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what's maine going to do

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by control1, Sep 2, 2008.

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  1. control1

    control1 Member

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    Very few people can afford to pay $800 to $1000 per month this is more like a rent as opposed to an energy bill with oil . I have read that 80% of maine heats with oil what in gods name are the people going to do. Not everyone has the money to drop 3 grand on a stove this is a serious situation.If someone has social security of say 15k per annum how the hell can you pay 3-4k for heat and real estate taxes of not sure in maine but I pay 6k in Pa . People are hurting if your not count your blessings, this is going to be a tough winter for all in maine.I went to home depot today to get some elec outlets I had a guy in front of me who was close to 70 looking to fill out an application I just thought please not me.I can see how this can happen everything has gone up except the income, market is in the garbage.I just say god bless Maine hope you can find a way through this.

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  2. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    Its called fuel assistance.....to the tune of at least 5.1 billion and rising yearly. Not to mention last year the state kicked in 5 or 10 mil along with other various outlets that are giving large amounts of money. Hard on them? Most definitely. Also alot of Mainers that are below a certain income(which the cap is fairly high)....qualify for a property tax refund up to 2000. Lots get the max. if they are on SS. And if you rent you get a rent refund of that amount. So there is things out there....its not all leaving people in the cold. Mainers are pretty generous in watching out for each other and so are the towns and state. Its a democrat state so theres always someone spending $$ on social issues.
  3. oliver5528

    oliver5528 New Member

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  4. fishy

    fishy New Member

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    I am a social worker in central Maine and am VERY aware of the potential upcoming crisis. We had many landlords walking away from their buildings last year as they couldn't afford to heat their buildings, and the price of oil has only gone up. Homeowners, whether on fixed incomes or not, are scared. And heating assistance doesn't do much these days, may buy one months worth of oil if you are lucky. Many do not qualify as the guidelines are NOT that high - a family of 3 is only allowed to make $17,600, just under $1500/mo. If your oil bill is $700/mo, that doesn't leave much left over once taxes are taken out and you buy a few groceries. I know I am worried, hence we are getting a pellet stove and I am taking a second job to make ends meet. It is a bad situation, and I very concerned about those that will be too proud to ask for help and resort to dangerous ways to heat their homes.
  5. strangemainer

    strangemainer New Member

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    Do what I did and put a stove on a credit card!! No payments or interest for a year!!

    But seriously, people will be doing some stupid stuff this winter, like burning the house down, and afixocating (sp?) themselves!
  6. fishy

    fishy New Member

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    Strangemainer- that is exactly what I'm worried about- people will do what they have to do to stay warm. I'm not even sure how I'm going to pay for my stove yet - will likely need to take out a loan- thank god I have good credit!!
  7. strangemainer

    strangemainer New Member

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    I think in the long run, you and I fishy did the right thing, even if you can afford it now, if you have good credit, finance it
    and make payments when you can, or work another job. It sucks but what are you gonna do? freeze?

    Ive got a 1yo running all over the house also, Im not going to let him get frostbite!
  8. tubbster

    tubbster Member

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    Won't be confined to just Maine.
  9. Ossy

    Ossy New Member

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    Nice post...consider these issues as well before you start placating to the lower income group:

    a. The upper income folks can afford it....the lower income will cry a river and receive their LIHEAP and other assistance
    b. The taxes in Maine for the middle income folks is insane to say the least....considering an income tax rate of 8% for any amount over $30k something a year....most of the wealthy people just visit this state in the summer from Florida and therefore avoid the taxes...the lower income group, they get all the tax money that they paid in and then some through state assistance...run the tax numbers and see for yourself
    c. People will survive...they always seem to manage....I think the bleeding heart aches need to recognize history of our forefathers who didnt have the modern luxeries of today...

    Bottom line, I am concerned about the welfare of others ...however, I need to take care of my family first before I can help others....I cannot continue to pay the tax burden that this state imposes and surely others in the state are in the same boat.........however that may change in the near future as more people will tend to migrate out of Maine to more prosperous areas....either Maine will reform itself and evolve...or they will wither away economically....buth then again most politicians want the people to be dependent upon government so they can feel empowered.....just my 2 cents worth

    Ossy
  10. mkmh

    mkmh New Member

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    Very good post and excellent points all the way around. Ossy, it sounds like we may be in a similar boat shouldering a pretty big tax burden which sure makes it hard to ahead...and even makes it tough to keep up at times. There are days where I look at what i'm paying in state taxes (property, income sales) and I seriously consider heading back to NH. As it is i'm in a border town and I talk to NH people all the time that think i'm crazy for living here (just because of the taxes). Realistically, the tax policy definitely keeps some high earning NH folks out of the state, and makes young college educated people flee the state as well.
    What is really frustrating is that Maine does not seem to deliver VALUE for taxes we pay in. I know....most everyone would say that about their state govt, but Maine seems to be particularly inept at all levels.
    For the heating crisis issue, how about a little forward thinking?!? Why not provide large tax credits towards the price of a pellet or wood stove? How about looking into pellet heating for the schools? If we were just a little more progressive we might ultimately lower the amount of dollars needed in the LIHEAP program and help reduce the cost of operations in schools and govt offices. How about a 4 day (four tens) work week for government workers (particularly in the winter time). Shut down some of the biggest least efficient buildings once per work week in the winter.

    At the end of the day I can live with the taxes, but it is a real kick in the nuts to see how poorly my hard earned money is spent. Also, to Ossy's point, I think some people need to toughen up as well. It is a huge insult when I see a low income family with a 47 inch LCD TV in their living room, yet they're taking advantage of the LIHEAP program. Obviously this isn't everyone, but it is fair to say that there is quite a bit of abuse of govt. assistance programs.
    Same thing goes at the federal level too. Stop spending my frickin money on foreign entanglements! If we weren't at war all the time there would be plenty of money to invest in education, infrastructure, alternative energy and responsible social programs.

    Anyway, i'm sure there will be some tragedy in Maine this year as people burn their houses down and do silly things trying to keep warm. This is unfortunate and sad, but what can you do to save people from themselves? The situation is a result of a failing of state and federal government, but will also be a failing of individuals who are not paying attention to the state of things. Perhaps when people get a little uncomfortable this winter they'll ask the question..."How did this happen?" and they'll demand change in government OR (perhaps even better), start figuring out how to improve their personal situation so they're not back in this same boat NEXT winter.

    </end rant>
  11. Steveo

    Steveo Member

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    Loc:
    Maine
    My neighbor is a single woman who is a hard worker. Last year she got a third job just to keep her house heated. I wonder what she is going to do this year? I am glab I have installed my pellet stove and have four tons sitting in the shed.
  12. mkmh

    mkmh New Member

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    Tough times call for tough choices. I would sell my house and move the family to a tiny apartment before I had to work 3 jobs to heat the place. Working 3 jobs is no way to live, unless you in fact love those 3 jobs.
  13. control1

    control1 Member

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    The paycheck does not buy as much groceries as last year I can see why some people have to work 2 and 3 jobs.One good thing
    is Gustav was not as bad as expected oil is down $7 a barrell the lowest since April maybe it keeps dropping thats almost 6 %
    in 1 day.These high energy prices are destroying the economy as it increases the cost of everything.
  14. gw2kpro

    gw2kpro New Member

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    I think a good question people need to ask at the polls next time around is how much work / investment the Maine legislature has EVER made in alternatives to oil heat. Not too many states are so heavily dependent on a single form of energy as is Maine on heating oil.

    Talk about backwards. We'll spend millions on helping people out when (which is a necessity when this kinds of stuff happens) but zip on encouraging development / ensuring it doesn't become an annual occurrence. Wouldn't it be encouraging to see someone go after developing access to the natural gas pipeline that already runs through the Bangor area? (the gas is already in our backyard, but the average homeowner can't get it) How about offering some sort of incentive to install pellet stoves / boilers? (ESPECIALLY since pellet usage stimulates our LOCAL economies and provides LOCAL jobs)
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Just got my electric bill - 18 cents a KWH now, probably close to the price of oil......

    This is what we asked for, and this is what we get. You cannot elect leaders who care about just the rich, big corps, oil and gas interests, etc.....and then not expect what you deserve! All in all, we have seen the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world.....from the USA (in general) to the middle east, china and multi-national corporations (oil, gas, defense, etc.)....

    Hey, it's what you (we) wanted, it's what we get.........I feel really bad for those whose choices are minimal. But, the new rule in this country is "sink or swim, every man for himself", and if that is what the majority of voters want, that is what will be. Personally, I am more into the "brothers keeper" myself.

    "The Economy" means nothing in the vast scheme of things. Billionaires like the Waltons, the Bushes, etc.......they have their fingers in the middle east and chinese pies - they are doing just fine, thanks.

    We do need a revolution in this country - albeit a quite one (hopefully), because the average person are getting screwed, glued and tattooed (and they have been taught to enjoy it).
  16. control1

    control1 Member

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    There must be a strong oil lobby in washington.I saw some big wig in maine coming out and saying the buning of pellets is bad for the air. this guy was hired by the oil dealers who are losing their customers in droves. Simply put people are getting off oil because they cannot afford it.
  17. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Luckily for "cash" buyers, oil is coming down - way down! This will help with the heating season if it holds.

    The real question is whether our next administration will put energy at the top of the agenda and really do something about it. The real oil lobby is not the oil heat dealers, it is GW, Cheney, Kingdom Holding company, etc.....they don't have to lobby anyone since they are in charge!

    It will be a GOOD thing when the oil companies HAVE to lobby again for their interests. As it is now, they simply have to pump and sell (over $60-75 a bbl, they are in excellent shape).
  18. MoeB

    MoeB New Member

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    I totally agree. The American people have reaped what they have sown. I just wish there were two prices, one for those who voted these criminals into office and one for those who didn't. Let us vote for at least a little bit of change this time around. For the cost of the war, we could have had solar panels, wind turbines, and pellet stoves or wood stoves for every American. They've won no matter how you look at it. They win through corrupt contracts in Iraq and Afganistan and through the high energy prices. They are laughing all the way to the bank. The trillions of dollars that went missing from the Pentagon the day before 9/11/01 has still not been accounted for.
  19. mkmh

    mkmh New Member

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    It is unfortunate, but until people start feeling some real pain then they likely will not wake up and figure out what is going on. What we've been feeling the last few years is steadily increasing discomfort....or decreasing comfort. People are starting to get annoyed for sure, but it clearly isn't enough to bring about the peaceful revolution.
    Hate to say it, but we need to be more like the europeans. Something bad happens in their govt and they are flocking to the streets in protest. In this way the masses do have real power. In this country we seem to be far less likely to complain, as long as our personal situation is mostly ok, we are content to hang in there and hope for better days ahead.

    Like Craig said. We've gotten what we've asked for. Cut way back on the social safety nets and pursue an aggressive (expensive) foreign policy that pushes our way of life around the globe. That type of thinking has never worked before, but perhaps if we keep at it we'll start seeing dividends some day.
  20. mkmh

    mkmh New Member

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    Amen. I'd love to hear how anyone could look at it any differently. We have lost in Afghanastan, Iraq, and "the war on terror" is not something you can win.
    Whether it is tomorrow or 20 years from now, we will have to withdraw our troops...and when we withdraw our troops the sh!t will hit the fan. Classic d@mned if we do, d@mned if we don't. At a certain point one would think we will quite literally not be able to pay the bills for these wars (not even on credit), and I have to think that isn't to far off. So even if we want to stay and spread freedom and what not, we (quite literally) will not be able to finance these efforts.
  21. control1

    control1 Member

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  22. gw2kpro

    gw2kpro New Member

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    The big kicker with that has yet to come. A whole bunch of people aren't going to be able to pay for their oil this year. So they are either going to freeze to death or they are going to use a bunch of electric space heaters. They'll rack up electric bills to the tune of $1000 a month and not pay them. They'll get shut off next May but the electric company isn't going to eat all the debt in those bad accounts -- they'll simply raise the rate on everyone else, who has already paid their bills in full all year.
  23. DiggerJim

    DiggerJim Feeling the Heat

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    Careful how you read what was written. It says 15 million people are "in danger" of getting their utilities cut off. That doesn't mean they will. Nor does it provide any data on what would be considered "normal" so there's no way for this to be a meaningful piece of information.

    Also, the article features a link to another that touts a variety of alternatives that are rehashes of old chestnuts. Their data seems woefully out of date - pellets averaging between "$120 and $200" a ton. It's been awhile since we saw $120/ton prices & if that's any kind of average then there'd have to be a lot at much less than that price. It also says wood heat isn't as sustainable as solar or geothermal. Well, duh! Although one could ask how sustainable the electric generation required for the heat pumps associated with geothermal is....or where they found a geothermal installation for between "$5,000 and $10,000". The going price here in central CT is running more like 30-$40,000. It also refers to an average "22%" increase in natural gas prices in comparison to a 31% average increase in oil. If that's true, it's gonna take a long time to make up for the $7,000 they project for conversion. (And we've seen a 35% increase in natural gas prices already here in CT.)

    Not disputing that things will be hard for some folks, but we also shouldn't run off making personal or public policy decisions on flawed or missing data. I try to teach my kids to apply just a bit of critical thinking to stuff they hear in the media or read on the Internet. If we don't we are in danger of Chicken Little Syndrome.
  24. mkmh

    mkmh New Member

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    I agree 100%. The media makes its living on printing nothing but the shocking doom and gloom.
    Clearly there will be some people that will have hard winters, but I don't think it is going to be Maine's version of hurricane Katrina. We have lots of warning here....people should be planning, and those plans should not always involve "how do I get get more money from the govt".

    One statement that stuck out for me was...
    -------------------------
    Moffi said Vermont's LIHEAP was able to provide an average benefit of $1,362 last year, which covered roughly 54% of an average household's heating costs for the year.
    -----------------------------
    54% of an "AVERAGE" household's heating cost?!? IMO -- If you are taking advantage of LIHEAP you should not be living in an "average" home. Not trying to be unsympathetic, but I sure hope these programs have some checks and balances to make sure we're not subsidizing some people living beyond their means.
    I'm fine with chipping in for the family of four living in a 600 square foot trailer....but I don't think it is reasonable to ask tax payers to make up for people's poor choices.
    I don't expect everyone to be as thrifty as me, but I am heating 2100 square feet (family of 4) for about 1300 per year, including hot water for the whole year. If you need more than 1000 bucks from the government to stay warm this winter then someone from LIHEAP needs to take a closer look at your situation before cutting you a big check. No subsidies should be given for people living in big old drafty houses. If you can't afford to heat it then you need to downsize!
  25. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Or at least you need to winterize and upgrade - there are also programs that help with this.

    Frankly, though, consider that fuel costs have hardly even been relevant for 40 years or more - and so people tend to continue living in the same houses they always did. Maybe they retired or lost their job - or, maybe they were downsized (like everyone else) and now make $8 an hour instead of $18.

    They can't move because they cannot even qualify for another mortgage nor pay the costs involved (realty commissions, etc.).....

    So, yes, some programs are a stop gap. Just like child foster services...etc. No one can claim they are ideal or perfect, but it is a matter of getting folks through the hard times while we continue to work toward the longer term goals (more insulation, etc.).

    Very few, if any, of the big oil companies have stepped forward to help.

    A strange day (now) when the USA has to rely on Chavez so people don' freeze!
    http://www.citgoheatingoil.com/
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