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March 19, 2015

PUC vote could endanger heating program

The Maine Public Utilities Commission's decision to cap Efficiency Maine's funding at $23 million could prompt the organization to end its programs that provide financial support to residents and business owners for heating system upgrades.

Michael Stoddard, executive director of Efficiency Maine, told the Bangor Daily News that the PUC's decision to cap funding at $23 million will provide Efficiency Maine less than half of what it expected to receive. He said that means starting in July 2016, the organization will have to halt its various heating programs, which provided about $14.5 million in incentives last year.

PUC Chairman Mark Vannoy, one of the two commissioners who supported the new cap, told the newspaper that the decision was based on a clear reading of a 2013 Maine law that gives the PUC authority over Efficiency Maine's budget.

Critics of the PUC's decision said the law, which bases the organization's funding on 4% of "total retail electricity transmission and distribution sales," was meant to be written as "total retail electricity AND transmission and distribution sales." As noted by the BDN, the latter interpretation would give Efficiency Maine an extra $36 million.

Source: Bangor Daily News 

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