BANGOR, Maine — Efficiency Maine held a public meeting Wednesday to highlight a draft version of its latest three-year plan to help Maine residents and businesses cut their energy expenses.
The now-63-page draft plan “structures how we move forward with program designs and our portfolio of services,” Elizabeth Crabtree, program director for Efficiency Maine, said during a presentation at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bangor. The plan, which covers fiscal years 2014-16, still needs some fine tuning and could be adjusted based on public input, according to Crabtree.
The draft identifies a series of programs geared toward helping Maine residents and businesses decrease their energy consumption and costs by helping them afford improvements ranging from weatherization and natural gas installation to aiding in the switch to efficient lights.
If the plan is fully implemented, Efficiency Maine claims the initiatives outlined in the plan will help weatherize 40,000 homes and help cut net electricity costs by more than $450 million, according to the draft.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine backed the plan Wednesday after the hearing.
“Energy costs have hit record highs year after year and continue to burden many Maine homes and businesses,” said Dylan Voorhees, clean energy director for the NRC. “The energy efficiency improvements outlined in Efficiency Maine’s plan could net Maine people and businesses more than half a billion dollars in savings, increase Maine’s energy independence and supply good job opportunities for Maine people.”
Thomas Tietenberg, a retired Colby College economics professor and former member of the Efficiency Maine board, said after the presentation that he hopes the state will fully fund all the initiatives laid out in the triennial plan.
“I hope that decision-makers in Maine don’t reject full funding of these initiatives by misperceiving the difference between an investment, such as this, which eventually saves money, and an expenditure that costs money,” Tietenberg said.
To read the full draft of Efficiency Maine’s seond triennial plan, visit www.efficiencymaine.com/docs/AgencyRules/TriPlan2_2012_9_1.pdf.
A second public meeting has been scheduled for 9 a.m.-noon Thursday at the McKernan Center on the Southern Maine Community College campus in South Portland.
The plan is expected to be voted on this fall by the Efficiency Maine board and the Public Utilities Commission.