Paul lepage NEWAUGUSTA – Governor Paul LePage introduced legislation which focuses on reducing the cost of energy for Mainers today. This legislation will focus on providing Mainers more options for energy, and it also has an emphasis on reducing the costs for Maine ratepayers.

“One of the largest inhibitors, if not the biggest obstacle to job creation is Maine’s high energy costs,” said Governor LePage. “The number one focus of my administration is jobs, and if we want economic prosperity in Maine, we need to focus on reducing the cost of electricity and energy for Maine’s job creators,” continued the Governor.

The four pieces of legislation are:

An Act to Lower the Price of Electricity for Maine Consumers: This bill would remove the 100 megawatt cap for qualifying renewable generation, specifically hydro power. Wind generation can already qualify if greater than 100 MW. This re-enforces the policy that long term contracts for electricity must place reducing electric prices as a top priority.

An Act to Provide Transparency in Electricity Pricing for Maine Ratepayers: This bill requires the Maine Public Utilities Committee and the Office of the Public Advocate to submit budgets based on a “zero-based budget approach.” It also requires the MPUC and OPA websites to show the cost of various fees and charges on electricity, expressed as a total annual cost. Electric transmission and delivery utilities would also have to provide information on electric bills as to the various fees and charges on electric billsexpressed as total annual cost.

An Act to Improve Efficiency Maine Trust Programs To Reduce Heating Costs and Provide Energy Efficient Heating Options for Maine’s Consumers: The existing voluntary contribution Renewable Resource Fund is expanded to also allow voluntary contributions to Energy Efficiency which can be used by the Efficiency Maine Trust for efficiency programs. The bill also establishes a home heating equipment rebate program of 5% for qualified systems using existing funds and provides new opportunities for consumers to access efficient alternative energy systems. Under this legislation, the Efficiency Maine Trust would submit a budget for approval by the Legislature.

An Act To Change the Name of the Governors’ Office of Energy Independence and Security:The name of the office would change to the “Governor’s Energy Office,” and would utilize Efficiency Maine Trust funds to support the office, which would eliminate the position in the Office of the Public Advocate, and reduce the assessment on utilities, reducing the cost to Maine ratepayers.

“My energy policy will focus on all forms of energy, providing Mainers the freedom to choose which sources to buy from,” said Governor LePage. “I do not support Augusta being in the business of increasing costs of Maine people to pad the pockets of special interest groups. We need to empower Maine people to take control of their energy fate,” continued the Governor.

The goal of these legislative proposals is to focus on providing energy options for Maine people, reducing the cost, and bringing transparency to electricity bills.

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