AUGUSTA – Maine Citizens for Clean Energy released information today that shows a decrease in Maine ratepayers’ electric bills if a ballot initiative designed to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy passes in November. The initiative would ensure 20 percent of Maine’s electricity comes from new renewable energy sources and require utilities to invest in energy efficiency whenever it would reduce energy costs for ratepayers.
Environment Northeast, a nonprofit organization that researches and advocates policies that address environmental challenges while promoting economic stability, conducted an analysis on the potential impact the ballot initiative would have on Maine ratepayers. The analysis calculated energy costs for ratepayers under two possible scenarios, given the unpredictability of future electricity prices.
Under the first scenario, residential electric bills would initially go up by 84 cents a month in 2014 before dropping by $4.40 a month by 2020 and $8.70 a month by 2030. The second scenario, considered the least likely of the two, would see electric bills increase by 95 cents a month by 2015, before dropping to 33 cents higher than under current law each month by 2020, and 34 cents lower than under current law each month by 2030. In either scenario, residential electric bills would initially rise by less than a dollar each month before seeing long-term, sustainable savings.
“The status quo, business-as-usual approach is the most costly and worst course of action,” said Beth Nagusky, Maine Director for Environment Northeast. “We have a choice that will lower energy prices, provide clean energy and healthier air, create local jobs and pump more hard-earned Maine dollars into our local economies. Claims that this ballot question will raise energy prices are flawed.”
Nagusky said that other analyses that have been conducted are fundamentally flawed, ignoring several aspects of the initiative that would ultimately save Maine ratepayers money.
Reed & Reed, a Woolwich-based General Contractor has been doing business in Maine for nearly 85 years. The company supports the ballot initiative, saying that it will send a message saying that Maine is ready to make investments in its energy infrastructure while supporting the economy.
“Reed & Reed has a deep-rooted history in Maine as a family owned business for four generations,” said Abbie Parker, risk manager at Reed & Reed. “For our business to grow and succeed, it was imperative for us to diversify the way we do business. If Maine wants to see significant improvement on energy prices while keeping jobs and energy dollars local, it’s time for the state to diversify the way it creates electricity.”
Maine Citizens for Clean Energy began collection of signatures statewide in November to place a ballot initiative before voters in November of this year. More than 500 volunteers have collected signatures from one end of Maine to the other, preparing to submit the signatures to the Maine Secretary of State’s Office by the end of the month.
“People from one end of this state to the other realize that this is important,” said Cliff Ginn, co-director of Opportunity Maine. “The status quo isn’t working for working families. Voters know it and they’re telling us with their enthusiastic support.”
Maine Citizens for Clean Energy also released polling data that indicates strong support for the ballot initiative. According to the poll, which surveyed 601 likely voters in early October, 76 percent of respondents support the ballot initiative, with 17 percent against, and 7 percent undecided. The poll also showed support from a majority of voters enrolled as Democrats, Republicans, and independents, as well as support from both sportsmen and non-sportsmen.
For more information on the ballot initiative, visit: http://www.cleanenergymaine.org/