Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., is urging Congress to support the Rural Energy Savings Program, a bill that would create a $4.9 billion loan program for energy efficiency upgrades to rural homes and businesses. The program would be overseen by Rural Utility Services and extend zero interest loans to qualifying Rural Electric Coops who would extend credit for energy efficiency upgrades to customers at an interest rate between zero and 3%.
Lincoln says she is proud to co-sponsor the bill that will help put people back to work and help consumers save on energy costs and increase energy conservation. Bill Hanesworth, Vice President of Rheem Air Conditioning in Fort Smith, Ark., testified at a Senate Ag Subcommittee hearing Thursday saying the initiative would create jobs at a critical point in economic recovery while also providing direct benefits to consumers. It's estimated the program would create 26,000 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs through energy audits and efficiency upgrades by the end of 2012. Approximately 1.6 million households would be eligible participants in the program with an average consumer loan of $3,000.