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Maine braces for fuel shortfall (Chill Brrrrrrrr)
bangordailynews.com ^ | 9-30-05

Posted on 09/30/2005 8:22:32 AM PDT by SheLion

AUGUSTA - A legislative panel learned Thursday the Baldacci administration is preparing for fuel shortages and considering emergency state allocations to help prop up programs that provide relief from rising heating oil costs.

The Legislature's Appropriations Committee also was informed of shortfalls within one of the state's most popular heating programs that provides financial assistance to Maine's poorest residents.

Dale McCormick, director of the Maine State Housing Authority, asked lawmakers to consider an emergency funding request of $10.2 million from the state's General Fund to bolster insufficient federal revenues.

"This is not going to be a good year for Maine citizens who depend on the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program, otherwise known as LIHEAP, to ease the financial burden of buying fuel," she said.

In a related development, Gov. John E. Baldacci joined a group of 28 governors Thursday who signed a letter to congressional appropriators in Washington in support of a request for an additional $1.276 billion of emergency funding for LIHEAP. Baldacci emphasized that many families and businesses in Maine are facing difficult times as fuel prices rise. He said the cost of heating oil this year is nearly 60 percent higher than last winter, and a surge of applications is expected for the heating assistance.

"Congress must recognize that covering dramatic increases in natural gas and heating oil prices will pose an immense challenge for our citizens as winter arrives," the governors said in the letter. "Therefore, we encourage you to give strong consideration to the above requests."

McCormick said Maine's LIHEAP program served 46,450 families in 2004 compared to 45,000 families the previous year. The fuel assistance benefit averaged $478 in 2004 compared to $440 in 2003. Immediate emergency fuel benefits were extended in 2004 to 4,475 people under the program and averaged $232 per household. McCormick said the average household income for the LIHEAP participants in 2004 was $12,062.

Because of skyrocketing fuel costs and anticipated increased demand for benefits under the program, McCormick estimated that last year's $478 average benefit will drop to $420 without state intervention.

"I would urge you to consider a state appropriation for [$10.2 million] and what that would do upfront is to allow us to increase the base benefit," she said. "There is a chance that the federal government will allocate emergency appropriations to LIHEAP. If they do, that can be taken into consideration as well."

Jeff Green of the state Department of Health and Human Services said increased fuel costs were seriously jeopardizing two programs designed to get the department's clients to appointments. Volunteers who help transport the poor to and from medical visits, and friends and family who also assist state clients, are finding they no longer can honor their obligations.

"We're in a situation now where some providers told me this morning that they are literally down to zero volunteers who are willing to provide transportation services - they have no volunteers left that are providing that service," Green said.

Anticipating increased costs as state clients turn to taxis to provide the service once offered by volunteers, Green said the administration is proposing a rule change to increase volunteers' reimbursement per mile from 30 cents to 44 cents. Friends and family reimbursement would increase from 15 cents to 22 cents a mile.

"So compared to the cost of doing nothing, the cost of making the rate changes that we're talking about here will be approximately $1 million," Green said. "We plan to go ahead with this and we will [seek a] supplementary appropriation when the Legislature convenes."

Upon hearing from volunteers in Aroostook County that the Department of Health and Human Services was paying to transport children taken by the state for visits with their parents while telling those who need transportation for kidney dialysis or cancer radiation treatments that resources are drying up, Rep. Jeremy Fischer, D-Presque Isle, suggested the department should start prioritizing.

"Is it time to say that we're not going to do as much visitation stuff?" Fischer asked. "We're not delivering kids halfway across the state. The parents ought to be responsible for coming to visit their kids, no matter where the courts have put them, instead of just spending more money."

Green said Fischer's observations represented an "important policy question" that would "require further discussion" by the department.

Beth Nagusky, director of Maine's Office of Energy Independence and Security, said her agency was having tremendous success with state programs such as Operation Keep Maine Warm, which is expected to deliver winter weatherization services to 3,000 homes.

Still, with the statewide average cost of heating oil hovering at $2.49 a gallon and severely diminished refining capacity as a result of Hurricane Katrina, Nagusky said it was necessary for her agency to join forces with the state Department of Transportation and the Maine Public Utilities Commission to monitor all available fuel supplies.

"I don't want to have to overstate the case, but I do have to tell you that there are concerns about fuel supplies this winter - particularly natural gas, and because natural gas fuels 40 percent of electricity generation, [it] has raised concerns about electricity supplies," she said.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; US: Maine
KEYWORDS: emergency; fuel; funding; government; heating; home; liheap; shortages; shortfall
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Wood prices have also gone up. Can't win for losing.
1 posted on 09/30/2005 8:22:39 AM PDT by SheLion
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To: ME Conservative; spartan68; Madame Dufarge; busybody; Severa; SheLion; larryjohnson; Rocket1968; ...

Chill Brrrrrrrrrrrrr Ping.............


2 posted on 09/30/2005 8:23:28 AM PDT by SheLion (Trying to make a life in the BLUE state of Maine!)
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To: SheLion

3 posted on 09/30/2005 8:23:55 AM PDT by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: mewzilla

Yep! hehe!

4 posted on 09/30/2005 8:24:47 AM PDT by SheLion (Trying to make a life in the BLUE state of Maine!)
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To: SheLion

Harumph...

Thats what happens when you live in a place that has summer on July 4th and winter the rest of the year. [j/k]


5 posted on 09/30/2005 8:26:10 AM PDT by Adder (Can we bring back stoning again? Please?)
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To: SheLion
I would think more federal money for heating assistance is a foregone conclusion. There simply will be no way for a lot of people to absorb the extra cost.

If we can rebuild NO, we can certainly keep the poor and elderly from freezing or carbon-monoxiding themselves to death.

6 posted on 09/30/2005 8:26:41 AM PDT by Trust but Verify (( ))
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To: SheLion

And why should I care when people chose to live in such a cold part of the country?..(sarcasm tag for those who don't understand sarcasm)


7 posted on 09/30/2005 8:26:50 AM PDT by TXBubba ( Democrats: If they don't abort you then they will tax you to death.)
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To: SheLion

The American public is going to be very surpised to wake up one day this fall or winter and find out there's an immediate shortage. The MSM is too busy on its New Orleans witchhunt to inform the public on the coming energy crisis.

No, we're not DOOOOOMED, but now's a good time to start budgeting for some nasty winter gasoline and heating bills....


8 posted on 09/30/2005 8:28:02 AM PDT by Rutles4Ever (Stuck on Genius)
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To: SheLion
Wood prices have also gone up. Can't win for losing.

I think I'll hire someone to take down a few trees on my property and stock up.

9 posted on 09/30/2005 8:29:03 AM PDT by 1Old Pro
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To: TXBubba
And why should I care when people chose to live in such a cold part of the country?..(

I agree, and we shouldn't spend a dime on people who live in flood zones when they get flooed either. Not to mention people in California who live aon a fault line......:)

10 posted on 09/30/2005 8:30:31 AM PDT by 1Old Pro
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To: 1Old Pro

You have to leave my sarcasm tag on when copying my statement. I don't need to get flamed from those who don't realize I was being sarcastic. But while we are at it, I grew up in Oklahoma with tornados. I don't know why they should be left off the list.


11 posted on 09/30/2005 8:33:58 AM PDT by TXBubba ( Democrats: If they don't abort you then they will tax you to death.)
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To: 1Old Pro

OK blog searchers, need some help on this. How about we investigate the Kennedy family on this one. When Joe Kennedy left congress some years back it was noted he was going to run the family program, funded by the government to maintain heating oil at a low cost so in the event of a situation like this it could be released at a low cost to solve the problem.

The government pumps millions into the family for this so maybe someone can search the archives and pinpoint the story and we can get it surfaced.


12 posted on 09/30/2005 8:35:32 AM PDT by edcoil (Reality doesn't say much - doesn't need too)
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To: TXBubba
You have to leave my sarcasm tag on when copying my statement. I don't need to get flamed from those who don't realize I was being sarcastic. But while we are at it, I grew up in Oklahoma with tornados. I don't know why they should be left off the list.

Agreed, and all those people who get heat stroke in places like Chicago.

PLEASE NOTE, TXBubba and 1OldPro are ingaged in totally SARCASTIC bantor.

13 posted on 09/30/2005 8:37:04 AM PDT by 1Old Pro
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To: edcoil

Isn't RFK Jr. involved in some sort of heating co-op?


14 posted on 09/30/2005 8:38:41 AM PDT by 1Old Pro
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To: 1Old Pro

If I recall correctly the entire Kennedy clan foundation has fingers in the pie that is why I need some background help by the group to get this info. I know the kennedy family and its subsiderities make hundreds of millions of tax dollars for many projects they "manage".


15 posted on 09/30/2005 8:40:51 AM PDT by edcoil (Reality doesn't say much - doesn't need too)
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To: 1Old Pro

And it has been fun! Gotta run now though.


16 posted on 09/30/2005 8:42:57 AM PDT by TXBubba ( Democrats: If they don't abort you then they will tax you to death.)
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To: edcoil

bookmark


17 posted on 09/30/2005 8:43:27 AM PDT by vigilante2 (I'm part of the vast right wing conspiracy)
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To: SheLion

An old Texas folk song goes, Freeeeezzzzze a Yankee, Drive 75 and freeze'em alive!!!!!!!!!! Those states with refineries and oil & gas rigs need to have a separation tax as the product leaves the state. Freeze'em alive and tax'em high!!!!!!!!!


18 posted on 09/30/2005 8:47:31 AM PDT by right right
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To: vigilante2

heating oil sahould be illegal. Jimmy Carter told those people to convert their furnaces 30 years ago. Unlike autos, there are many other ways to heat houses, and there is time to throw up a windmill farm in Maine for this year. How is it that the so-called progressives of the NE are the least progressive in the country when it comes to enrgy?


19 posted on 09/30/2005 8:48:58 AM PDT by ClaireSolt (.)
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To: ClaireSolt
Image hosted by TinyPic.com
"Everything sounds fine to me."
20 posted on 09/30/2005 8:53:15 AM PDT by Old Seadog (Birthdays start out being fun. But too many of them will kill you..)
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To: 1Old Pro

For next year.


21 posted on 09/30/2005 8:54:36 AM PDT by Trust but Verify (( ))
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To: ClaireSolt

Noooo.... We don't want the NE to convert to natural gas! There isn't enough of that either, thanks to the environmental moonbats.


22 posted on 09/30/2005 8:57:44 AM PDT by Trust but Verify (( ))
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To: ClaireSolt

Noooo.... We don't want the NE to convert to natural gas! There isn't enough of that either, thanks to the environmental moonbats.


23 posted on 09/30/2005 8:57:47 AM PDT by Trust but Verify (( ))
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To: Trust but Verify
We don't want the NE to convert to natural gas! There isn't enough of that either, thanks to the environmental moonbats.

Soon we'll all be converting back to wood and coal. Let em choke on our smoke.

24 posted on 09/30/2005 9:04:33 AM PDT by Realism (Some believe that the facts-of-life are open to debate.....)
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To: SheLion

Must've been this thread :) Our furnace died this morning, just had the igniter replaced. Better now than later on, though.


25 posted on 09/30/2005 9:08:02 AM PDT by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: Realism

Oh yeah? You think so, huh? I wouldn't count on it. I loathe those people.


26 posted on 09/30/2005 9:10:18 AM PDT by Trust but Verify (( ))
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To: SheLion
My b-i-l says the price of a cord of mixed hardwood in his area in Maine is $350! That's insane! I thought paying $220 was high!

Too bad rocks don't burn. Lots of those everywhere in Maine!

27 posted on 09/30/2005 9:12:47 AM PDT by Trust but Verify (( ))
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To: SheLion
Some towns are already talking about raising taxes to cover heating the schools.

We've broken out a raft of quilts and lap blankets to air out. We have plenty of sweaters ready and we'll be keeping the thermostat in the 58/60 degree range all winter.

You don't suppose that all the federal, state, county and local offices, schools, firehouses and police stations will set their thermoststs a little lower, do you?

Way to simple for our elected and unelected betters, eh?

28 posted on 09/30/2005 9:14:30 AM PDT by metesky (This land was your land, this land is MY land; I bought the rights from a town selectman!)
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To: ClaireSolt
I remember when the price of natural gas drop very low, the gas company offered to take the oil tank for free..I decided to keep it and when the price of gas started to skyrocket again I switched back to oil

They have us surrounded
29 posted on 09/30/2005 9:16:15 AM PDT by vigilante2 (I'm part of the vast right wing conspiracy)
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To: TXBubba
And why should I care when people chose to live in such a cold part of the country?..(sarcasm tag for those who don't understand sarcasm)

Why should you care?  Why indeed, since you aren't from Maine.

Maine is a beautiful peaceful state.  And the further north you go, the more peaceful and safe it is.  At least we don't have to put up with huge fires like California and hurricanes like in the south. Plus..............terrorist cells that are springing up all over your part of the country and the rest of America!

Sure, we have rough winters, but our road crews are well equipped and the roads hardly ever close for a snow storm.

You might not have to worry this winter about heating your home with wood and coal, but don't come crying to me when your gasoline bills go through the rough.  Promise?

 

30 posted on 09/30/2005 9:16:18 AM PDT by SheLion (Trying to make a life in the BLUE state of Maine!)
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To: Adder
Sir, we have three (count 'em - 3) seasons up here:

Winter
Getting Ready For Winter
Almost Winter

31 posted on 09/30/2005 9:16:49 AM PDT by metesky (This land was your land, this land is MY land; I bought the rights from a town selectman!)
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To: Rutles4Ever
No, we're not DOOOOOMED, but now's a good time to start budgeting for some nasty winter gasoline and heating bills....

You got THAT right!  I lock in on my fuel oil every June for the coming season.  Thank God.  And it sure helps!!!

32 posted on 09/30/2005 9:18:11 AM PDT by SheLion (Trying to make a life in the BLUE state of Maine!)
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To: edcoil
"Young" Joe Kennedy's brother that was assassinated by the lone pine tree on the snowy knoll in Colorado was running the oil scam. When the kid got bumped, Joe found out what he was making off the scam that he (Joe) started and jumped right back into "helping the poor."

IIRC, there was a minor (burried) scandle about Nigerian crude.

33 posted on 09/30/2005 9:27:27 AM PDT by metesky (This land was your land, this land is MY land; I bought the rights from a town selectman!)
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To: Trust but Verify
I loathe those people.

People? People who burn or environmentalists?

34 posted on 09/30/2005 9:27:53 AM PDT by Realism (Some believe that the facts-of-life are open to debate.....)
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To: metesky

Or...
Wet mud
Dry mud
Frozen mud!
;0)
Ms.B


35 posted on 09/30/2005 9:30:00 AM PDT by MS.BEHAVIN (Women who behave rarely make history)
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To: Realism

EnvironMENTALists!


36 posted on 09/30/2005 9:35:21 AM PDT by Trust but Verify (( ))
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To: Old Seadog
He looks like the sheriff of Presque Isle, Maine.
37 posted on 09/30/2005 9:45:10 AM PDT by verity (Don't let your children grow up to be mainstream media maggots.)
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To: metesky

LOL...I know...

My Lady is from Maine...the tales she would tell!

Funny stuff like how there's not much difference between -30 and -50.

:]

Too bad....Maine is a pretty state.


38 posted on 09/30/2005 9:46:24 AM PDT by Adder (Can we bring back stoning again? Please?)
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To: SheLion

A-hem...but I believe Atta left for Boston via Portland International?

Were you able to lock in your oil? My mother-in-law was told they simply weren't going to do that this year.

Good deal if you could.


39 posted on 09/30/2005 9:50:29 AM PDT by Adder (Can we bring back stoning again? Please?)
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To: SheLion

As Maine has gone from being one of the country's most conservative states to one of the most liberal, it has tanked as the second poorest state in the country (after Mississippi). More than coincidence? You decide...


40 posted on 09/30/2005 9:52:45 AM PDT by pabianice
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To: Realism
"Soon we'll all be converting back to wood and coal. Let em choke on our smoke."

This will be the 5th year I'll heat my entire 1,703 ft home on just wood pellets. 3 Tons x $175.00= $525.00 try to heat a house in Connecticut for a year at that price.

41 posted on 09/30/2005 9:54:16 AM PDT by #1CTYankee (I thought about that and DELIBERATELY didn't go there. (Or maybe I did?))
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To: SheLion
We had the first dusting of snow over Labor Day weekend in Pocatello. Last week the first killing frost turned the tender leaves on the pumpkin vine black. The big leaves survived and the pumpkins are into the 20 lb plus range. I have a wood pile from taking down a 90 foot cottonwood tree two years ago, then a 70 foot one last year. Much of the wood is too big for the woodburning stove. It is VERY tough wood. My axe bounces off of it. I'm going to have to rent a hydraulic splitter for a weekend to make that stuff usable. The house has natural gas/forced air heating. In years past, the gas bill has topped out at $182 in January. The typical bill in July is $6. Water and electricity bills peak in summer.
42 posted on 09/30/2005 9:54:54 AM PDT by Myrddin
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To: metesky

Ol' Alaskan joke:
"Yes there are 4 seasons, Winter, June, July and August."


43 posted on 09/30/2005 9:57:55 AM PDT by dakine
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To: dakine; cardinal

This is all a puddle of guano. There's global warming and that's all we need. Algore said so.


44 posted on 09/30/2005 10:07:59 AM PDT by Ax
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To: SheLion
Let them Mainers heat with wood. They got no oil and send democrat politicians to Washington. Good nuff for em.

Just kiddin Lion.

45 posted on 09/30/2005 10:10:06 AM PDT by cynicom
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To: #1CTYankee
$525 per year

Nice! I've got a lifetime supply of wood on my property, so I just need to make the necessary changes and investment to run a wood boiler in-line with my NG boiler.

46 posted on 09/30/2005 10:11:45 AM PDT by Realism (Some believe that the facts-of-life are open to debate.....)
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To: dakine

Maine has two seasons, nine months of winter and three months of tough sledding.


47 posted on 09/30/2005 10:13:15 AM PDT by cynicom
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To: SheLion
We've been looking at these: www.harmanstoves.com.

They look pretty interesting.

48 posted on 09/30/2005 10:13:39 AM PDT by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: Realism
Soon we'll all be converting back to wood and coal. Let em choke on our smoke.

I have been heating with a big wood furnace with a oil back-up since we moved up here.  Wood is dirty but it sure is a good warm heat.

49 posted on 09/30/2005 10:34:21 AM PDT by SheLion (Trying to make a life in the BLUE state of Maine!)
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To: Trust but Verify
My b-i-l says the price of a cord of mixed hardwood in his area in Maine is $350! That's insane! I thought paying $220 was high!

I paid $110 a cord last year.  I bought 6 cords.  And the price went up this year.  I think the woodsmen knew the oil was going up so they are cashing in on it as well.  Sucks.

50 posted on 09/30/2005 10:36:15 AM PDT by SheLion (Trying to make a life in the BLUE state of Maine!)
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