The Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) is seeking applications from eligible Maine energy intensive manufacturing businesses for disbursements from Maine’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Trust Fund to off-set the costs of electricity. The MPUC is authorized to disburse up to $2.5 million from the RGGI Trust Fund to Affected Customers (as defined below) by this fall.

Today is the deadline for Maine’s transmission and distribution (T&D) utilities located within ISO New England (ISO-NE) to send out notices to their customers who take service from the utilities’ transmission or sub-transmission system to inform them that they may be eligible for funding if they satisfy the statutory criteria and submit a funding application to the MPUC by the deadline.

Applications for funding must be submitted to the MPUC on or before Thursday, August 10, 2017.

Background

In 2016, the Maine Legislature enacted “An Act to Reduce Electric Rates for Maine’s Businesses” (2016 Act).[1] The 2016 Act was designed to off-set the electricity costs of certain eligible energy-intensive Maine manufacturing businesses by authorizing the MPUC to disburse up to $3 million per year from the RGGI Trust Fund to manufacturing businesses located in Maine that meet the statutory eligibility criteria (referred to as Affected Customers).

During its 2017 session, the Legislature enacted “An Act to Establish Energy Policy in Maine” (2017 Act),[2] which amends the original 2016 Act in a variety of ways. Among other things, the 2016 Act amends the existing statute to spread the funding out over an additional year by changing the funding disbursements from $3 million each year, to $2.5 million in fiscal year 2017-2018, $2.5 million in fiscal year 2018-2019 and $1 million in fiscal year 2019-2020. The amendment also makes it clear that the transfer and disbursement of funds from the RGGI Trust Fund to the MPUC shall be made only to the extent that the funds are available.

Eligibility Criteria

The RGGI Trust Fund money disbursed under the 2016 and 2017 Acts are only available to Affected Customers. In order to qualify as an Affected Customer, your business must be a T&D utility customer that:

  • Is located in Maine
  • Is not primarily in the business of selling electricity
  • Is an energy intensive manufacturer as defined in U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports or is otherwise found by the MPUC to be an Affected Customer
  • Receives service at a transmission voltage level (44 kV or more) or a sub-transmission voltage level (34.5 kV or more) within the transmission system administered by ISO-NE

An applicant may establish that it is an energy intensive manufacturer by demonstrating that they have a North American Industry Classification System code (NAICS code) that is identified by the EIA as energy intensive manufacturing. NAICS codes that begin with 31, 32, or 33 are classified as manufacturing. According to the EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2017, energy intensive industries include food, paper, bulk chemical, glass, cement, iron and steel, and aluminum products.[3]

An applicant may propose other metrics to demonstrate that it is an energy intensive manufacturer, but the applicant must provide sufficient documentation and backup materials to allow the MPUC to evaluate and verify the customer’s eligibility for Affected Customer status.

The funds disbursed by the MPUC will be allocated among Affected Customers in proportion to their retail purchase of electricity (in kWh) during the prior calendar year. Affected Customers that use their entire disbursement toward an energy efficiency measure approved by the Efficiency Maine Trust (EMT) will receive matching funds from EMT for the measure.

Applications for Funding Due August 10, 2017

In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria, to be considered as a funding recipient an Affected Customer must also apply to the MPUC for funding by August 10, 2017. Click here for information regarding the application process, including the MPUC’s Request for Applications and the Standard Application Form.