Phil Bartlett, Maine State Senate District Six  
 
 

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Energy Conservation, Efficiency Focus of New Bill

January 5, 2006

AUGUSTA-Just minutes after Governor John Baldacci signed into law a bill that would provide an additional $5 million to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program known as LIHEAP, Senator Phil Bartlett, D-Cumberland County, unveiled legislation that focuses on the demand side of the energy equation. Under the bill, An Act to Encourage Energy Independence for Maine, proposed by Senator Bartlett, a greater effort would be invested in improving energy conservation and energy efficiency.

With lawmakers from both political parties supporting the proposal and the endorsement of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Senator Bartlett said, we must do more to become energy independent to develop a stronger, more competitive Maine. "In order to reduce the cost of energy and to stabilize energy prices over time we must address the
fundamentals of the energy market, dealing with both supply and demand."

Senator Bartlett added, "This legislation will help school districts and local taxpayers save money by giving our public schools the tools they need eliminate energy waste. It will eliminate the incentive of our transmission and distribution utilities to promote energy consumption at a time when conservation is in the public interest."

" This bill will promote energy efficient construction, improve the efficiency of furnaces and boilers in line with other New England states and explore opportunities to make fuel-saving tires more widely available to the public," Senator Bartlett added. To emphasize the need for the urgent need for this bill, Senator Bartlett pointed out that Maine lags behind the rest of New England in its investment in energy efficiency. The proposed legislation will change that but doubling funding for the successful Efficiency Maine program. Efficiency Maine saves $2 for every $1 invested to help small businesses, homeowners and others to become more energy efficient by educating them and providing the tools necessary to successfully reduce their energy consumption. Also attending the press conference was former Superintendent of the Westbrook Schools, Mike Kane, who credited Efficiency Maine with drastically lowering their energy consumption.

On the supply side of the energy problem, Senator Bartlett said that the Utilities and Energy Committee will also be considering legislation to promote renewable energy produced right here in Maine.