Public Utilities Commission votes on budget for energy efficiency agency

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HALLOWELL, Maine (WABI) - The Maine Public Utilities Commission approved a plan Wednesday for funding an agency tasked with improving energy use efficiency and reducing greenhouse gases.

The approved plan for the Efficiency Maine Trust comes from the PUC examiner's report.

It has similarities to Efficiency Maine's proposal, but provides the Trust with $10 million less in funding.

Commissioner Dr. R. Bruce Williamson says the Commission is being financially responsible with the decision.

"Indeed, the EMT continues to rely on funds from electric and gas customers, among other funding sources, so there is an inescapable and crystal clear fiduciary basis for the statutory construct of the commission's role," said Williamson.

Opponents of the decision say this will restrict the Trust's ability to help Mainers.

"It's a matter of numbers, but this will be a temporary setback for the Efficiency Maine Trust because they will not have the resources to do the big mission they have to do in Maine," said Public Advocate Barry Hobbins. "As you know, when you cut $10, 12, 15 million out of a potential budget, it means that there are going to be less people that are going to be receiving the benefits.">

The Efficiency Maine Trust can appeal the decision.