Energy Efficient Maine 

(AP) – A state program that encourages energy efficiency saved Mainers the equivalent of the annual electricity needs of nearly 11,000 homes last year.

That’s according to a report by the state Public Utilities Commission to the Legislature.

The report says the Efficiency Maine program reduced electricity use by more than 74 million kilowatt hours in 2006.

That helped avert the production of more than 320-thousand tons of carbon dioxide, a major pollutant contributing to global warming. The program’s effect on reducing carbon pollution was the equivalent of taking 7,624 cars off the road.

P-U-C Chairman Kurt Adams says that Efficiency Maine has helped safeguard Maine’s environment while helping thousands of Maine businesses, schools, towns and families save millions of dollars in electricity costs.

The program works with businesses, schools, municipalities and trades people to help them make energy-efficient choices, such as lighting upgrades and installation of more efficient refrigerators, that ultimately save money.

The report presented last week to lawmakers gives some energy-saving examples. It says lighting upgrades at B-and-M Baked Beans last year saved the Portland company nearly 136-thousand dollars.