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When you plug in a space heater, you’re using electricity. That’s energy. When you turn up your thermostat, you’re using wood pellets, heating oil or natural gas to fire up your furnace. That’s energy.

Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

It’s good to conserve, but at some point the house has to be heated and the car has to get you to work.

Unfortunately, energy costs too much in our state, and for four consecutive years my concerns about high energy have fallen on deaf ears in the Legislature. It’s time we do something about it.

Think of your monthly electric bill, and think how much it costs to heat your home or small business. Electricity bills average $80 a month per household, and our heating costs are over $3,000 a winter. My administration is trying to reduce these costs, especially as we head into cold weather.

When businesses turn on their machinery, they use an enormous amount of energy. Think about how much electricity a paper mill uses every single day or how much energy it takes Bath Iron Works to build a ship. Now imagine what their monthly bills are.

When your bills get too high, you adjust your household budget to make up for those costs. You may cut back on going out to eat or hold off buying new coats and boots for the kids.

You might pile on the blankets and turn the heat down. Unfortunately, some families will fall behind on their bills—or even their mortgage—so they can keep the lights on and the house warm.

Just like families do, businesses also cut back to make up for energy costs. Some mills shut down for two or three months in the winter. Other companies have only one place to cut. They reduce hours for some workers, and others are laid off permanently and close like we’ve seen in Millinocket, Old Town and potentially Bucksport.

I hear from employers all over the state who are struggling with the high cost of energy. Last week, Woodland Pulp in Baileyville and Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor told us their energy costs are holding back future business growth.

But liberals think everything is fine. They say the cost of energy in Maine is lower than the rest of New England. They fail to mention that Maine’s costs are 12th highest in the nation.

We are not competing for investment and jobs only in New England. This is a global economy. Competitive energy costs will attract employers from around the world that can provide career jobs to Mainers.

Now, with winter bearing down on us, businesses are about to experience a catastrophic increase in electric bills.

Unfortunately, there is little hope for relief. That’s because Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick halted efforts to lower energy costs for New England.

He bowed to the liberals who want higher energy costs, and he backed out of an agreement that would expand natural gas infrastructure, expand access to hydropower and lower energy costs.

What’s even worse, is that Maine’s own Congresswoman Pingree and Congressman Michaud voted against expediting natural gas into Maine.

Without this infrastructure in Massachusetts, there’s no way for a big enough pipeline to reach Maine and northern New England.

Governor Patrick, Congresswoman Pingree and Congressman Michaud may stoop to special interest groups, but it’s my job to do what’s best for Maine families and businesses. That’s why we asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to step in and address rising energy prices.

This is a real crisis, and we need action now. Hard decisions are being made in households across our state, and it’s time New England wakes up and works to lower our costs for energy.

We asked FERC to fast track approval for expanding infrastructure and to allow natural gas storage, which will prepare Maine for when Massachusetts finally joins New England’s effort.

So when you hear us talk about energy, please realize that we are talking about families, businesses and jobs. High energy costs drive away businesses, kill jobs and hurt Maine families. It’s bad for the economy.

That’s why I will keep fighting to lower these costs for Mainers—even if out-of-state liberals try to stop me.

Thank you for listening.

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