SC Rural Energy Efficiency Effort Goes National

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ A program started to help South Carolina residents make their homes more energy-efficient and lower their utility bills without putting any money down is going national. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced during a teleconference Tuesday the national adoption of the program, which allows rural electric cooperative customers to take out USDA-funded loans to make energy upgrades and pay back the loans through their monthly utility savings. Vilsack said he hopes to provide $250 million to homeowners around the country. Then-Gov. Mark Sanford signed the program into law in 2010, praising it as a measure that would extend home energy conservation to rural parts of South Carolina. On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. James Clyburn said the measure would create jobs on top of benefiting the families making the improvements.

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