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Amid rush to switch to natural gas, Maine contractor shuts down
Portland Press Herald
A contractor who hooked up homes in the suburbs north of Portland to natural gas has gone out of business, leaving an undetermined number of customers who had paid in advance to have their home heating systems converted without apparent recourse to recoup their investment, according to municipal and business officials.
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UPDATE: Natural gas utility urged to help Cumberland customers failed by contractor who went out of business
The Forecaster
Days after the abrupt closing of a Howland contractor handling natural gas connections in Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth — which could cost many would-be customers the deposits they paid for the service — town officials implored the gas utility to take a hand in resolving the matter. Town Manager Bill Shane is among officials urging people who have paid Dave Ireland Builders the deposits — which he said have ranged between $1,000 and $3,000 — to contact Summit Natural Gas with their complaints, and to also contact the Maine attorney general's office with as much information about the matter as possible.
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Summit Natural Gas, closed contractor come under fire
Portland Press Herald
When the sales representative from Summit Natural Gas of Maine discussed Peter Sillin's options for converting to the cost-efficient fuel, only one contractor came up: Dave Ireland Builders LLC. In addition to referrals from Summit itself, David Ireland marketed his services directly to homeowners by offering a dozen hours of free insulation work, and state and private rebates. He also distributed mailers showing his company's logo next to Summit's under the banner "Your partners in energy efficiency."
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Insurance Topics



MEMA's Health Trust enters 3rd year without a rate increase — no plan changes
MEMA
The MEMA Health Trust will be renewing on 1/1/15. In the past two years there has been a rate decrease and a rate hold. Again for 1/1/15 there is yet another rate hold unheard of outside the trust. Are you struggling with age-banded rates? Do yourself a favor and look at the Trust's plan designs and rates where there is no age banding. There are four PPO Plans through Anthem as well as a two dental options (rate reduction in 2015), vision and life. MEMA handles all the billing for you, helps solve Claims issues and helps you with compliance. Give us a census, and we will give you a quote. Call and ask for Robin at 207-729-5298 for more info.
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Workers Compensation Self-Insured Trust to return $150,000 to its members
MEMA
Once again the Trust will be releasing just before Christmas a total of $150,000 to its members. Two years ago $750,000 was released. Historically since 1994 the trust has returned approximately $4.5 million dollars in surplus to its participants! This remarkable record is a testimony to the commitment made by participating companies to work hard at increasing workplace safety and reducing the incidence and severity of workplace injuries by implementing safety programs and other safety measures which have directly resulted in an improved loss record.
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Legislative Updates



Aggressive and fraudulent marketing guidance
USDOT / Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
FMCSA is aware that motor carrier officials and new entrant applicants often receive confusing or misleading solicitations from service providers or third party administrators by telephone, email, text and U.S. Mail. These businesses are able to get your company's information because when you submit an application or update your information with FMCSA, your basic carrier information is publically available. However, the services offered by these companies are neither authorized nor sanctioned by FMCSA.
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Obama doesn't support Senate push to approve Keystone pipeline
The Associated Press via Portland Press Herald
President Barack Obama doesn't support a Senate push to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Nov. 18, hours before a scheduled vote. Republican leaders promised to take it up again next year if the Senate fails to advance the measure, or if Obama vetoes it.
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Hudson-based Fuller Oil bankruptcy hearing to proceed
Nashua Telegraph
With several thousand Fred Fuller Oil & Propane Co. customers owed $7 million in home heating fuel and about 100 Fuller employees' jobs hanging in the balance, a federal bankruptcy judge recently agreed to allow an expedited hearing on the proposed sale of Fuller's assets to proceed Nov. 24.
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Maine utility regulators split on new fee for natural gas pipeline capacity
Bangor Daily News
As natural gas industry executives noted that the Northeast received more than half of $19 billion invested nationally in pipeline expansion this year, Maine regulators moved a step closer to authorizing a new fee on electricity customers to help pump more natural gas to the region. The level of buildout in the last year illustrates one moving target in the case that advanced recently after a 2-1 vote by the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
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Portland attorney's opinion on raising minimum wage: It's legal but risky
Portland Press Herald
Portland Mayor Michael Brennan's plan to create a citywide minimum wage is both constitutional and a cause for concern, according to a memo from the city's top attorney. Corporation Counsel Danielle West-Chuhta wrote that the city has legal authority to create its own minimum wage that is higher than the state and federal minimums of $7.50 and $7.25 an hour, respectively, under the home-rule clause in the Maine Constitution. But West-Chuhta expressed other legal and practical concerns, including enforcement.
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 MEMA Special Events

Date Event More Information
Dec. 2-4 December Dealer Meetings Falmouth, Augusta, Bangor + Caribou



Industry Headlines



New England may face scheduled blackouts due to poor natural gas supply
WGBH-TV
Both of our region's primary electric utilities have announced double-digit rate increases in recent weeks, leaving some residential customers wondering how they'll pay an extra $30 a month or more. But beyond the rate hikes, New England is in the midst of an energy crisis. It's facing serious questions about the future of its energy supply.
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Summit Natural Gas of Maine celebrates Weatherization Day, helps local homeowner
Bangor Daily News
Summit Natural Gas of Maine, Dave Ireland Builders and Efficiency Maine celebrated Weatherization Day on Oct. 30 with a celebration of energy savings for this year's selected homeowner Laralei Duarte of Farmingdale. She was the lucky recipient of a Weatherization Day enhanced energy package that includes improvements to her insulation and assistance in converting her home to natural gas.
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Convenience Store News



Massachusetts town drops tobacco ban proposal
NACS
Recently, Westminster, Massachusetts' three-member board of health abruptly dropped a controversial proposal to ban all tobacco sales. This decision comes a week after a public hearing was forced to shut down early due to hundreds of angry residents seeking to comment on the proposal.
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LAST WEEK'S MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Workers Compensation Self-Insured Trust to return $150,000 to its members (MEMA)
Fred Fuller deal pending, but consumers should file claims to protect their interests (New Hampshire Public Radio)
Maine should not subsidize liquified natural gas (Portland Press Herald)
MEMA Directory and Buyers Guide is going digital! (MEMA)
Liberty Utilities agrees to gas pipeline deal (New Hampshire Business Review)

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 Intern, 469.420.2612  
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