LePage outlines energy policy aimed at home heating


LePage Energy PresserAUGUSTA – Republican Gov. Paul LePage and Energy Office Director Patrick Woodcock outlined an energy policy at the State House on Tuesday that contrasts sharply with a Democratic initiative to provide rebates for solar power equipment.

“The United Way last month received 1,300 calls looking for emergency assistance for heating. The Aroostook Community Action Program is directed callers right now to towns, to churches, to non-profits, to avoid the bitter cold,” said Woodcock.

“These are the ramifications of a failed energy policy,” he said.

Energy costs
Graph depicting Maine’s energy costs compared to other New England states

Woodcock said Maine pays some of the highest energy bills in the country and cannot rely on federal subsidies to ensure families can cope with the cold. “Our policy in the past has been to hope for a warm winter and hope that the federal government will provide heating assistance. Those hopes have been unanswered this year.”

Woodcock said the administration’s efforts would be directed at cost-effect tools that can lower the cost of heating and contrasted that policy with the Democrat-controlled Legislature’s focus on solar power systems. Rather than subsidize solar panels, the administration is looking to provide funding for energy efficiency projects and innovative mini-split heat pumps.

Both Woodcock and the governor emphasized that the administration is not opposed to any form of energy, but is interested in supporting an energy policy that reduced energy and home heating costs.

“We will support any – any – form of energy that will help lower the cost on Maine people,” said LePage.

The governor wants to allow more the harvesting of more Maine timber and to allocate the increased revenues to support heat pump and efficiency-based projects. The heat pump initiative would expand on a pilot project launched in October of 2012 that the administration calls a success.

Gov v Leg planIn contrast to his policies, LePage said the Democratic leadership in the Legislature was focused on giving rebates to individuals who purchase solar panels, an energy policy that does little to help heat homes during the winter and costs all ratepayers.

“Liberal politicians want higher electricity rates for Mainers,” he said. “They want to add to the cost for Mainers.”

The bill LePage referred to is L.D. 1252, a proposal that would offer rebates to individuals who invest in solar equipment. When the bill was debated on the House floor, Republican lawmakers blasted it as a backwards scheme that would take money from low- and middle-income families to wealthier individuals could purchase solar panels. Although House Majority Leader Seth Berry (D-Bowdoinham) entertained the GOP idea of placing an income cap on the rebates, that idea was ultimately sidelined.

The governor said focusing on solar panels but not home heating challenges showed a lack of compassion. He also blasted Democrats for cowtowing to the Natural Resource Council of Maine, the interest group he said scuttled his energy proposals last year.

Heat Pump I“The Maine people, whether you like me or not, whether you think I should be your governor, please, please elect people who care for you,” said LePage. “Elect people who want to help Maine people. Not people who are indebted to special interests.”

The governor was joined at the press conference by Republican lawmakers on the Legislature’s Energy Committee and representatives of several Maine businesses, including Evergreen Homes, Summit Natural Gas, Bangor Gas, Maine Natural Gas, Maine Energy Marketers, Emera Maine, and Maine Alternative Comfort. According to Woodcock, these businesses provide products and services that are superior alternatives to solar.



  1. Keep spamming the simple truth, People eventually will “get it”. Liberals are only interested in making it harder and more expensive for us to heat our homes! While Mr. LaPage is interested in bringing those costs DOWN!

  2. BCHYDRO issued an RFP for clean energy in 2007…

    .”The Clean Power Call Request For Proposals (“RFP”) was structured to help ensure B.C. has sufficient clean electricity to meet future needs. It aligned with the 2007 Energy Plan, which indicated that at least 90% of all electricity generated in B.C. must come from clean sources. ..”

    The result was amazing:

    “In November 2009, BC Hydro announced its decision to proceed with discussions aimed at securing EPAs with the 13 most cost-effective proposals.

    BC Hydro contacted the proponents of 34 additional proposals to afford them the opportunity to make their respective proposals more cost-effective. BC Hydro eliminated the remaining 21 proposals due to proposal withdrawal, development risk, or the proposals did not meet the RFP eligibility requirements.

    From March 11 to August 3, 2010, BC Hydro selected 27 proposals from 18 proponents which resulted in 25 EPAs (for one proponent, three proposals were combined into a single EPA) accounting for 3,266 GWh per year of firm electricity and 1,168 MW of capacity.

    The successful proposals included 19 run-of-river projects, six wind projects, one storage hydro project and one waste heat project”


    As far as I know, all the solar grants from Efficiency Maine went to ‘insiders’ and cronies of E.M.; and customers of RE. They disappeared the day they were announced. Time for an accounting of who got what.
    ~a disappointed applicant~

  3. TAX SCAM !!!!
    Efficiency Maine( EM ) receives revenues from many sources. The Federal Funds are from the Stimulus of 2009 and will eventually run out. The rest of the funding comes from the ratepayers. Who is going to make up for the lost federal funds ? Why do we the ratepayers have to give our money to people and businesses to buy energy efficient devices to save money on energy costs. Why do they need somebody else’s money to save them money ? Let them use their own money, for crying out loud, it going to save them in time. 9% of this revenue goes to the mucky-mucks overseeing this program. Notice the funds from the Maine Power Reliability Project which whacks us with costs to feed the wind industry and also whacks us again for EM.

    Table 21 – FY13 Revenues

    System Benefit Charges 14,555,392
    · Electric 13,663,467
    · Natural Gas 891,925
    Renewable Resources Fund 105,935
    Federal Funds 10,864,816
    Maine Power Reliability Project (MPRP) Settlement 2,750,002
    Forward Capacity Market 2,603,818
    Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) 9,968,013
    Interest on Accounts and Loans and Other Revenues 276,807
    Alternative Compliance Mechanism Revenue 54,680

    Total Revenues 41,179,463

    And if you don’t think this new solar incentive program in the legislature isn’t being set up for passage, this is what EM is doing to pave the way :

    Closing: June 30, 2014 ”

    “Through funding from RGGI, MPRP, the Department of Energy’s Better Building Program, and the Settlement of Maine Yankee, the ( EM ) Trust has approximately $9.2 million to fund eligible projects submitted in response to this Program Opportunity Notice ( PON ) during the term described in Section 1.4 of this notice.”

    This solar incentive program a.k.a. “Distributed Generation” is a feed in of generation from rooftop solar panels to the distribution lines of the grid. This PON from EM proposes to reduce 3,580,000 kWh per year from the electric bill for the recipient. With CMP billing based on kwh use, EM is proposing something here that wasn’t thought through or they figure the rest of the ratepayers can make up the lost revenue for CMP and, while they are at it, they can figure how to soak us for more funding. Stop EM before it becomes a tax that just keeps going up and up. The sad part is none of these taxes used to fund EM is even in writing on your electric bills.


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