$69M to help Mainers realize energy projects

Posted March 12, 2009, at 9:32 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The first installment of the $69 million in energy funding that Maine is slated to receive as part of the federal stimulus package soon will be making its way to the state.

Roughly $42 million of the money set aside for Maine will go toward weatherization assistance, while the remainder goes to the state energy program.

Members of the Maine congressional delegation welcome the money’s release.

“As I have long said, energy efficiency is the most effective method to reduce consumer bills, curtail our demand for foreign oil, and finally cut our emissions of greenhouse gases,” Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said in a statement. “These energy efficiency initiatives will open the door to create new opportunities for Maine to spur job growth, increase the competitiveness of our economy and benefit consumers.”

“One of the most effective and immediate ways we can help people stretch their energy dollars is through weatherization,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. “During this time of economic crisis, it is good to see that this weatherization funding will help create savings for the citizens who need it the most.”

According to the Department of Energy, weatherization reduces home heating bills by an average of $358 a year.

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said the funding was sorely needed in Maine, which has some of the oldest housing stock in the country.

“I know what it’s like to try and heat an old and leaky house,” Pingree said. “And what a difference some caulk and insulation can make. Unfortunately those improvements are out of reach for some Maine families, which is why this federal funding is so badly needed.”

“This funding will create jobs and provide help to Mainers who need assistance the most,” said Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine. “The Department of Energy has estimated that the overall energy funding provided to states will help put 87,000 Americans to work and save families hundreds of dollars per year on their energy bills.”

Delegation members said the U.S. Department of Energy would release the initial funding in the next few days.

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