Natural gas was the topic of conversation in Bangor as the Action Committee of 50, a group of local business leaders, brought in experts to inform them about this energy source.”Maine has historically and continuous to be a state where people spend an awful lot of money for energy, whether it’s for transportation or for home heating. Our hope is that this opportunity provides us with some chance of bringing ourselves more in line with people we are competing and frankly allows people to keep more money in their pockets,” said Tom Welch, Chair of the Maine Public Utilities Commission. “Natural gas is extremely affordable. It’s domestic. It moves us away from foreign oil. Creates energy independence for us and it also has very green properties,” said Jerry Livengood, General Manager of Bangor Natural Gas. But the start up cost is not cheap.”Well the bottom line is that Mainers know they have more affordable options. It’s just expensive. That upfront capital cost to do the energy audit, put the insulation in, and convert to a more affordable energy system. $3,000-4,000, most Mainers don’t have that. The Governor’s plan is to take all of our state resources that we have today and help Mainers with rebates with price support to make those investments,” said Patrick Woodcock, Director of the Governor’s Energy Office. With lawmakers in Augusta discussing the governor’s energy bill, the aim of this meeting was to inform local business leaders.”Natural gas is a huge option for Maine. It’s not the only option. Wood pellets, heat pumps, more efficiency. All of these can dramatically reduce energy bills for the more than $3000 that people are spending today to about $2,000 which is about the national average,” said Woodcock. The action committee hopes to hold two more discussions this year with a focus on trade corridor logistics.The forums are free and open to the public.For more information, call the Bangor Region of Commerce at 947-0307.