Maine

State Profile
1,329,328
06
Utility Revenue (Millions) $66.10
$45.30
n/a
$20.20
$0.60
Consumption (Billion Cubic Feet or BCF)

Consumption by Sector In-State

25,072
51
03
10
21
17
Customers 43,035
31,011
11,888
136
Industry Infrastructure
n/a
n/a
1,255
Utility Gas Efficiency Program Funding $1,109,050.00
$259,144.00
$664,780.00
$185,126.00
$0.00

Sources

AGA Survey and Statistics System; AGA-CEE Natural Gas Efficiency Programs Survey: Utility expenditures for gas efficiency programs exclude data that have not been released by participating companies at the state level; U.S. Energy Information Administration; and U.S. Department of Transportation.

Statewide Elected Officials Next Election: 2018
Paul LePage (Rep.)Governor
Matthew Dunlap (Dem.)Secretary of State
Janet Mills (Dem.)Attorney General
Legislature Next Election: 2018Session Dates: 1/06/16-04/22/16
Senate
Term: 2 year
President: Michael Thibodeau
Senate Majority Leader: Garrett Mason
Senate Minority Leader: Justin Alfond
Senate Member Breakdown
Democrats: 17
Republicans: 18
House of Representatives
Term: 2 year
Speaker of the House: Mark Eves
Speaker Pro Tempore of the House: n/a
Majority Leader: Jeff McCabe
Minority Leader: Kenneth Fredette
House of Representatives Member Breakdown
Democrats: 16
Republicans: 72
Other: 3
Maine Public Utilities Commission Commissioners: Gubernatorial appointment: 6 year termChairperson: Appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Governor: 1 year term
Current Commissioners:
Carlisle McLean, CommissionerAppointed by Governor Paul LePage in 2015; term expires in 2017
Bruce Williamson, Commissioner Appointed by Governor Paul LePage in 2015; term expires in 2021
Mark Vannoy, Chairman Appointed by Governor Paul LePage in 2012; current term expires in 2019

Maine’s plan was drafted in 2008 in accordance with Public Law 656 of 2008 under the leadership of then Governor Baldacci. Summary of key recommendations: Aggressively provide opportunities for state & local governments, Maine family, businesses and industry to invest in energy efficiency, conservation and weatherization through Federal and state programs, grants, loans and other public and private funding mechanisms; Increase the number and availability of energy efficient heating systems and appliances in the state; Support and enhance state and private sector efforts for education and awareness of alternative transportation options and promotion of low-carbon fuel standard and fuel efficient vehicles; Promote natural gas as a “transitional fuel” by expanding the natural gas infrastructure to all sectors of Maine. Also of note, in 2013 the Maine legislature passed an Omnibus Energy bill that incorporated many components of an energy plan. Among the key components, the enacted legislation gives the Finance Authority of Maine the authority to issue revenue obligation securities to finance an energy cost-reduction contract; It gives the Director of the Governor’s Energy Office the authority to submit an energy cost-reduction contract to procure natural gas pipeline capacity that is reasonably likely to lead to the development or expansion of a natural gas transmission pipeline; It gives the PUC authority to direct an investor-owned transmission and distribution utility, a natural gas utility and a natural gas pipeline utility to assess ratepayers for the cost of an energy cost-reduction contract, the bonds associated with an energy cost-reduction contract and the administration of an energy-cost reduction contract. In April 2014, the state legislature passed a bill relating to the expansion of natural gas in the state energy plan. Specifically, HR 1193 amends the statute requiring an updated energy plan every two years to include “a description of the State’s activities relating to the expansion of natural gas service, any actions taken by the office to expand access to natural gas in the State and any recommendations for actions by the Legislature to expand access to natural gas in the state.” In February of 2015, the Director of the GEO, Patrick Woodcock, presented its energy plan for 2015 to the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee. The plan builds on past efforts to diversify Maine’s energy sources to lower costs, but also concludes that more needs to be addressed to bring Maine’s energy costs in line with the rest of the nation. Woodcock noted that the plan calls for more use of natural gas in Maine, both for heating and for power generation, but he acknowledged in his remarks that Maine cannot act alone to increase natural gas capacity.

In 2009, the independent Efficiency Maine Trust, managed by a stakeholder board, was created by statute to replace the Maine Public Utility Commission’s management of energy efficiency programs and to create, coordinate and implement energy efficiency and alternative energy programs. The Legislature directed the MPUC to review and subsequently approve or deny the Efficiency Maine Trust’s Triennial Plans. Natural gas programs are also administered by the Efficiency Maine Trust, and serve commercial, industrial, and residential customers, including low-income residential customers. The funds for natural gas conservation programs are collected through a rate surcharge. The MPUC assess utilities funding from the natural gas conservation fund in “an amount necessary to capture all cost-effective energy efficiency that is achievable and reliable.” In 2013, Legislative Document No. 1559 set a natural gas savings goal of 20% by 2020 and extended energy efficiency funding from the Efficiency Maine Trust to all Maine gas utilities.

Maine enacted legislation in 2012 that authorized the Finance Authority of Maine to issue bonds for the development of the state’s natural gas infrastructure. During the 2013 session, legislators considered two bills relating to natural gas infrastructure expansion: HP 901, the Maine Energy Cost Reduction Act, gives the Finance Authority of Maine the authority to issue revenue obligation securities to finance an energy cost-reduction contract; It gives the Director of the Governor’s Energy Office the authority to submit an energy cost-reduction contract to procure natural gas pipeline capacity that is reasonably likely to lead to the development or expansion of a natural gas transmission pipeline; It gives the PUC authority to direct an investor-owned transmission and distribution utility, a natural gas utility and a natural gas pipeline utility to assess ratepayers for the cost of an energy cost-reduction contract, the bonds associated with an energy cost-reduction contract and the administration of an energy-cost reduction contract. HP 831 establishes the Maine Energy Cost Reduction Authority for the purpose of entering into contracts to procure and resell natural gas pipeline capacity and electric energy and capacity, to identify and designate corridors for the construction of natural gas transmission pipelines to enter into long-term contracts for the use of natural gas pipeline corridors through the development of natural gas pipelines. In May 2013, HP 831 and HP 901 were incorporated into a larger, multifaceted energy bill (incorporating proposals from 13 pending bills, in total) that aims to expand the state’s natural gas infrastructure as well as boost energy efficiency funding, directly lower electricity costs for homes and businesses and make fuel switching from oil more affordable for consumers. The bill was voted out of committee 12-1, with enactment votes of 131-7 in the House and 29-6 in the Senate. The bill became law on July 2, 2013, after the Governor’s veto was overridden in the House 121-11 and a 35-0 vote to override in the Senate. In May 2014, Maine passed Legislative Directive 1621, which aims to include natural gas expansion in the State Energy Plan. Beginning in 2015, the State Energy Plan must include a description of the State's activities relating to the expansion of natural gas service, any actions taken by the office to expand access to natural gas in the State and any recommendations for actions by the Legislature to expand access to natural gas in the State. Summit Natural Gas has begun a new pipeline project that aims to serve 15,000 homes, using the Sappi Fine Paper mill as an anchor customer. They are pursuing other expansion opportunities in the state as well. On June 5, 2015, Unitil filed an application with the Maine Public Utilities Commission requesting the authority to implement a Targeted Area Build-out program (TAB Tariff). The TAB Tariff is designed to provide the Company a mechanism to build-out its distribution network incrementally in targeted areas to serve new customers who are currently “off the main.” The Company’s proposed TAB Tariff is designed to remove the contribution in aid of construction (CIAC) barrier. The TAB Tariff includes a surcharge mechanism that replaces the CIAC in a specifically defined TAB geographic area. The Company will build-out new distribution mains incrementally within the defined TAB area. New customers served from these TAB mains will pay a monthly TAB surcharge over a period of years instead of paying a traditional up-front CIAC. The amount of the surcharge is determined by a discounted cash flow (“DCF”) analysis similar to that which the Company applies pursuant to its Main Extension Tariff. This program was approved on December 22, 2015.

In 2011, the Maine Public Utilities Commission authorized Northern Utilities to implement a limited, one year, incremental step adjustment of $0.9 million effective 5/1/2012 to reflect investments made under the company’s Cast Iron Replacement Program (CIRP); Initially the utility had sought a targeted infrastructure replacement adjustment (TIRA) tracker to reflect incremental CIRP investments; The commission did not approve a permanent tracker, instead opting for the more limited mechanism for one year. On December 17, 2013, the Maine Public Utilities Commission ("MPUC"), during its public deliberations, voted unanimously to approve a Settlement and Stipulation ("Stipulation") in Docket No. 2013-00133, the base rate proceeding for the Maine division of Northern Utilities, Inc. Unitil Corporation's natural gas distribution utility subsidiary. The Stipulation included a Targeted Infrastructure Replacement Adjustment ("TIRA") rate mechanism, which will provide for annual adjustments to distribution base rates in future years to recover costs associated with the Unitil’s investments in specified operational and safety-related infrastructure replacement and reliability upgrade projects to its natural gas distribution system. The TIRA will have an initial term of four (4) years, and applies to investments made in eligible facilities in each of the calendar years 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.