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Governor’s Address: Stopping the Backroom Energy Deals in Augusta

Since 2010, average residential New England electric rates have increased by 20 percent. But in Maine, they have remained essentially flat.

Dear Maine Taxpayer,

Liberals, special interests and the Democrats in the Legislature are constantly trying to carve out gravy trains for wealthy energy companies, then make you pay for it. Not on my watch! That’s why our rates have not increased since I took office in 2010.

Electric fees are like regressive taxes. Our low-income households and our elderly struggle every month to keep the lights on. Increasing rates, add ons, and fees on our must vulnerable should be an outrage to all of us, but liberals constantly support rich energy lobbyists over low-income and elderly Mainers.

Liberals forget that Maine’s economy is different from the rest of New England. We have leading manufacturers that use a tremendous amount of energy to create world-class products. In fact, Maine is the only New England state in which industry is the largest consumer of energy. Sappi, Texas Instruments and Bath Iron Works for a few examples don’t compete with Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts or Rhode Island—they compete globally.

Liberals ignore competitive pressures involved in producing a roll of coated paper, a semiconductor or a Navy destroyer. Every penny we add to their bills puts them at a competitive disadvantage.

Liberals look to Boston, Hartford and Montpelier for magical energy schemes that add an electric fee to your bill, and then hand the money to wealthy energy companies. The average electric bill is now $120 in New England—in Maine, it is slightly less.

That’s because I have rejected the expensive policies from other New England states. Instead, we have focused on practical and cost-effective policies that work for Maine’s unique energy challenges. We outright reject signing above market contracts to enrich the large renewable industry.

We have offered rebates for heat pumps, wood pellet boilers, insulation and other modern heating systems to reduce heating costs. This has lowered our heating-oil consumption, reduced pollution and cut heating bills.

The bottom line is we should seek low cost energy that does not harm the environment. All forms of clean energy sources should be treated equally—and not at the expense of Maine consumers.

There is a legacy of above-market costs from decades of corruption, poor decision-making and wealthy special interests controlling Augusta. It’s time for this era to end. It is time to completely reject above-market contracts, reform Maine’s expensive energy mandates and put more money in your pocket.

Thankfully, last session that’s what Representative Ken Fredette and House Republicans did and Mainers owe a big thank you to them for holding firm and defeating above market contracts.

Backroom energy deals in Augusta are wrong and we will continue to fight for what is right.

Thank You,

Paul R. LePage

Governor

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