Announcement of Loan Applications Procedures and Deadlines for the Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP); Update

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 84 (Wednesday, May 1, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 84 (Wednesday, May 1, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 18475-18476]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-08796]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Rural Utilities Service
Announcement of Loan Applications Procedures and Deadlines for
the Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP); Update
AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.
ACTION: Notice.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency
of the United States Department of Agriculture, published a Notice of
Funding Availability (NOFA) in the Federal Register on Monday, August
6, 2018 (83 FR 38273) announcing funding availability, soliciting
letters of intent for loan applications, outlining the application
process for those loans, and setting forth deadlines for applications
from eligible entities under the Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP).
Since the publication of the NOFA, the Agriculture Improvement Act of
2018 (2018 Farm Bill) became law on December 20, 2018, and included
statutory changes affecting RESP. The purpose of this notice is to
inform the public of changes made to RESP pursuant to section 6303 of
the Farm Bill.
DATES: Effective May 1, 2019 and remaining in effect until further
notice or publication of a regulation.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Coates, Engineering Branch,
Office of Loan Origination and Approval, 1400 Independence Avenue SW,
Stop 1567, (Room 0221), Washington, DC 20250-1567. Telephone: (202)
260-5415. Email: [email protected].
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: RUS is amending the funding availability and
solicited letters of intent for loan applications under RESP in the
Federal Register on Monday, August 6, 2018 (83 FR 38273). Since the
publication of the NOFA, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, (2018
Farm Bill) became law (Pub. L. 115-334) which included statutory
changes to the RESP statute (7 U.S.C. 8107a). The following changes
became effective on the date of enactment of the Agriculture
Improvement Act of 2018 (December 20, 2018):
    1. Cost-effective on-or off grid renewable energy is added to the
list of eligible energy efficiency measures;
    2. cost-effective storage systems is added to the list of eligible
energy efficiency measures;
    3. the maximum permitted interest rate that can be charged by a
borrower
[[Page 18476]]
to a qualified consumer is raised from 3% to 5%; and
    4. recurring service bills were added as approved methods of
repayment of RESP loans by Qualified consumers to RESP borrowers (the
previous statutory language only allowed repayment through the electric
service bill).
    5. Additionally, the 2018 Farm Bill included new legislative
language that directs the Agency not to consider any debt incurred by a
borrower under this program in the calculation of the debt-equity ratio
of the borrower for purposes of eligibility for loans under the Rural
Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 901 et seq.).
    All new and pending RESP letters of intent as well as all new and
pending RESP loan applications will be reviewed consistent with the new
statutory provisions. Requests to modify previously approved RESP loan
agreements consistent with the new statutory provisions and other
relevant law will be considered on a case-by-case basis where RESP
funds have not been advanced.
    Applicants may amend their application and reapply if they were
denied under the existing NOFA of August 6, 2018 (83 FR 38273) or not
invited to proceed in the application process if the new statutory
provisions apply to their energy efficiency proposal. Such amendments
will not interrupt continued acceptance of applications. The current
NOFA provided for a first come, first served process, and this process
will continue, and any reapplications will move into line with the
reapplication date.
    In the Federal Register on August 6, 2018 (83 FR 38273) make the
following correction:
Summary of Changes
    1. On page 38275, in the second column, under section A. Program
Description, revise the fourth sentence to read as follows:
    Loans made by RESP borrowers under this program may be repaid
through charges added to the Qualified consumer's recurring service
bill for the property or properties for, or at which, energy
efficiencies are or will be implemented.
    2. On page 38279, in the second column, under d. EE Program
Compliance, second paragraph, revise the second sentence to read as
follows:
    Nonetheless, under no circumstances will the RESP borrower be able
to charge more than 5 percent interest rate to its customers.
    3. On page 38279, in the second column, under section d. EE Program
Compliance, revise the first sentence in the third paragraph to read as
follows:
    Qualified consumers must ordinarily repay their loans to the RESP
borrower through charges added by the RESP borrower to the consumer's
recurring service bill associated with the property where the energy
efficiency measures are or will be implemented.
    4. On page 38280, in the second column, under the B. Variable
frequency drive section, revise (ix) to read as follows:
    Efficient cost-effective on- or off-grid renewable energy systems
if consistent with the statutory purpose of RESP.
    5. On page 38280, in the second column, under B. Variable frequency
drive section, revise (x) to read as follows:
    Efficient cost-effective energy storage systems if permanently
installed to reduce the energy cost or usage of small businesses and
families within a rural area.
Chad Rupe,
Acting Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-08796 Filed 4-30-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE P