Support programs are available amid unprecedented volatility in global energy markets and fuel prices caused by invasion of Ukraine
March 9, 2002
Augusta, Maine – With energy prices experiencing unprecedented volatility following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Governor’s Energy Office is encouraging Maine people to explore options for relief from rising prices for home heating fuel and electricity.
A full guide to heating and energy assistance programs is available from the Governor’s Energy Office, which has prepared a directory of winter heating resources to help Maine people and families take action to save money, improve their home’s energy efficiency, and find heating assistance if needed. The guide is available on the Governor’s Energy Office website and as a downloadable document (PDF).
The Mills Administration has also taken steps in recent weeks to deliver financial relief to Maine people and families from rising energy prices.
This month, eligible utility customers of CMP and Versant will see one-time bill credits of $90 through a rate relief initiative from the Governor’s Energy Office and the Office of the Public Advocate. The Public Utilities Commission approved 90,000 customers to receive this rate relief plan, which uses federal stimulus funds allocated to the HEAP program, on Feb. 17.
“Given the continued volatility in the global energy markets, this initiative provides important relief for Maine people from increased energy prices,” said Dan Burgess, Director of the Governor’s Energy Office. “Our office continues to work with federal, regional and state partners to closely monitor the impacts on Maine caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and examine every option to help Maine people with rising energy prices.”
“This rate relief plan, which was approved unanimously by the PUC, delivers financial support to Maine’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Bill Harwood, the state’s Public Advocate. “I thank everyone involved for moving swiftly to deliver these bill credits to customers during this time of rising energy prices.”
MaineHousing announced today that it will increase the allowable benefit amount for its Energy Crisis Intervention Program from $600 to $1,400. The program, a subset of the Home Energy Assistance Program or HEAP, helps those experiencing an immediate heating crisis. The increased benefit amount will become available immediately.
“Recognizing the impact these dramatically increasing prices of heating fuels are having on Maine households we have decided to substantially boost the limit on emergency fuel benefits for eligible households from $600 to $1,400,” said Dan Brennan, Director of MaineHousing. “We have the federal resources available to help those most in need and I encourage Maine people to explore their options for relief. We are grateful for the ongoing support from our state and federal lawmakers and appreciate the actions the Maine Legislature is currently taking to help improve our heating assistance programs.”
Earlier this month, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced that it is delivering additional help for low-income families to pay for this winter’s unusually high energy costs.
The Governor has also put forward a proposal to give back half of Maine’s surplus in the form of a $750 inflation relief check to help Maine people grapple with rising prices.
According to the most recent survey of statewide home heating fuel prices in Maine by the Governor’s Energy Office, the average per-gallon cost of home heating oil on March 7 was $4.73. This represents a one-week increase of 87 cents over the average statewide price of $3.86- per-gallon reported as of February 28.
Maine is the most home heating oil dependent state in the nation, with more than 60% of homes relying on fuel oil to keep warm in the winter, compared to roughly 4% nationally.
The Governor’s Energy Office updates its heating fuel survey each week through the heating season. Updates are typically posted by Thursday morning on the Governor’s Energy Office website at www.maine.gov/energy/heating-fuel-prices.