October 23, 2022
Augusta, MAINE –
Maine small businesses and nonprofit organizations will soon receive a one-time electric utility account credit of more than $2,000 to provide relief from increased energy costs. This relief is the product of legislation sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Aroostook, and signed into law by Governor Mills.
The program, created by LD 2010, Resolve, to Help Certain Businesses with Electricity Costs offers tiered relief based on electricity usage, and aims to assist small businesses and nonprofits in Maine facing increased costs due to volatile global energy prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Funding for the credit is provided through the Governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, through funds allocated by the Legislature for small business relief.
“Increases in the cost of energy are hurting Maine small businesses, and we are stepping up to help,” said Governor Janet Mills. “This utility credit will provide more than $2,000 in relief to help small businesses deal with higher energy prices, delivering a small measure of relief for our business owners. We will continue to do all we can to help Maine businesses and Maine people deal with high costs.”
In September, qualified medium commercial customers of CMP and Versant were invited to apply to claim their credit.
“In the middle of an energy crisis driven in part by conflict oversees and corporate greed, we must do everything we can to help small business owners and every day Maine families. This starts with the tiered energy credit for eligible small businesses,” said Senate President Troy Jackson. “Though there is no silver bullet or perfect legislative solution that we can adopt at the state-level, I’m hopeful that this credit will provide some much-needed relief to the convenience stores, locally-owned grocery stores and dairy farms that need it most — businesses with higher energy burdens that are an essential part of rural communities like mine.”
The value of the electric utility account credit is based upon electricity usage as billed on invoices issued by CMP and Versant in February, when businesses saw a significant spike in energy costs. Most eligible small businesses – approximately 97% – will receive a credit valued at $2,324. A small number of commercial customers that were billed for using more than 50,000 kilowatt-hours will receive a credit valued at either $4,647.99 or $6,197.32.
“As I’ve met with businesses across the Bangor Region, I’ve consistently heard about how high energy costs are adding a significant burden at a time when many are still recovering from the effects of the pandemic and challenges associated with increased costs of goods and labor shortages,” said Deb Neuman, President and CEO of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce. “I’m grateful that President Jackson and the Mills Administration recognized the need for relief from this challenge and worked to make assistance available to the businesses affected the most.”
This new program builds on actions taken by the Mills Administration to reduce costs for Maine people and businesses grappling with increased prices for heating fuel and electricity driven by volatile global fossil fuel markets. Those actions include:
· Successfully pressing for increased funding for Federal heating assistance programs to help Maine households with oil bills this winter;
· Securing a one-time bill credit of $90 for tens of thousands of low-income customers of Central Maine Power and Versant;
· Providing $800 in heating cost relief to nearly 13,000 low-income households to help pay for high energy costs;
· Providing up to $1,400 in tax relief for eligible low- and middle-income Maine families and seniors;
· Funding programs to increase energy efficiency in schools and public buildings through the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan;
· The Governor’s Energy Office has updated its winter heating resource guide to help Maine people and families take action to save money, improve their home’s energy efficiency, and find heating assistance. It is now available on the Governor’s Energy Office website and as a downloadable (PDF).
The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the Governor’s plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to improve the lives of Maine people and families, help businesses, create good-paying jobs, and build an economy poised for future prosperity.
It draws heavily on recommendations from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the State’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy, transforming them into real action to improve the lives of Maine people and strengthen the economy.