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New England gets windfall from plummeting heating oil
The Associated Press via The Boston Globe
The region that relies most heavily on heating oil to stay warm is getting a windfall from the big drop in prices, which have plummeted to the lowest level in six years. Across New England, lower prices mean hundreds of millions of dollars in savings, putting more money in people's pockets and giving the region an economic boost. Families using oil to heat their homes can expect savings of $1,200 to $1,500 on average this year from lower heating oil and gasoline prices, officials said.
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Legislative Updates



Outgoing PUC Chairman Tom Welch reflects on 15 years guiding energy policy in Maine
MaineBiz
Tom Welch's departure as chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission on Dec. 31 — two years before his term was set to expire — removed a highly regarded utility regulator at a critical moment when rising electricity costs and a regional natural gas "bottleneck" are creating additional economic uncertainty for Maine businesses. Nominated by Gov. Paul LePage in March 2011, Welch previously served two terms as PUC chairman from 1993 to 2005, when he played a leading role in the restructuring of Maine's electric utility industry. He's been supportive of expanding natural gas lines in Maine and the region.
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Obama administration moves to create first methane limits for gas drilling
The Associated Press via PennEnergy
The Obama administration recently said it will issue the first regulations to cut down on methane emissions from new natural gas wells, aiming to curb the discharge of a potent greenhouse gas by roughly half. The rules join a host of others that President Barack Obama has ordered in an effort to slow global warming despite opposition from Republicans that has only hardened since they captured both house of Congress. Although a small component of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, methane is far more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
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Senate Keystone debate to delve into climate, oil exports
Politico
The Senate's recent vote to start the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline bill has opened the legislative floodgates for the new GOP Congress, with members on both sides of the aisle set to unleash a torrent of politically sensitive energy amendments on issues such as crude oil exports and climate change.
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Senate Democrats look to tweak bill on Keystone XL oil pipeline
The Associated Press via PennEnergy
Democrats plan to use Senate consideration of the Keystone XL oil pipeline to get Republicans on the record about climate change and to resurrect parts of a bipartisan energy efficiency bill doomed by pipeline politics last year. But Republicans readied additions of their own, such as lifting a ban on crude oil exports. Other possible tweaks could attempt to ban exports of oil sent through the pipeline or force the pipeline's builders to use American-made steel.
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MEMA Technical Education Center - MTEC



Why should you choose a career in HVAC?
MEMA
Whether it's job security and great benefits you are after, or you are just ready for a career change, take a moment to Explore the HVAC Industry to determine if this is a good career fit for you or someone you know. The future looks bright for HVAC!
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2014 MTEC students and alumni appear in WMTW channel 8 commercial
MEMA via Facebook
WMTW and MTEC came together to create two great new commercials, both featuring current 2014 MTEC students and some well-recognized alumni! Be sure to follow MTEC on Facebook to stay current with breaking news, course announcements and more interesting videos!
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MTEC propane night classes
MEMA
A very limited number of seats remain in February's Propane + Natural Gas night classes, beginning Feb. 10! Online registration is the fastest and easiest way to ensure your seat is held.
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Industry Headlines



Panel: Maine needs increased natural gas supply to keep up with competition
The Bangor Daily News
If Maine's largest employers and companies are going to thrive, the state needs to increase its supply of natural gas, according to utility and business officials who attended a recent event focusing on how energy issues are holding back Maine's economy. The Action Committee of 50 hosted a panel discussion at the University of Maine at Augusta's Bangor campus stressing the need for boosted natural gas capacity in Maine.
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EIA: Market expectations of oil price uncertainty have increased in recent months
PennEnergy
December was the sixth consecutive month in which monthly average Brent crude oil prices decreased, falling $17/barrel from November to a monthly average of $62/bbl, the lowest since May 2009. The December price decline, and its continuation into early January, reflects continued growth in U.S. tight oil production, strong global supply, and weakening outlooks for the global economy and oil demand growth.
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Major gas pipeline plan continues to change course
The Daily Times Chronicle
A new high-pressure gas transmission pipeline mapped out to run from upstate New York to coastal Massachusetts will, if approved by Federal authorities, impact Middlesex East communities like Tewksbury, Wilmington, Lynnfield and North Reading. A new study by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources claims without additional gas supply, the state will be hard-pressed to meet the energy needs of the area.
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Convenience Store News



C-store cigarette sales soar in late 2014
CSP Daily News
The year 2014 ended with a bang, at least in terms of convenience store cigarette volume: Nielsen data showed combustible cigarette dollar sales were up 4.4 percent in the four week period ending Dec. 20, 2014, compared to being up 2.2 percent in the previous month and down 2.6 percent last year. Perhaps more impressive? The boon wasn't just due to a 3.4 percent increase in pricing but that unit sales were also up by one point.
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US shale industry will survive new era of lower oil prices
By Lucy Wallwork
It's no secret that global oil prices have fallen dramatically from $115 last June to settle around $50 this month, a downward trajectory spurred on by oil cartel OPEC's November decision to maintain its own output. But is this the beginning of the end of the U.S. shale revolution, or just a bump in the road? Unless oil prices drop more dramatically, the evidence suggests the latter. But given the importance of the shale revolution to the American economic recovery, and to America's sense of resurging geopolitical power, it could be a painful bump.
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Insurance Topics



Federated Insurance partners with J.J. Keller to offer expanded selection of risk management strategies
Federated Insurance Companies
Federated Insurance is excited to announce a partnership with leading transportation, safety, and compliance professionals J.J. Keller & Associates Inc.® to offer Federated clients another source of employee risk management training for any type or size of business. As of Jan. 1, Federated clients can access an extensive library of complimentary streaming videos and computer-based training. Clients simply log in to Federated's Shield Network® and enter required user information for instant access to nearly 500 Training on Demand videos and interactive learning courses.
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LAST WEEK'S MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    With gas and heating oil prices down, things seem to be looking up (Morning Sentinel via Portland Press Herald)
Amid fueling issue, Portland schools reopened Friday (WMTW-TV)
Ambitious plans become Maine contractor's downfall (Portland Press Herald)
Is it true that low gas prices hurt the economy? (The Daily Signal)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.

 



MEMA Randoms
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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Christina Nava, Content Editor, 469.420.2612  
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