||Public Benefits Fund
|Eligible Efficiency Technologies:
||Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Agricultural, Institutional
|Total Fund:||~$83 million collected through FY2012|
35-A M.R.S. §10101 et seq.|
10/1/1999 (subsequently amended)
Maine's public benefits fund for energy efficiency was authorized originally in 1997 by the state's electric-industry restructuring legislation. Under the initial arrangement, the administration of certain efficiency programs was divided among the State Planning Office (SPO), the state's electric utilities and the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC). However, general dissatisfaction by the Maine Legislature (and many other stakeholders) with the administration of the fund prompted revisions in 2002. As a result of the 2002 legislative amendments, the authority to develop energy-efficiency programs was effectively transferred from the SPO to the PUC, and the authority to implement these programs was transferred from the state's electric utilities to the PUC.
Most recently, the Act Regarding Maine's Energy Future (Public Law 372, June 2009) established a new entity, the Efficiency Maine Trust, which became responsible for Maine's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. All of the funds in Efficiency Maine were transferred to Efficiency Maine Trust July 1, 2010.* Public Law 637 of 2012 provided additional budget oversight to the Legislature, requiring Efficiency Maine Trust to provide reports to the Legislature twice per year on the status of the fund's budget and programs.
By statute, at least 20% of funds must support energy programs for low-income residents, and at least 20% of funds must support energy programs for small business customers. The PUC assesses utilities to collect funds for energy programs and administrative costs. The fixed amount of the assessment is 0.145 cents per kilowatt-hour (1.45 mills/kWh).
There is no expiration date for the fund. In general, Efficiency Maine supports improvements in lighting efficiency, reductions in peak demand, high-performance buildings, appliance replacements for low-income residents, energy training and certification, and public education. The fund collected approximately $12.4 million in FY2010, approximately $12.9 million in FY2011, and $13.2 million in FY2012 from assessments on the utilities. In addition, Efficiency Maine Trust manages money from the Regional Green House Gas Initiative and grants, such as those received from the Federal government's American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in 2010. In FY2012, the fund collected approximately $34 M from all sources.
The Efficiency Maine Annual Reports includes additional details on the fund and the types of projects funded.
*In addition, Public Law 655 (2010) mandates that state revenue generated from energy corridor development on state-owned land would be deposited to the Efficiency Maine Trust (80%) and a new Transportation Efficiency Fund (20%).