Maine warms to new Web site

With winter approaching and heating oil prices higher than last winter, Maine's Gov. Angus King hopes residents will warm up to a new Web site promoting energy conservation.

The state site, aptly called BundleMeUp (www.bundlemeup.org), contains conservation tips on using oil and electricity, how low-income homeowners can receive grants to help pay energy bills, contact information for emergencies, and links to local, state, and national agencies, utility companies, and other resources.

Dan Simpson, spokesman for the Maine State Housing Authority, said the site is in direct response to the high home heating oil and kerosene prices that have "shot up" in the past several months. Currently, the price of home heating oil is about $1.40 per gallon, compared with last winter's price of 90 cents, he explained.

"People can't control the price of oil, but they can control how they save energy," he said, adding that about 60 percent of Maine households are heated by oil.

The state had an Office of Energy Resources during the energy crisis in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but it was eliminated after the crisis ended, he said. "This [Web site] is sort of a handy way to get out a lot of information," he explained, adding the site received 2,500 hits the day after it was announced last week.

The state also plans to distribute brochures and establish a toll-free number in conjunction with the Web site.

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