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.
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