In a cold winter, Maine household budgets buckle under growing energy burden

Skyrocketing prices for electricity, heating oil and gasoline are hitting Mainers especially hard when the mercury falls.

By Tux Turkel Staff Writer


The combined cost of household energy in Maine this winter – electricity, heating fuel and gasoline – is soaring to levels not seen since at least 2014.

This total energy burden will weigh heavily on Mainers in 2022, as they cope with bills that are starting to pile up after the coldest January since 2009.....................

..............."Standard offer” electricity supply rates, which most Mainers pay, are up more than 80 percent from 2021, adding at least $30 a month to an average bill for most Maine homes. But the increase can be much more for people who use electricity for heating....................

............The coldest January in 13 years has made matters worse. On six days last month, the temperature in Portland fell to zero or below, according to the National Weather Service.

................... Juggling heat sources to take advantage of shifting prices is a familiar strategy for Mainers — sort of a Down East version of energy arbitrage. This winter, Patty Moody-D’Angelo and her husband decided to rely more on their heat pump and less on the oil boiler, pellet stove or propane-fired fireplace in their 22-year-old West Gardiner home.

They were shocked last month when they got a $600 electric bill, up from $265 last January.

“I’m pretty frustrated,” said Moody-D’Angelo, a retired state worker. “We spent money to make sure we were energy-efficient. We thought we were doing all the right things.”.......................


Ultimately, policymakers also may decide to take a fresh look at how the state’s standard offer supply bidding is structured.

Half of New England’s power is generated by natural gas, and high global market prices pushed up standard offer bids last fall. Harwood, Maine’s public advocate, called the jump “unacceptable” and said the bid process should be redesigned with an eye toward reducing volatility and ensuring more stable rates.

“We shouldn’t be at the mercy of the fossil fuel industry when gas prices go through the roof,” he said.....................

..............Residents who toggle between multiple heat sources also may want to compare annual heating costs with an online heat-unit calculator offered by Efficiency Maine. It compares the relative cost of each option, when a heating unit’s efficiency and fuel prices are factored in.

The latest calculations show that a cordwood stove is the cheapest heat source, followed by a wood-pellet stove and a ductless heat pump. Next are boilers burning natural gas, then oil, then propane. Finally, electric baseboards. The difference is staggering – $1,169 for firewood compared to $5,282 for electric baseboards......................

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Comment by Willem Post on February 25, 2022 at 6:23am

It would be better to allocate resources to become much more energy and resource efficient, and as a result use less energy and resources, and as a result have less CO2 emissions and other emissions relating to energy and digging up resources.

However, certain folks in the US government are not so interested in the environment.

Russia-hating, extremists in the US State Department and US Congress have been using NATO to pressure first the USSR, then Russia.
They have been deluding impoverished, corrupt Ukraine with future membership in the EU and NATO, since 1990
They have been weaponizing Ukraine since the US-instigated Color Revolution/coup d’etat in 2014
Millions of Russian-speaking Ukrainians, mostly in East Ukraine, decided not to support the Kiev government.
The US instigated Ukraine not to implement the Minsk 2 agreements, to keep the pot boiling
The US and UK supplied huge quantities of defensive and offensive weapons, plus military training personnel to Ukraine, so it could “defend itself”
Russia made certain demands regarding:
1) NATO encroachments beyond East Germany starting in 1997 (after pledging not to do so in 1990)
2) The indivisibility of Russian and European security.
The US/UK-led NATO rejected the demands, and offered to talk about important, albeit peripheral issues.
Ukraine hot-heads floated the idea of Ukraine having an “Iron Dome” similar to Israel, and reacquiring nuclear weapons
Russia finally reacted. The result is a shooting war in Ukraine.
The EU is partially at fault, as it did not assert itself regarding the Kiev coup d’etat in 2014
The EU decided to become an aider and abettor of US policy goals regarding Ukraine in 2014, and onwards
The EU ended up being maneuvered into its present predicament, which is at variance with EU vital interests.


Comment by Willem Post on February 22, 2022 at 8:35am

Vote out the idiot RE incumbents everywhere and at all levels.



Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on February 21, 2022 at 6:55pm

It doesn't help that the professional criminals, err, politicians we send to Washington, DC have allowed fake cost of living adjustments which have reduced the buying power of Social Security by probably close to 40% since the year 2000, give or take. Remember that every time you witness these criminals flushing money down the toilet and particularly when you vote. They all need to be voted out and primaries are key in order to get candidates who are not officially approved by Club Status Quo. Outsiders from the real world are who we need, and at every level of government, right down to the school boards. Actually, especially the school boards. Do not allow voting to be wasted on the voters.

Comment by Robert Powers on February 21, 2022 at 6:35pm

Hitting us hard....This month, just my fuel oil and propane bills exceeded my total social security check!  Electric bill and fuel for vehicles used half of my wife's SS check!

Comment by Penny Gray on February 21, 2022 at 12:41pm

Wait til everyone is mandated to drive an EV.

Comment by Willem Post on February 21, 2022 at 11:36am

The Mainers who are hurting must turn out EN MASSE at the polls to vote out the tyranny of Dem/ Progs and vote in Republicans and le Page to finally end Al, that energy, save the world nonsense


Comment by Dan McKay on February 21, 2022 at 11:25am

If you have any correspondence with your state representative or senator, ask if the Aroostook County Project passed by them will raise electric bills for Maine people.

If the answer given is yes, say "kill the project".

If the answer given is no, it's a big lie.

And if the answer given is "I don't know", then ask why they voted for it.

Comment by arthur qwenk on February 21, 2022 at 11:22am

Are Mainer's Connecting the Dots to utilization and build out of "Unreliable Wind and Solar?? 

Will Tux discuss this?


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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Sign up today and lend your voice and presence to the steadily rising tide that will soon sweep the scourge of useless and wretched turbines from our beloved Maine countryside. For many of us, our little pieces of paradise have been hard won. Did the carpetbaggers think they could simply steal them from us?

We have the facts on our side. We have the truth on our side. All we need now is YOU.

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 -- Mahatma Gandhi

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Vince Lombardi 

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

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