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§1709.107 Eligible communities.
(a) An eligible community under this program is one in which the average home energy costs exceed 275 percent of the national average under one or more high energy cost benchmarks established by RUS based on the latest available residential energy information from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the United States Department of Energy. RUS will update the national and high energy cost community benchmarks periodically to incorporate any changes in national home energy costs reported by EIA. RUS will publish the high energy cost community benchmark criteria in the grant announcement. Community eligibility will be determined by RUS at the time of application based on the criteria published in the applicable grant announcement.
(b) The Application must include information demonstrating that each community in the grant's proposed target area exceeds one or more of the RUS high energy cost community benchmarks to be eligible for assistance under this program. The smallest area that may be designated as a target area is a 2000 Census block
(c) The target community may include an extremely high cost to serve portion of a larger service area that does not otherwise meet the criteria, provided that the applicant can establish that the costs to serve the smaller target area exceed the benchmark.
(d) In determining the community energy costs, applicants may include additional revenue sources that lower the rates or out of pocket consumer energy costs such as rate averaging, and other Federal, State, or private cost contributions or subsidies.
(e) The applicant may propose a project that will serve high energy cost communities across a State or region, but where individual project beneficiaries will be selected at a later time. In such cases, to establish eligibility, the applicant must provide sufficient information in the application to determine that the proposed target area includes eligible high energy cost communities and proposed selection criteria to assure that grant funds are used to serve eligible communities.