Veto Override Restores Nearly $200 Million in Savings and Lowers Energy Bills
June 24, 2015 (AUGUSTA, Maine) — Conservation Law Foundation released the following statement today in response to the legislature’s override of Governor LePage’s veto of LD 1215, an Act that restores funding to Efficiency Maine Trust, the entity that provides energy efficiency programs in the state. Because of an accidental omission of a single word—”and”—in the Omnibus Energy Act, passed in 2013, the Maine Public Utilities Commission recently interpreted the statute to reduce, rather than increase, funding for energy efficiency in the state. In May, legislators voted almost unanimously to pass a bill that restores the missing “and” to uphold the bill’s original intent of increasing funding for energy efficiency. Governor LePage vetoed the revised bill. The legislature unanimously overrode the veto.
“With their override vote, the legislature has served the best interest of all Mainers by restoring funding for energy efficiency,” said Sean Mahoney, Executive Vice President, Conservation Law Foundation. “With one stroke of his veto pen, Governor LePage wiped out $38 million in funding for energy efficiency in Maine, which would have cost Mainers nearly $200 million a year in lost savings and higher energy bills. Thankfully the legislature stood their ground. ”
“By fixing this bill and overriding Governor LePage’s veto, the legislature has saved hundreds of jobs and reduced electricity bills,” continued Mahoney. “Never before has a single ‘and’ been worth so much! Now, it’s up to the PUC to draft a new rule that honors the legislature’s intent to properly fund energy efficiency.”
Read CLF’s blog A Single Word Could Restore Maine Energy Efficiency Funding for more information on the energy efficiency bill and the implications of the Governor’s vote.