Farm Rewiring Program

Safety First! Dairy Farm Rewiring Grant & Loan Program

photo for farm rewiring programWisconsin’s electric cooperatives have developed a farm rewiring program entitled, “Safety First!” The purpose is to promote electrical safety and to assist dairy farmers with the cost of electrical rewiring projects.

• A grant/loan combination is available up to $30,000.
• Grants are available for 20% of the total project cost, or up to $6,000 from the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association.
• Loans are available for 80% of the total project cost, or up to $24,000 from N.E.W. Credit Union in Oconto Falls.
• Take up to 5 years to repay loan.
• 3% interest applies on the loan.

• Dairy farms only (Goats, Sheep and Cattle)
• Existing farmsteads
• Credit eligibility requirements
• Service agreement for length of loan
• Pre-project inspection and estimate
• Post-project inspection

How is the grant portion of the program funded?
Electric Cooperatives will contribute annually toward the grant money.

What are the credit eligibility requirements?
You must be in good credit standing with Oconto Electric Cooperative and must be approved for eligibility through N.E.W. Credit Union (NEW CU).

Will I have to sign a service agreement?
Yes. You must sign an agreement stating your intention to purchase electricity from Oconto Electric Cooperative (OEC) for the duration of the loan.

Can I apply for a grant and not a loan?
Yes. 20% of the total cost of the project, up to $6,000, is available without applying for a loan.

Can I get a loan for wiring a new barn?
No. Since new facilities must be wired according to code, only existing structures are eligible for a grant/loan.

Will funds be available to rewire my house as well as the barn?
Yes, but only if the service for the barn is served from the main panel in the house.

Will funds be available for partial rewiring projects on the farm?

If an approved state-certified inspector recommends a partial project to meet safety standards and OEC agrees there is a need to resolve safety concerns, partial projects may be approved. Pre- and post-inspections are required for all partial projects.

Who will do the electrical work?
The work must be completed by or under the direction of a licensed Master Electrician who has completed the Farm Rewiring Certification.

Will there be a lien on my property?
Yes. The property serves as collateral for the loan.

What expenses are covered under the grant and/or loan?
Labor and materials needed to rewire the farm are covered. Isolation transformers, rings of life, and other systems not defined in the National Electric Code are not eligible expenses under this program.

How will the loan portion of the program be repaid?
Monthly loan payments will be made to NEW CU in Oconto Falls.

Are there any fees associated with the loan?
Yes. Pre-and post-inspections by a certified electrical inspector are required for the loan. However, OEC will pay for the inspections. You will be responsible for the fee associated with filing the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) form. OEC and/or NEW CU will process the form and fee.

Can I pay the loan off early without penalty?

What happens if I default on my loan?
If you default on your loan, N.E.W. Credit Union will subject you to standard collection procedures. If the loan remains unpaid, OEC may transfer the unpaid loan balance to your electric bill, subjecting your electric service to disconnection if the loan remains unpaid.

How do I apply?
Contact OEC to request participation in the program. OEC will send you NEW CU’s loan application materials along with other program information. Please complete the forms provided and return them to OEC, who will then forward information to NEW CU. The loan application will be reviewed jointly by OEC and NEW CU because OEC is guaranteeing the loan, thus making possible the low interest rate of 3%. You will be notified of either approval or denial of the loan application.

What happens next?
Please have your certified master electrician discuss your project with OEC personnel (possibly meeting at your farm) to determine the extent of the project and request your master electrician to provide a written estimate of the work to be completed. Your electrician then submits a wiring affidavit to OEC and the work begins.

What happens after the rewiring is completed?
Notify OEC that the project is completed. A post-inspection with a state certified electrical inspector is scheduled by OEC and your electrician. The inspector will submit documentation to OEC stating the project was completed according to the National Electric Code. You will submit payment for the UCC filing fee and a copy of your electrician’s invoice. OEC will request a check from the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association for the grant portion of your project, made payable to your electrician. Lastly, the loan through NEW CU is finalized to cover the remaining costs of the project.