Program Description

The USDA through the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) provides grant assistance for energy facilities, including renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements, serving extremely high energy cost communities. This program was established in 2000 to provide assistance for communities most challenged by extremely high energy costs, defined by statute as average annual residential home energy expenditures that are 275 percent or more of the national average.

The purpose of this program is to provide financial assistance for a broad range of energy facilities, equipment and related activities to offset the impacts of extremely high home energy costs on eligible communities. The grants help communities provide basic energy needs. Grant funds may not be used to pay utility bills or to purchase fuel. No funding is available for education and outreach efforts except those associated with project-funded energy facilities, or upgrades. Grant projects under this program must provide community benefits and not be for the primary benefit of an individual applicant, household, or business.

General Program Requirements

Eligible applicants are a legally-organized for-profit or nonprofit organization such as, but not limited to, a corporation, association, partnership (including a limited liability partnership), cooperative, or trust; a sole proprietorship; a State or local government, or any agency or instrumentality of a State or local government, including a municipal utility or public power authority; an Indian tribe: a tribally-owned entity, and/or Alaska Native Corporation; an individual or group of individuals applying on behalf of unincorporated community associations, and not for the primary benefit of a single household or business (award subjected to special conditions); or any of the above entities located in a U.S. Territory or other area authorized by law to participate in programs of the Rural Utilities Service or under the Rural Electrification Act.

All applicants must demonstrate the legal authority and capacity to enter into a binding grant agreement with the Federal Government and to carry out the proposed grant funded project according to its terms to be an eligible applicant. The application must include information and/or documentation supporting your eligibility, legal existence, and capacity to enter into a grant agreement.

All proposed grant projects must provide community benefits and not be for the primary benefit of the individual applicant or and individual household.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.

Application Process

You must submit a grant application package prepared according to the directions contained in the Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) to apply for a grant under this program. You must submit a complete application package consisting of three sets: one complete application marked "Original" with original signatures signed in ink on all forms and certifications and two complete copies marked "Copy 1" and "Copy 2". All required forms must be included in Appendix B. Grant applications may be submitted on paper directly to the Electric Programs at the address shown below or electronically through (

Paper application packages must be postmarked and mailed through the United States Postal Service or shipped through an overnight commercial delivery service by the application deadline, or hand delivered to the Electric Programs headquarters in Washington, DC. The Agency will accept all applications postmarked or delivered to us by this deadline. Late applications will not be considered.

Electronic Applications must be submitted to according to the instructions on that website. Late or incomplete electronic applications though will not be accepted by USDA.

Program Contact Information

High Energy Cost Grants Program

Additional Information

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number10.859
Current Method of Tribal EligibilityProgram not specific to American Indians and Alaska Natives, but they are eligible
Can the funding from the program be renewedNo
Entities Eligible for Grant AssistanceFederally Recognized Tribes and Tribal Organizations, Other Tribal and Native Entities, Non-Tribal Entities
Matching Funds RequiredNo
Number of People Served by this Program (Approximate)12 states, two U.S. territories
Length of Programup to 3 years
Recurring Base Funding for TribesNo
Do Tribes compete with other entities for funding from the program?Program may provide a priority to projects for substantially underserved Trust Areas. Tribes compete with: Tribal organizations, Other native organizations, State recognized tribes, Native Hawaiian entities, Other Native American Pacific Islander entities, States, U.S. Territories, U.S. local governments, Private for-profit entities, Private non-profit entities, Other native organizations

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