Omitted word cost Efficiency Maine $38 million
AUGUSTA, Maine —A Republican lawmaker has unveiled his plan to fix a typo that cost a Maine energy program $38 million.
State Rep. Ken Fredette, the House minority leader, was instrumental in the original passage of the energy bill.
However, once that legislation made it to the state revisor’s office, one word was accidentally omitted from the bill language.
The absence of the word “and” grouped together two resources that should have been treated separately.
The mistake dropped an increase in funding to the Efficiency Maine Trust by $38 million.
Efficiency Maine provides financial incentives for Mainers to make their homes more energy efficient.
Last week, Democrats proposed a bill that would have simply added the word “and” back to the energy bill, but Fredette and other Republicans nixed that idea.
In addition to fixing the typo, Fredette’s bill will also make changes to the Governor’s Energy Office.
It will rename the energy office and put it under the control of a commissioner, making it a cabinet-level position.
“I think it’s important for me to put forward a piece of legislation which I actually think can be enacted. That means it has to get through a Democratic House, a Republican Senate, and then to have a bill that the governor can sign off on,” said Fredette.
The bill makes several other changes, including making the executive director of the Efficiency Maine Trust a nominee of the governor.
Some Democrats and Republicans say tying the funding fix to the other provisions is inappropriate and are pushing a separate bill that would simply fix the drafting error to aid Efficiency Maine.
“I think that there should be a clear demonstration of something not working before we make changes, and I think Efficiency Maine’s working well. There are multiple, multiple layers of accountability and oversight,” said Dylan Voorhees of the Natural Resources Council of Maine.