Rural Missouri - August 2021 - 4

RM | COOPERATION
photo by Zach Smith
U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler visits with Sac Osage Electric directors before speaking at the co-op's broadband announcement. Her Flexible Financing for
Rural America Act could save electric co-ops $10 billion nationwide by letting them refi nance their loans with the Rural Utilities Service.
Flexible financing
Hartzler bill would save co-ops billions on RUS mortgages
M
any homeowners have refi nanced to cut
interest rates on their home mortgages
to the lowest levels in history. If a bill
introduced by U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler
passes, electric co-ops also will realize tremendous
savings on the loans they have through the Rural
Utilities Service. The Flexible Financing for Rural
America Act would allow electric co-ops to re-price
their RUS loans at today's low interest rates -
which they can't do now without being hit with
huge prepayment penalties.
" This will result in saving millions of dollars per
year on an electric co-op's debt payments that they
can turn around and reinvest in rural broadband
or upgrading their aging infrastructure, " says the
representative, a member of Osage Valley Electric
Cooperative. " It makes sense to allow them to take
advantage of these lower interest rates and recoup
money they may have lost during the pandemic. "
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
estimates the legislation could save co-ops
nationwide more than $10 billion. In May the
4th District representative was on hand when
Osage Valley and Sac Osage electric cooperatives
4 RURAL MISSOURI | AUGUST 2021
announced the state's latest co-op internet projects,
which will bring high-speed service to a big chunk
of southwest Missouri.
" It was a great day in Missouri, " she says. " I have
been advocating both in Washington and back at
home for more high-speed internet and encouraging
electric cooperatives to take advantage of the
programs that we have coming out of Washington
so that more people can access high-speed internet.
It's just going to be a game changer to our families. "
She adds that other measures she has supported
led to signifi cant funding that is helping rural
people bridge the digital divide, citing the FCC's
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund that pumped $346
million into the effort, USDA's $94.5 million grants
and loans to fi ve Missouri providers and another
$3.8 million from the CARES Act.
" COVID-19 has presented ongoing challenges for
members of Missouri's electric co-ops, " says Caleb
Jones, CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric
Cooperatives. " We are grateful to Rep. Hartzler for
championing this legislation, which could save Missouri
co-ops millions annually as they continue to
support the communities they serve. "

Rural Missouri - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - August 2021

Rural Missouri - August 2021 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - August 2021 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - August 2021 - 3
Rural Missouri - August 2021 - 4
Rural Missouri - August 2021 - 5
Rural Missouri - August 2021 - 6
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Rural Missouri - August 2021 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - August 2021 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202108
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201401
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201312
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201311
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201301
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201212
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201211
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201210
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201209
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