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Rep. Crawford Introduces Legislation to Protect Rural Utilities

Rep. Crawford Introduces Legislation to Protect Rural Utilities


Washington -- Today, Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01) along with Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) introduced H.R. 1291, the Reinforcing Utility Restoration After Losses (RURAL) Act. This legislation gives the USDA authority to establish a bridge loan program for rural utility companies experiencing losses in the wake of federally-declared emergencies. Companies would have access to a line of credit for low-interest loans to cover qualified losses, with partial loan forgiveness available in certain circumstances. The RURAL Act will provide a lifeline to rural utilities experiencing financial losses due to emergencies and ensure they are not forced to stop critical services in rural America.

“Rural areas already experience unique daily challenges and fewer resources,” said Crawford. “With the recent extreme temperatures and increase in power outages due to unprecedented demand, we witnessed the devastation that occurs when communities cannot access critical utility services. We must assist utility providers as they work tirelessly to maintain continuity for their customers. The RURAL Act ensures that rural Americans are not without vital resources and rural service providers are bolstered during a federal emergency.”

“Over the past few weeks, both utility companies and communities across the midwestern and southwestern areas of the United States experienced unprecedented challenges and hardships due to severe winter weather,” said Cole. “In response, it is important to ensure utility companies in rural areas do not succumb to their losses and families are not left without power. I am proud to join in introducing this critical legislation that would offer a needed line of credit to power companies facing extreme losses so they may continue serving their customers.”