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MEMA Day on the Hill
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MEMA Technical Education Center - MTEC



BY POPULAR DEMAND! MTEC offering additional Propane Basic Principles and Practices class
MEMA
May 4 - 5. Space is very limited - Register today!
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FREE Mitsubishi training in Brunswick!
MEMA
Join Roger Willett of Mitsubishi for a 3-hour training seminar on cooling and heating:
Friday, March 27, 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Click here for more information.

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Coming to MTEC in May 2015: Save up to $500 on our 40-Hour Heat pump Training with Efficiency Maine Rebate!
MEMA
The class takes place on May 18-22 at 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., with Instructor Roger Mitchell.
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Legislative Updates



Maine regulators slash cap on spending for energy efficiency programs
Portland Press Herald
The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted 2-1 recently to restrict funding for energy efficiency programs, drawing harsh criticism from environmentalists and Democratic lawmakers who said the decision would result in higher electricity bills for Maine homeowners and businesses. The ruling means funding for Efficiency Maine will be capped at $22 million a year instead of the $60 million that legislators said they intended to spend on helping Maine homeowners and businesses make their properties more energy-efficient. The decision not only affects homeowners, but paper mills, hospitals, ski areas and other energy users.
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Maine regulators' ruling could wipe out heating system upgrade funding
Bangor Daily News
Programs that help Maine homeowners and businesses pay for heating system improvements could be on the chopping block if a decision capping funding for the Efficiency Maine Trust goes unchanged by the Legislature. Michael Stoddard, executive director of Efficiency Maine, said on March 18 that the Maine Public Utilities Commission's 2-1 vote to cap one source of his agency's funding at about $23 million per year is less than half what he expected.
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For Efficiency Maine, the word 'and' made a $38 million difference
Portland Press Herald
One missing word in the Legislature's 2013 energy law will reduce funding for energy efficiency programs for homeowners and businesses across Maine by up to $38 million. A single omission of "and" in the 11,633-word law led the state Public Utilities Commission to recently determine that funding for the Efficiency Maine Trust will be capped at $22 million for the fiscal year beginning in July 2016, rather than the $60 million the Legislature apparently intended.
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Maine PUC chairman defends vote to limit energy efficiency funds
The Associated Press via Sun Journal
The chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission says he followed the language of the law when approving a rule that could limit funding for efficiency programs. Environmentalists blasted the decision to put a roughly $25 million cap on one source of funding for Efficiency Maine Trust, which supports programs aimed at cutting electricity usage and costs.
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Top House Republican says he'd work to restore $38 million to Efficiency Maine
Portland Press Herald
House Minority Leader Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, recently said that he is willing to work with Democrats on legislation to restore $38 million to Efficiency Maine for funding energy conservation in Maine homes and businesses. Fredette's offer came two days after two members of the state Public Utilities Commission refused to consider lawmakers' intent or a one-word omission in an 11,633-word energy law and voted 2-1 to cap Efficiency Maine funding at $22 million for the fiscal year beginning in July 2016, rather than the $60 million the Legislature apparently intended.
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Michael Cuzzi: The PUC should be independent from the governor's office
Portland Press Herald
For most people, the Maine Public Utilities Commission is an obscure entity of unknown importance. But the commission's work is of immense and far-reaching consequence. Operating like judges, the commission regulates electric, natural gas, telecommunications and water utilities, setting rates and service standards, as well as monitoring safety and reliability. Put simply, the PUC determines how our utilities operate, the revenues they collect and, importantly, the bills we pay.
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Fracking: US tightens rules for chemical disclosure
The Associated Press via Portland Press Herald
The Obama administration recently said it is requiring companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal lands to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, the first major federal regulation of the controversial drilling technique that has sparked an ongoing boom in natural gas production but raised widespread concerns about possible groundwater contamination. A rule to take effect in June also updates requirements for well construction and disposal of water and other fluids used in fracking, as the drilling method is more commonly known.
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Maine posted road exemption and application for exemption certificate
MEMA and Maine Department of Transportation
Be careful what you wish for, we all have been asking for a REAL winter and we got one. And when this winter ends, whether that is March or April, the next season Maine Energy Dealers will have to cope with is mud season, or drivers refer to it as posted road season.

Maine does have an exemption to roads posted with "HEAVY LOADS LIMITED" signs under the provisions granted in Title 29-A M.R.S.A., Section 2395 rules and regulations restricting heavy loads on closed ways. Any vehicle transporting home heating fuel (oil, LP, coal, stove size wood) to a private customer may apply for an exemption certificate.

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Industry Headlines



Peak oil price? Winners and losers at the end of the era of the $100 barrel
Forbes
What if the world never again sees sustained prices for oil over $100 per barrel? What if — absent exogenous black-swan events like major wars — oil never sells for much more than $50 per barrel for decades into the future? Who wins? Who loses? Short answer: The winners are consumers everywhere, and American businesses that produce oil. The losers are nations that are oil monocultures, and businesses or policies everywhere anchored in expensive oil.
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Summit officials cite cost obstacle in getting gas to Winslow
CentralMaine.com
Town councilors grilled representatives from Summit Natural Gas for nearly an hour on March 18, demanding to know the reasons for the delay of a planned natural gas expansion this year and a new time line for when Winslow residents could expect the company to supply gas to the town. The company's answer to the first question was that the cost to connect Winslow across the Kennebec River was unexpectedly high, and demand from residents was lackluster.
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US subsidies energize foreign corporations
Watchdog.org
The U.S. may have the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, but large companies are reaping billions of dollars in subsidies from Uncle Sam. And the biggest beneficiary isn't even an American firm — it is the Spanish utility giant, Iberdrola. Since 2000, the federal government has given $68 billion in grants and special tax credits to businesses, with two-thirds going to large corporations, according to a new report.
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Saudi Arabia doesn't get it: There is no American 'energy policy'
Yahoo Finance
Crude prices tumbled more than 2 percent recently after Saudi Arabia's oil minister on said his nation won't unilaterally cut production without cooperation from both other OPEC members and non-OPEC nations alike. Oil prices have bounced from the initial decline but the comments reinforced Saudi Arabia's intent to hold the line on production.
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Excitement over Mexico's shale fizzles as reality sets in
Maine Public Broadcasting
The prolific shale formation that has made people rich in South Texas doesn't stop at the Rio Grande, as U.S. maps seem to indicate. "The geology doesn't change when you cross that little 20-foot-deep river," says Brandon Seale, president of San Antonio-based Howard Energy Mexico. "What goes on 10,000 feet under the river is the exact same." The geology continues on into northern Mexico, part of the vast, undeveloped oil and gas fields that are estimated to contain some of the largest reserves in the world.
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PHMSA pushing for increased pipeline safety amid US energy boom
By Ross Lancaster
During the last five years or so, the U.S. has seen a big increase in oil and gas pipeline mileage and total barrels. While this boom has undoubtedly helped the U.S. to become one of the world's largest oil and gas producers once again, the added infrastructure and billion more barrels means that more chances exist for potentially fatal accidents. To address the safety concerns, initiatives and goals for pipelines, three expert professionals spoke at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Safety Forum at NACE Corrosion 2015.
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Convenience Store News



Maine lawmakers hear opposing arguments on bills to charge for disposable bags
Portland Press Herald
On Monday, March 23, Lawmakers heard lengthy testimony on bills that would make Maine the latest state to charge consumers for disposable plastic bags. The Legislature's Environmental and Natural Resources Committee held the hearing roughly three weeks before Portland will begin requiring retailers to collect a nickel for each disposable plastic or paper bag customers take at the checkout counter.
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LAST WEEK'S MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Maine posted road exemption and application for exemption certificate (MEMA and Maine Department of Transportation)
Coming to MTEC in May 2015: Save up to $500 on our 40-Hour Heat pump Training with Efficiency Maine Rebate! (MEMA)
Saudi oil advisor: Forget the conspiracy theories — here's the real reason OPEC didn't cut oil production (Business Insider)

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MEMA Randoms
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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