In 2002, Maine established a state-wide public benefits energy efficiency program in conjunction with industry restructuring. This program, Efficiency Maine, was a division of the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC). Efficiency Maine administered a portfolio of energy efficiency programs available to all electric utility customers in Maine, whether privately or publicly owned. Efficiency Maine also administered low-income programs.
In 2009, the Efficiency Maine Trust replaced Efficiency Maine and a related program, the Energy and Carbon Savings Trust. An Act Regarding Maine's Energy Future, Public Law 372, was signed by the Governor in June 2009. It set up the Efficiency Maine Trust, an independent entity which -- as of July 2010 – creates, coordinates and implements energy efficiency and alternative energy programs.
The purposes of the Trust include consolidating the funds for Maine's consumer efficiency programs for all fuel types; integrating delivery of electric and thermal efficiency measures to consumers; acquiring energy (efficiency and alternative energy) at lower cost than traditional energy supply; and helping to transform the energy market in Maine by providing consumers with more efficient, affordable products and energy services.
To promote “best practices” of energy program administration, the Efficiency Maine programs were moved to an independent trust with the aim of maximizing the effective and efficient use of funds, insulating the program management from conflicts of interest and from political agendas, and encouraging faster responsiveness to customer needs and changes in the marketplace.
The Legislature directed the MPUC to review and subsequently approve or deny the Efficiency Maine Trust’s Triennial Plans. The first Triennial Plan, from 2011-2013, was approved on June 24, 2010. The plan was estimated to cost a total of $188 million, save over $800 million over three years, and meet 6.6 percent of the state's 2020 target for energy savings for all fuels.
A significant portion of the Trust's funds derived from Maine's electricity customers, through the System Benefit Change (SBC) and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and were employed to help lower electricity costs. In aggregate, these electric programs avoided 1.67 billion kWh of electric consumption and lowered electric costs by more than $127 million. Reported budgets for energy efficiency programs for 2011, and electricity savings for 2010, are in the State Spending and Savings Tables.
However, regulators have taken action to render Maine's energy savings targets ineffective; while there is an EERS in place, FY2013 state budget allocations fall approximately $30 million short of what Efficiency Maine projects is needed to meet savings targets established by state statute.
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