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Reminder to consumers and fuel dealers about deadline in Maine law regarding pre-paid home heating contracts
Department of Professional and Financial Regulation
Commissioner Anne L. Head from Maine's Department of Professional and Financial Regulation issued a reminder about the Oct. 31 annual-report filing deadline for fuel dealers who registered earlier this year to offer pre-paid contracts this heating season.
Intended to provide greater protections to consumers who use pre-paid home heating contracts, LD 1895, An Act To Protect Consumers by Strengthening the Laws Governing Prepaid Home Heating Oil Contracts, became Public Law, Chapter 574, in March of 2012. The new law responds to several examples in recent years of dealers failing to supply fuel, leaving the consumers without oil and unable to recover their money.
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MHPC's newest board member
Maine Heritage Policy Center
The Maine Heritage Policy Center, Maine's preeminent free-market think tank, announced today the election of Mrs. Jinger Duryea, president, C.N. Brown Company to Chair MHPC's Board of Directors.
"Jinger will bring energy and enthusiasm to MHPC at a critical time for the state of Maine. Under her leadership, I am confident that MHPC will continue to grow and advocate fiercely for economic freedom," said MHPC's outgoing Chairman Peter Anania.
Anania served as Chairman of the Board of Directors from January 2012 to Oct. 14, 2014. Duryea joined MHPC's Board of Directors in May 2007.
FMCSA amends hours rules for fuel haulers in emergency situations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has finalized changes to federal safety regulations that will allow certain state-issued emergency declarations to supersede federal hours-of-service regulations.
The agency's regulatory amendment — which was published in the Federal Register Oct. 22 — will exempt drivers hauling home heating fuels of compliance with federal hours-of-service limits when states of emergency are issued during fuel shortages.
Fuel Board votes against modern wood pellet technology
From Maine to Alaska, thousands of people are staying warm affordably using wood pellet boilers that have been safely and competently installed by technicians trained here in Maine. Yet Maine is the only jurisdiction that we've encountered that regulates the installation of pellet boilers by requiring technicians to have a "solid fuel" license.
This licensure was established scores of years, perhaps a century, ago to regulate huge primitive coal and wood boilers. It has nothing to do with today's modern wood pellet technology. It's akin to the difference between an icebox and a refrigerator. This misclassification has caused unnecessary hurdles for these advanced boilers to enter and become common in the market.
Summit Natural Gas asks to meet with Maine regulators on $150,000 sewer drilling fine
The Bangor Daily News
Summit Natural Gas of Maine has requested a meeting with state regulators over a recommended $150,000 fine stemming from state inspections that found the company damaged sewer lines during pipeline installations in the Kennebec Valley.
An attorney for the company said in the request that the company "takes the [Maine Public Utilities Commission's] allegations and concerns very seriously" and that it has already implemented some of the commission's recommendations.
Tribe objects to LNG project site in Maine
EnergyWire via Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects
A site in far northern Maine where developers hope to build a liquefied natural gas export terminal would disrupt a sacred spot known as "Pulpit Rock," according to a local tribe that hopes to halt the project. The Passamaquoddy Tribe shares its name with Passamaquoddy Bay, where the LNG terminal is proposed for construction near the border with Canada. The group has long opposed a plan to import LNG at the site.
Pipeline 'consumer' advocates are gas industry insiders
A new group that claims to advocate for consumers by pushing for natural gas pipeline construction as a way to cut rising electricity costs is made up of industry insiders.
Anthony Buxton, general counsel and spokesman for the Coalition to Lower Energy Costs, is a registered energy industry lobbyist in Maine, where he represents Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a Kinder Morgan Energy Partners subsidiary that wants Maine ratepayers to subsidize a proposed natural gas pipeline from New York to Dracut. However, Buxton said he is not involved in the Massachusetts project.
Oil, natural gas prices confound New England
The Associated Press via Construction Equipment Guide
Pipeline bottlenecks that drove up natural gas home heating prices in New England last winter could cause trouble when the weather again turns cold, but oil prices that once climbed to record territory continue to fall.
That unusual sequence of events — higher prices for natural gas prices, which is promoted for its cost advantage relative to oil that's falling in price — was detailed by the U.S. Department of Energy's recent annual outlook. The wild card is the weather and how cold this winter will be.
Utilities may limit new natural gas connections
The Boston Globe
Short supplies of natural gas tied to limited pipeline capacity have already led to spiraling winter electricity prices across Massachusetts.
Now the same shortages may force some gas companies in Western Massachusetts to turn away new heating fuel customers and restrict how much additional natural gas existing commercial customers can use if they expand operations.
Propane powers Sanford school bus fleet
School has been in session for a couple months now, and since the beginning of the school year students in Sanford have been riding to class in style.
This fall the district received 31 new propane powered buses which replaced their old fleet of diesel buses. The move was made to save money and to be more environmentally friendly.
Disability lawsuits against small businesses soar
Small business owners face a growing number of disabled-access lawsuits in the wake of a recent appeals court ruling giving rise to disabled "testers," as well as the release of detailed federal specifications for curb ramps, self-opening doors and other standards, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. For the year through June 30, plaintiffs filed 1,939 lawsuits under a section of the federal disability law setting out accessibility requirements for businesses and other public places. That's up nearly 55 percent from the year before says WSJ, according to the law firm that reviewed court records.
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