With Federal forecasts expecting energy prices to remain high this winter, the Governor’s Energy Office has updated its winter heating resource guide to help Maine people and families take action to save money, improve their home’s energy efficiency, and find heating assistance if needed.
“With global energy prices expected to remain high, my Administration is doing all we can to help Maine people heat their homes this winter,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I encourage Maine people to use this guide to find resources to stay warm and to weatherize their homes this winter to bring down their heating costs. And, as always, let’s all keep an eye out for our neighbors to make sure they’re okay.”
A recent forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Agency (PDF) estimates that costs for nearly all home heating methods will remain high this winter, stemming from continued global energy market volatility following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
With more than 60 percent of homes reliant on heating oil, compared to 4 percent nationally and between 24-42 percent elsewhere in New England, Maine is the most heating oil dependent state in the country. The New England electrical grid, which supplies power to a majority of Maine, is also over-reliant on natural gas-generated electricity. This makes Maine distinctly vulnerable to the increased prices and volatility the global fossil fuel market is now experiencing.
To address rising energy costs, the Mills Administration has taken several significant actions this year, including:
- Returning more than half of the state’s budget surplus to Maine people through $850 inflation relief checks;
- Successfully pressing for increased funding for Federal heating assistance programs to help Maine households with oil bills this winter;
- Securing a one-time bill credit of $90 for tens of thousands of low-income customers of Central Maine Power and Versant;
- Providing $800 in heating cost relief to nearly 13,000 low-income households to help pay for high energy costs;
- Providing up to $1,400 in tax relief (PDF) for eligible low- and middle-income Maine families and seniors;
- Signing into law LD 2010, sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson, that will make a tiered credit of up to $3,000 available to Maine small businesses to offset increases in the standard offer for electricity;
- Signing legislation that led the Maine PUC to establish lower electricity rates for Maine households with high energy consumption starting this month.
- Investing $50 million in Federal funds to expand energy efficiency programs for Maine homeowners and renters, hospitality businesses, and municipal and school buildings through Efficiency Maine.
Efficiency Maine has also launched a new program offering $100 rebates for home insulation materials purchased from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2022. Efficiency Maine has also published a homeowner’s energy efficiency guide available here (PDF).
Applications for heating assistance are now being accepted. For information on eligibility and how to apply, please visit MaineHousing’s website, call (207) 626-4600, or contact your local community action agency. Emergency heating assistance is available starting on November 1.
The guide, which includes resources for Maine people from MaineHousing, Efficiency Maine, the Maine Public Utilities Commissions, the Maine Emergency Management Agency, the Office of the Public Advocate, and the Governor’s Energy Office, is available here.