Skip to content

State Energy Efficiency Policy Database


and/or...  
Compare 2 or more States



Summary

In 2009, the independent Efficiency Maine Trust, managed by a stakeholder board, was created by statute to replace the Maine Public Utility Commission’s management of energy efficiency programs and to create, coordinate and implement energy efficiency and alternative energy programs.  The Legislature directed the MPUC to review and subsequently approve or deny the Efficiency Maine Trust’s Triennial Plans. The second Triennial Plan, from fiscal year 2014-2016, was approved by the MPUC in March 2013. Legislation approved in 2013, overriding the Governor’s veto, has provided for new revenues to be approved to put the Trust’s budgets on track to reach the maximum achievable cost-effective (MACE) potential, as identified in a 2012 potential study. Changes to the process will ensure that for future years, the electricity conservation budgets needed to reach the full MACE level will be set and authorized by the MPUC.

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables on the left.

Links:

Top of Page

November 8, 2013


Customer Energy Efficiency Programs

All electric utility customers—both of competitive suppliers and publicly-owned companies—are eligible to receive services through the statewide programs administered by Efficiency Maine Trust. 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. All utilities contribute funding to the programs.

Natural gas programs are also administered by the Efficiency Maine Trust, and serve commercial, industrial, and residential customers, including low-income residential customers. State statute was recently amended, as part of LD 1559, to extend these programs to each natural gas utility in the state, improving on an old law that had limited the program only to the state’s largest gas utility.

Though large industrial customers that take transmission and sub-transmission service do not pay into Maine's cost-recovery mechanism (CRM) programming, federal stimulus funds and collected money from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have allowed Efficiency Maine to offer energy efficiency programming to the state's largest industrial customers.  However, the customers still do not pay into the CRM. LD 1559, enacted in 2013, approved the first direct contract between Maine’s investor owned utilities and Efficiency Maine for the purpose of delivering new efficiency and distributed generation projects for large industrial customers. More information on large customer self-direct programs can be found in the ACEEE report, Follow the Leaders: Improving Large Customer Self-Direct Programs.

By statute, at least 10% of funds must support energy programs for low-income residents, and at least 10% of funds must support energy programs for small business customers. Historically, the PUC has assessed utilities to collect funds for energy programs and administrative costs. In addition, Efficiency Maine Trust manages money from the Regional Green House Gas Initiative and grants, such as those received from the Federal government's American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in 2010. The funds for natural gas conservation programs are collected through a rate surcharge. Legislation passed in 2013 established the funding standard that the MPUC assess utilities “an amount necessary to capture all cost-effective energy efficiency that is achievable and reliable.”

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables on the left.

Links:

Top of Page

November 8, 2013


Energy Efficiency Resource Standards

Summary: Electric and natural gas savings of 20% by 2020, with annual savings targets of ~1.6% for electric and 0.2% for natural gas.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) approved the first and second Triennial Plan of the Efficiency Maine Trust, which develops, plans, coordinates, and implements energy efficiency programs in the state. In the second plan, the Trust set a path toward annual energy savings goals in FY2014 of around 1%, ramping up to 1.9% in FY2016. The plan also includes savings targets for other fuels, including natural gas.

The 10- and 20-year targets established by statute are far-reaching and were incorporated into the strategy and budgets of the Triennial Plan.  Targets were revised in 2013, when Maine legislators overrode the governor’s veto to pass LD 1559. Targets include capturing all cost-effective energy efficiency (both electricity and natural gas); reducing electricity and natural gas consumption 20 percent by 2020; reducing oil heating use 20 percent in the same timeframe; and weatherization of all homes for which homeowners are willing to share the costs of cost-effective weatherization to a minimum standard.


Top of Page

August 12, 2013


Alternative Business Models

Maine's efficiency programs are implemented by an indepentant trust. The trust is managed by a stakeholder board of trustees, with oversight from the MPUC.  It is considered a quasi-state agency. There. There are statutory provisions allowing decoupling and incentives, which are not currently used.   35-A MRSA section 3195, subsection 3195 (1) deals with rate-adjustment mechanisms and subsection 3195 (1) (A) authorizes the MPUC to adopt a decoupling mechanism. The state’s largest electric utility proposed decoupling in its rate case filed in May, 2013.  (Docket No. 2013-00168)


Top of Page

August 9, 2013


Reward Structures for Successful Energy Efficiency Programs

See Alternative Business Models.


Top of Page

August 9, 2013


Energy Efficiency as a Resource

Maine has had a loading order that requires utilities to use energy efficiency before any other traditional resource (MRS 3210-C (4)).  In March 2010, the Governor signed Public Law Chapter 518, An Act To Enhance Maine's Clean Energy Opportunities. It goes beyond previous policy to set the goal for the Efficiency Maine Trust as “capturing all cost-effective energy efficiency resources available for electric and natural gas utility ratepayers”.

Efficiency Maine plans energy efficiency programs in three-year increments. The second Triennial Plan, from fiscal year 2014-2016, was approved by the MPUC in March 2013 (see Docket No. 2012-00449).


Top of Page

August 13, 2013


Evaluation, Measurement & Verification

The evaluation of ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs in Maine relies on legislative mandates (Title 35a Section 10104 subsection 10). Evaluations are administered by the Efficiency Maine Trust. Requirements for these evaluations in Maine are articulated in Code of Maine Rules 65-407, Ch. 380 transferred to Code of Maine Rules 95-648, Ch. 380. Statewide evaluations are conducted. Maine relies on the Total Resource Cost (TRC) test and considers it to be its primary cost-effectiveness test, but the rules for benefit-cost tests are not specified. These benefit-cost tests are required for overall portfolio, total program, customer project, and individual measure level screening, with exceptions for low-income programs, pilots, and new technologies. The level at which benefit-cost testing is applied depends on the program.


Top of Page

August 13, 2013