By Tom Porter
AUGUSTA, Maine – Environmental advocates and business representatives today warned that a one-word typographical error could cost Maine energy consumers $250 million in higher energy bills over the next three years, if not corrected.
They say the omission of the word “and” from a phrase in the omnibus energy law passed in 2013 allowed the Public Utilities Commission to vote recently to slash funding to Efficiency Maine by nearly $40 million.
Efficiency Maine helps businesses reduce their energy costs.
And according to Richard Burbank, president of Evergreen Home Performance, it’s one of the most successful programs of its kind in the country.
“It’s that preciousness of what Efficiency Maine has done so well that has allowed businesses like mine to grow,” Burbank said this morning at a State House press conference, where advocates also warned the net increase in energy bills could reach $1 billion by 2025 if the funding cap stays in place.
Republican lawmakers have defended the PUC, saying it was correct in following the letter of the law.