In the 1930’s the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was formed to help communities form electric cooperatives to build electric infrastructure to the rural areas that went unserved due to the lack of profitability and substantial risk for traditional utilities of the day. REA provided government backed loans to these cooperatives to build the necessary infrastructure. Because of this successful program, electric cooperatives continue to thrive today. Electric co-ops operate without motive for profit, they are owned and governed by the members they serve, and they continue to have access to these same loans.
Today, REA is now a department of the United States Department of Agriculture called the Rural Utilities Service (USDA-RUS). Kenergy continues to borrow from the USDA-RUS to help improve and replace infrastructure and most recently, to install the fiber infrastructure needed to serve rural western Kentucky. Last week, Kenergy invited USDA-RUS Administrator Andy Berke and Assistant Administrator Chris McLean to Kentucky to visit about their new programs to help us continue to improve service to our members.