Governor LePage: FERC Must Address New England’s Energy Crisis Now

September 29, 2014

For Immediate Release: Monday, Sept. 29, 2014
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA – With electric bills set to increase an unprecedented 37 percent in Massachusetts coupled with predictions of another bitter winter bearing down on the region, Governor Paul R. LePage has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to address the skyrocketing electricity prices in New England.

Electricity rates in Massachusetts will hit a historic high—a 37 percent increase from last winter, an increase of $33 a month for that state’s households. Average electric bills are expected to be $121.20 per household each month.

“It is time to wake up. New England is in an energy crisis right now, and we desperately need additional natural gas to power our businesses and keep electric bills affordable for households,” said Governor LePage. “While prices are spiking, liberals in Massachusetts have opposed natural gas infrastructure, saying they need to study the issue more. This is unconscionable.”

Governor LePage is taking action in Maine to build out natural gas infrastructure. He has written to William Yardley, vice president of Spectra Energy, requesting that Spectra build out its current system and add natural gas capacity while working with Maine businesses to address these rising energy costs.

“New England households and our businesses are about to experience a catastrophic increase in electric bills,” the Governor said. “This situation is similar to a massive Nor’easter having just hit Massachusetts and their Governor refusing to plow the highways, blocking access to Northern New England. More studying now is the equivalent of watching the weather instead of preparing for the storm. We need action now. It’s well past the time that New England should have added natural gas pipeline capacity. FERC must step up and address the unprecedented situation that liberals in Massachusetts have created.”

In Governor LePage’s letter to the chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, he requests that FERC take immediate action to expand natural gas infrastructure in New England, including steps to move incremental expansions, fast track the regulatory approval and consider natural gas storage as a temporary step. These actions can be taken while the region awaits Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s decision whether to support the rest of New England’s initiative to significantly expand natural gas capacity.