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E-M:/ Public Service Commission Concerned about Michigan Overloading!

Enviro-Mich message from David Wright <wrightd@voyager.net>

As Michigan debates restructuring the electric utility industry, the
utilities, the public service commission (MPSC), and the administration all
vehemently oppose energy efficiency -- reducing the amount of electricity
needed to meet a given need.  While most other states create and promote
energy efficiency, Michigan totally ignores it.  

Until push comes to shove and it looks like Michigan won't have the
electricity supply needed to meet demand, then the MPSC issues an "energy
efficiency" press release (see below).  So, instead of planning and
promoting an energy efficiency market, the MPSC issues the following press
release with the fervent hope that electricity demand (or the outside
temperature) will decrease enough so that blackouts or brownouts (power
interruptions in MPSC speak) do not occur.    

What's this got to do with Michigan's environment?  The days when
Michigan's electricity demand is greatest tend to be smoggy.  So when the
conditions are most favorable for smog, the utilities dirty old
grandfathered coal fired power plants are working overtime and producing
the maximum amounts of pollution making Michigan's smog problem worse.  But
instead of ensuring that demand won't exceed supplies by promoting energy
efficiency investments (and ensuring that the coal plants won't have to
work so hard, thereby reducing pollution), the MPSC is today asking you to
solve their lack of planning problem by turning up your thermostats......

By the way, the utilities have groups of energy efficiency engineers
assigned to industrial facilities throughout the state finding ways to
reduce industrial electricity consumption and costs.  The industrial firms
fought hard to stop Michigan's efficiency programs earlier this decade.
Now, that the programs have been killed for the majority of Michigan, the
utilities are still providing them to their biggest customers.  How's that
statement go, "What's good for GM, is good for....

                             MPSC PRESS RELEASE
COMMISSIONERS                                                 CONTACTS
John G. Strand, Chairman                                      Dorothy Wideman
David A. Svanda                                                Mary Jo Kunkle
Robert B. Nelson                                              (517) 334-6983

     LANSING, July 28.   Air conditioners are working overtime as soaring
are placing a heavy strain on electric systems in Michigan and throughout
the Midwest.  As
the heatwave becomes more widespread and lasts longer, individual utilities
become more
susceptible to power interruptions.  The Michigan Public Service Commission
joins Michigan's
electric utility companies in urging residential and business customers to
share the
responsibility of helping to avoid a power "crunch" by taking voluntary
steps to reduce their
electric use tomorrow.

     "Simple actions taken tomorrow may make the difference for Michigan
customers trying to keep cool," said Chairman John Strand. "We are asking
all Michigan
electric customers to do their part in reducing electric demand tomorrow,
particularly between
the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Voluntary actions taken now will
help Michigan's
electric utility companies and all Michigan customers weather this heat
wave and reduce their
electricity costs," said Mr. Strand.

     Here are some recommendations to help businesses and residential
reduce your electric use:

--   If you're away from home for the day or your business is closed, turn
off your central
     air conditioner or raise its setting above 78 degrees;

--   When home or at your business, raise the temperature on your central
air conditioner
     to 78 degrees or the highest setting comfortable.  Raising the
temperature just two
     degrees reduces your cooling costs by about 5 percent;

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