In partnership with Efficiency Maine Trust, the OPA collected information from 68 homes that already participate in a heating energy assistance program. The study found that only four percent of the homes surveyed have central air conditioning equipment. Many of them rely on space heaters and other heat sources, which can be costly and dangerous.
"It causes public safety issues also," said Maine Public Advocate Barry Hobbins. "So that's the other underlying issue behind this whole process."
Hobbins says the next step is to find funding to back programs that will help low-income homes cut energy costs. The full report will be available to lawmakers in the near future.
"This will be available to all legislators and we will be holding orientation sessions during the first of the sessions," said Hobbins. "We hope that some legislation can come from this."
Hobbins also says education on the issue is very important.
"Education is the most important process and everyone needs to participate in that," said Hobbins. "I think the utilities have to participate in it, the communities have to participate in it."