The following is text from the governor's weekly radio address:
"Good morning, This is Gov. Paul LePage.
My vision for Maine is one where all of our citizens prosper now and into the future. So when I see money being picked from the pockets of hardworking folks, I can’t just sit back and do nothing.
The government has been subsidizing renewable energy development at the cost of Maine ratepayers. As a result, energy prices have skyrocketed over the past decade and we can no longer expect Maine people to foot the rising bill.
I have put forth a bill, “An Act to Reduce Energy Prices for Maine Consumers,” for consideration. I hope we can focus on what is right and invest in resources that will lower electricity rates.
Mainers already pay the 12th highest electricity rates in the nation. We’re 42 percent higher than the national average.
Maine has the highest renewable energy mandate in the country and is one of only 24 states that impose it on you, the ratepayer. According to the Maine Public Utility Commission, Maine ratepayers pay an extra 7 million dollars to subsidize renewable energy projects – 7 million dollars that could be in the pockets of you, the residents of Maine.
Our administration has a sensible solution. Rather than continue the automatic increases outlined in our state’s renewable energy mandate, we think Mainers should have the choice.
Currently, I have a bill before the Legislature that gives electric consumers a choice to buy a “green power standard” offer as part of the Maine Utility Commission program.
Essentially, Mainers will have the option to select up to 100 percent from renewable energy choices rather than be subjected to a 1 percent year-to-year increase as mandated today.
Some will say we’re taking away our “green” jobs. But in fact, the majority of these green jobs are temporary. In reality, these mandates and subsidies will result in a net loss of jobs and increase your electricity costs. It simply is not feasible to create jobs in industries that depend on government welfare and it is not a sustainable way to stimulate the economy.
Mainers are paying over $300 million more per year when compared to the national average on renewable energy projects such as wind power development. There are other energy alternatives that will make Maine a more competitive state while lowering costs to those who pay the bills.
I firmly believe that consumer choice is the preferred means to achieve competitive energy costs rather than imposing mandates on Maine people. It’s time to stop robbing Peter to pay Paul.
During the upcoming week this will be an issue lawmakers will take a close look at. Weigh in and let them know you deserve the right to choose whose tab you’re picking up.
Thank you for listening. Anne and I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Pray for sun."
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