BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Representatives from some of Eastern Maine’s hospitals say they don’t want the state legislature to take away money given to them from a regional energy efficiency program.
They, along with the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) say investing that money in energy saving projects cuts their costs. They’re worried their energy bills could go up if legislation supported by Governor LePage that’s being discussed by lawmakers in Augusta passes.
LePage wants a bill on that to go through so companies like paper mills can use that regional money to cut their electric rates.
But major organizations like Jackson Labs and Eastern Maine Medical Center oppose the bill. The hospital, for instance, has a natural gas power plant on its property.
The plant provides much of the hospital’s power and the people who run it say this efficiency money maximizes its output by allowing the hospital to upgrade equipment and its lighting, items beyond the hospitals own budget.
The NRCM says the hospitals are tangible examples of why they oppose the governor’s plan too.
“These hospitals are very big energy users,” said NRCM executive director, Lisa Pohlmann. “They know that and they’re trying to reduce energy costs, both because it’s good for healthcare costs in general but also because it’s good for public health. It’s a win-win all the way around.”
The bill to take away the funding is still being voted on in committee.
That is expected to be complete by Thursday.