An Act To Improve Efficiency Maine Trust Programs To Reduce Heating Costs and Provide Energy Efficient Heating Options for Maine's Consumers
Sec. 1. 35-A MRSA §3210, sub-§9, ¶B, as amended by PL 2011, c. 314, §1, is further amended to read:
Sec. 2. 35-A MRSA §10103, sub-§2, as enacted by PL 2009, c. 372, Pt. B, §3, is amended to read:
(1) The director of the Governor's Office of Energy Independence and Security;
(2) The director of the Maine State Housing Authority; and
(3) Seven members appointed by the Governor, reviewed by the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over energy matters and approved by the Senate. Among these 7 members must be persons who adequately represent the interests of commercial energy consumers, industrial energy consumers, small business energy consumers, residential energy consumers and low-income energy consumers; among these members must be persons with knowledge of and experience in financial matters and consumer advocacy and who possess substantial management expertise or knowledge of or experience with conservation fund programs, carbon reduction programs or energy efficiency or climate change policy. The requirements of this subparagraph may be met through the appointment of one or more persons who satisfy more than one of the requirements, as long as at any one time the 7 members include among them members who adequately represent the identified interests and who posses possess the required knowledge, expertise and experience.
Appointed trustees serve 3-year terms. If an appointed trustee is unable to complete the term, the Governor shall appoint a replacement for the remainder of the unexpired term.
Sec. 3. 35-A MRSA §10104, sub-§4, ¶B-1 is enacted to read:
Sec. 4. 35-A MRSA §10104, sub-§12 is enacted to read:
Sec. 5. 35-A MRSA §10108, as enacted by PL 2009, c. 372, Pt. B, §3, is repealed and the following enacted in its place:
§ 10108. Liability
Sec. 6. 35-A MRSA §10110, sub-§2, ¶K is enacted to read:
Sec. 7. 35-A MRSA §10111, sub-§2, as enacted by PL 2009, c. 372, Pt. B, §3, is amended to read:
The assessments charged to gas utilities under this section are just and reasonable costs for rate-making purposes and must be reflected in the rates of gas utilities.
All funds collected pursuant to this section are collected under the authority and for the purposes of this section and are deemed to be held in trust for the purposes of benefiting natural gas consumers served by the gas utilities assessed under this subsection. In the event funds are not expended or contracted for expenditure within 2 years of being collected from consumers, the commission shall return the value of those funds to consumers by appropriate reductions in the assessment collected pursuant to this subsection.
Rules adopted by the commission under this subsection are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.
Sec. 8. 35-A MRSA §10121, as amended by PL 2011, c. 314, §§2 to 4, is further amended to read:
§ 10121. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Resource Fund
The trust may allocate funds pursuant to subsection 1, paragraphs C, D and F from the fund to most effectively meet the objectives of the triennial plan pursuant to section 10104, subsection 4.
Rules adopted under this subsection are routine technical rules pursuant to Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.
Sec. 9. Report. The Governor's Office of Energy Independence and Security or its successor shall provide to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over energy matters by January 15, 2013 a report of its assessment of the Efficiency Maine Trust's effectiveness in delivering natural gas conservation programs pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 35-A, Section 10111. The assessment must include, but need not be limited to:
1. The annual cost of the natural gas system benefit charge on the average residential, commercial and industrial customer;
2. The number of programs operated by the Efficiency Maine Trust that are designed to benefit natural gas customers in the service territory of the natural gas utility that is assessed the natural gas system benefit charge; and
3. The proportion of the natural gas system benefit charge that is delivered as benefits to customers and the proportion that is expended on administrative costs.
Sec. 10. Efficient heating equipment report. The Efficiency Maine Trust shall report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over energy matters by March 31, 2013 its findings and recommendations relating to efficient heating options for residential and small business consumers. The report must be based on the results of the Efficiency Maine Trust's competitive heating equipment innovation project, low-income heating equipment installations and any other relevant research or activities conducted by or available to the trust. The report must include information on the cost-effectiveness of different heating equipment options and whether and to what degree the Efficiency Maine Trust's programs are assisting consumers in this State in improving the efficiency of their heating systems. The report must include a description of what constitutes efficient electric heating equipment and provide any findings of the Efficiency Maine Trust regarding the effectiveness of emerging electric technologies, as well as any findings regarding efficient use of oil, gas, wood or other fuels. The report must identify any market barriers or impediments to consumers installing more efficient heating systems, as well as any administrative, funding or policy barriers affecting the Efficiency Maine Trust's ability to assist consumers in installing efficient heating systems. The report must specifically identify options for any changes in statute or rules needed to provide loans or utility on-bill financing to consumers for efficient heating equipment.
Sec. 11. Pilot program. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in accordance with this section, a transmission and distribution utility may develop and implement, upon approval of the Public Utilities Commission, a pilot program within its service territory to measure the effectiveness of efficient electric heating systems and may advertise the availability of its pilot program to its customers.
1. Approval; rate-making treatment. A transmission and distribution utility must submit its proposed pilot program to the Public Utilities Commission for approval. The commission shall examine the proposal and, if it finds the proposal is reasonably designed and consistent with the provisions of this section, shall approve the pilot program. For rate-making purposes under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 35-A, chapter 3, the commission shall treat the activities of a transmission and distribution utility under an approved pilot program as regulated activities of the utility.
2. Program elements. Under an approved pilot program, a transmission and distribution utility:
3. Measurement and analysis; report. Each transmission and distribution utility that implements a pilot program under this section shall measure and report to the Public Utilities Commission by November 15, 2013 on:
The Public Utilities Commission shall analyze the reports submitted under this subsection and shall submit those reports, together with any analyses, findings or recommendations of the commission related to the reports and the pilot programs to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over energy matters by January 15, 2014.