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Re: E-M:/ Public Service Commission Concerned about MichiganOverloading! -Reply

Enviro-Mich message from "DAVE MERKEL" <48MERDAV@menasha.com>

Just to stick my nose a centimeter into this debate/discussion:

Most larger companies that plan to stay in business for a while know way more about energy efficiency than just about anyone on the planet, including environmental groups. For example, at my plant, we talk, each month at our P and L meetings; many times each year at our budget planning meetings; at our long term strategic meetings, etc., about energy efficiency (as well as raw materials efficiency, labor efficiency, etc etc etc). We know to the penny what our costs are each month, and in most cases, can pinpoint on a daily basis when one of them is going up or down, and what to do about it. We know what the settings are to maximize efficiency within a certain process capability. We also know, given what is out on the market, or likely to be foisted on the market in future, what buying new equipment and process capability might strategically do to improve efficiency. 

It is a simple equation. New technology + better operating procedures + better trained people = better efficiency + lower costs = long term survival. Q.E.D.

For example, we spent a paltry $30 Million dollars a few years ago to close down our older coal fired steam and electricity plant, and open a new state of the art gas turbine system. Now it does not make sense to spend $30 MM a year each time some slightly new marginally improved technology comes out, but as it is possible, it makes a lot of sense over time. We cut emissions vastly, and got much more efficient production of steam and electricity. We also bought the ability to make 20 meg a day of our own power, which makes us considerably less likely to be held hostage by the waves of change going on in the subsidized power industry.

One thing I will disagree with A.Friend on is that, yes, a large part of the pie is one of industrial efficiency (manufacturing as well as the power industry), however, just as with cars and water pollution, the general publics behavior  is a VERY LARGE part of the pie, and educating and expecting energy efficiency from Joe Q Public is not only the right thing to do, but if it is not done, is utter hypocrisy on the part of the public. The lessons being learned through TMDL's are a refreshing breath of fresh air, because they understand the entirety of the picture - it's not just industry, it's also the million people living and building and fertilizing lawns and driving cars and building roads and planting crops and feeding hogs.....that are all part of the problem - a large part of the problem. The issue is one of lifestyle - do we plan to ask the utilities to produce more energy to help satisfy our growing appetite, or do we find how to minimize our consumption? Each time we make a decision - in anything we do - we are taking something from the environment - its not free, there is a decision to be made and a consequence for every one of us - so then the decision becomes - am I going to do what least impacts the earth, or do I not care? And that goes for industries, utilities, as well as every Tom Dick and Mary Jane out there.

David Merkel

~ please note these are my ideas and opinions and do not necessarily represent those of the Paperboard Division, Menasha Corporation~

>>> "A. FRIEND" <greenscreen17@hotmail.com> 07/29/99 02:42pm >>>
Enviro-Mich message from "A. FRIEND" <greenscreen17@hotmail.com>

"Power Corrupts.  Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely"

SUPPLY SIDE - Getting rid of "dirty" coal plants is a good idea but it 
doesn't lessen consumer demand -- it only decreases supply.  The last time 
Michigan/U.S. government mandated "energy efficiency" on the producer/supply 
side we saw the development of nuclear energy.  We can discuss the pros and 
cons of nuke power regarding Michigan later.

DEREG IS GOOD - Also, you mentioned the proposed utility deregulation.  If 
you are familiar with the proposal, this is more of an economic debate than 
an environmental one. The existing environmental laws (adequate or not) will 
continue to apply to the production of power in Michigan under this 
proposal. Therefore, while the reasonableness of current standards is a 
healthy debate (PUN INTENDED) - it is separate from the question of who 
should be allowed to produce power once those standards are established.

This appears to be an effort to open the market beyond the current monopoly 
(and often dirty) providers.  You attempt to link this proposal with more 
pollution.  However, if we open up the markets beyond the current government 
protected monopoly we can get our energy from other states (that, in your 
opinion are much better at producing energy anyway)and lessen demand on the 
old coal plants.

Open markets reward those who can produce and deliver the most efficiently.  
Coal plants aren't efficient or clean which is why CP/Edison only crank them 
up when they run out of reserves.

DEMAND SIDE As far as "energy efficiency" on the consumer side - shouldn't 
voluntary efforts and public education be encouraged? There are some awesome 
opportunities (high efficiency light bulbs, furnaces, insulation, turning 
lights off and AC down, etc) that consumers are starting to support because 
it is in their own financial self interest. I will admit that if we 
deregulate, costs will go down, and it will be harder to convince consumers 
to cut back (however, there is still a natural economic incentive to cut 

EQUALIZATION OF CHASTISEMENT - Please be fair and hold all government in 
contempt.  It is both the state and FEDERAL government that created the 
current system.  I wonder if any of the grandfathering occured during the 
Blanchard/Dempsy Administration? I do not believe that MORE government 
planning is the answer.

YOU JUST CAN'T WIN, INC. Your criticism that the utilities provide energy 
efficiency consulting to industrial users is puzzling.  Given limited 
resources and increased pressure for "corporate responsibility", doesn't it 
make sense targeting those places where your biggest gains can be made?  I 
don't have the data, but I am sure GM uses more power in one day than I will 
use in five years.  While I feel good about the efforts I make at energy 
conservation - the largest gains are with the largest consumers.  Also, 
assuming the rumor about corporations caring only about the bottom line is 
true - - it makes sense to show them how to save energy.

Will and Adam Smith

>From: David Wright <wrightd@voyager.net>
>Reply-To: David Wright <wrightd@voyager.net>
>To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
>Subject: E-M:/ Public Service Commission Concerned about Michigan 
>Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 18:23:07 -0400
>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 
>David A. Svanda                                                Mary Jo 
>Robert B. Nelson                                              (517) 
>      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;
>ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
>and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
>Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
>majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info 

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and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

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