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March 27, 2015

Quick fix for Efficiency Maine funding unlikely

A bill aiming to restore up to $38 million in funding to Efficiency Maine through a quick fix of a 2013 energy law was shot down by Republican lawmakers who said they want more changes to the law before restoring funding.

The Portland Press Herald reported that the Democrat-sponsored legislation would have added one word to a passage in a 2013 energy law that determines funding for Efficiency Maine. House Minority Leader Kenneth Fredette and four other Republican leaders opposed allowing the Legislature to consider the quick-fix bill, with Fredette saying that he would like to reach a “bipartisan solution” that can get “both affirmative votes in the House and Senate and the governor’s office.” The newspaper said this would entail more changes to the 2013 law, but Fredette did not elaborate on what those changes could be.

The passage  in question currently says the organization’s funding is based on 4% of “total retail electricity transmission and distribution sales,” and the proposed change would have it written as “total retail electricity AND transmission and distribution sales.” The Maine Public Utilities Commission last week voted to strictly interpret the law as the former, meaning Efficiency Maine’s state funding would be slashed by about $38 million next year. The legislative committee behind the 2013 law said the extra “and” was erroneously left out of that passage when the law was first passed.

Source: Portland Press Herald

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