The government for grants for utilities under the Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural Communities Federal Grant has a funding of $15.5 million. The program expects to give a total of 20 grants for projects that will benefit the extremely high cost of energy in the target communities. Each grant will be given a funding ranging from the minimum of $75,000 to a ceiling of $5 million. The program does not require the grantee to have a cost sharing or to comply with a matching requirement.

Additional information about the full grant announcement may be obtained from http://www.usda.gov/rus/electric/hecgp/overview.htm. Grant announcement contact is Karen Larsen, Management Analyst, Phone 207-720-8787 or Karen.Larsen@wdc.usda.gov.

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