April 17, 2019

President of the Maine Energy Marketers Association

BEFORE THE JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON Utilities, Energy, and Technology In Opposition to LD 1464.

Senator  Lawrence, Representative Berry, and members of the Utilities, Energy and Technology  Committee, my name is Jamie Py.  I am the President of the Maine Energy Marketers Association (MEMA). MEMA is a trade association composed of approximately 300 member companies and over 5,000 direct and 5,000 indirect people working in the energy delivery and service businesses delivering heating oil, biofuels, motor fuels, propane and kerosene and offering service and installations on the equipment that operates on these fuels. In addition, our members own many convenience stores throughout Maine who also employ approximately 10,000 Maine people. We also provide education and training to the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, weatherization, and energy auditing trades for hundreds of Maine citizens annually through our courses at our own state of the art training facility (MTEC) in Brunswick.

First of all, I had difficulty understanding this bill as the primary aspect is the definition of Beneficial Electrification. By reading the definition, I do not know what that means as the definition could mean almost anything. Since that definition is repeated throughout, the problems of overbroadness permeate the whole draft.

However, assuming this bill is focusing on electrification I would like to point out what electrification means. This bill, from what I gather, intends to shift customers away from my members, to the transmission and distribution utilities, CMP and Emera.

Today, with the short time I have I’d like to contrast the members that I represent with CMP and Emera and let you know what we are doing about emissions already.

I have been representing the members of this association for over 20-years and have really gotten to know the people in these businesses. It is the dedicated and wonderful people who work for and own these companies, my bosses – over 300 of them, who are the reason why I have stayed with them for this long.   Luckily my Board actually governs and the Board members are generally owners or senior managers of longstanding community iconic companies. Most of the companies are still family owned and operated. Companies like:

  • Daigle Oil Company in the county
  • VL Tammaro – Downeast
  • AE Robinson in Midwestern Maine
  • Maritime Energy in Rockland
  • Fabian Energy in Oakland
  • Augusta Fuel – Augusta
  • CN Brown – based in South Paris
  • Dead River Company – statewide, headquartered in South Portland
  • Gagnon and Sons in Berwick
  • Charlie Burnham Energy in Freeport

To name only a few.

This bill and other electrification efforts does mean moving away from the competitive marketplace to the guaranteed rate of return for foreign-owned T&D utilities. These electrification bills are broad attacks on my members, these existing Maine companies. In fact, I was with a CEO of a large member last week and she stated that her employees are getting tired of all the attacks on their business that seems to be coming from Augusta. There are over 5,000 direct employees and 5,000 indirect employees in the heating fuels delivery market. There are approximately 10,000 employees working in over 1,000 convenience stores throughout the State, most of which sell motor fuels.

These employees work tirelessly to keep people warm with products that are fairly and reasonably priced. There is also an informal network among these companies, the employees, social service agencies and safety personnel that keep vulnerable people from freezing. Much of what is done goes unnoticed and unpublicized. It is what we do as community participants. It is also done because it is all part of customer service, and customer service is critical in a competitive market.

On the emission side, the industry pushed ultra-low sulfur heating oil as a requirement for Maine. ULSHO is primarily for cleanliness of operation and not for carbon density reductions, there is the efficiency gains by using reduced scaling and much cleaner operation, The particulate and other emissions are extremely low and on par with natural gas and propane.

On the carbon intensity reduction front, the industry again is pushing for biofuels introduction and creation. Today’s heating oil contains up to 5% biofuel and can be blended under ASTM specs to 20% biofuels. This reduces carbon intensity. The goal is to be carbon neutral by 2035.

Just last week Biofine Northeast, a Maine company received a large grant from MTI to further along their wood to oil production. A liquid fuel that can be blended with and eventually supplanting petroleum-based fuels using the existing heating oil infrastructure.

In conclusion, this bill apparently seeks to push electrification.  For many years the energy goal was to broaden our energy mix. Now we are seeking to have Government direct energy choices from my members – stable, family owned local and competitive business – to only foreign-owned, guaranteed rate of return, questionable performance, T&D utilities. We should proceed with extreme caution.

Please Vote ONTP