Earlier this year, the Maine Legislature passed, and I signed into law, an Emergency Winter Energy Relief Plan to help Maine families stay safe and warm this winter.
Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills, and thank you for listening.
The cornerstone of this plan was assistance in the form of $450 checks issued to most Maine taxpayers – more than 800,000 of them – a small but meaningful measure of relief to help ease the burden of increased energy costs.
I am proud to report that my administration has now finished mailing those checks to all eligible taxpayers and did so ahead of schedule.
Maine, as you know, is the single most heating oil-dependent state in the nation. Our over-reliance on costly fossil fuels means that Maine people are especially vulnerable to price increases driven by the global energy market.
While we may be a long way from Europe, Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine has upended energy prices around the world, including right here in Maine.
In a state known for long, cold winters, price spikes have forced too many people in Maine to be faced with the choice between heating their homes or paying for other necessities.
Last fall, it was clear that many Maine people would need help this winter – and they would need it fast. That’s why I proposed an Emergency Winter Energy Relief Plan to provide direct assistance as quickly as possible.
In January, the legislature passed my measure with overwhelming bipartisan support. This legislation provided $450 in relief checks to most Maine people, equating to about $900 for the average Maine family.
The final legislation also included more home heating assistance for low-income consumers, and emergency fuel assistance to keep families from running out of fuel, and short-term emergency housing to address homelessness during the winter months.
Printing and distributing more than 800,000 checks takes some time – but my administration immediately hit the ground running after I signed the bill into law.
We set a goal of getting all payments out by the end of March. Well, I’m pleased to say that last week, my administration announced that it had completed processing and mailing payments to 876,176 eligible Maine taxpayers ahead of schedule.
If you believe that you are eligible for a winter energy relief payment and did not receive one, please visit Maine.gov/Governor/Mills/EnergyRelief. That’s Maine.Gov/Governor/Mills/EnergyRelief.
I really hope that this one-time relief will provide some assistance to Maine people as cold temperatures linger.
In the months and years ahead, I look forward to continuing to work with this Legislature to pursue policies that will bring down energy costs in the long run, including making sure we weatherize our homes and businesses, making more efficient heating and cooling technologies available, and diversifying our energy sources with clean, renewable energy in order to lower the price of electricity.
Monday is the first day of spring. Here’s hoping that snow and mud season will soon give way to warmer weather!
This is Governor Janet Mills, and thank you for listening.