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E-M:/ A Green Candidate for the Great Lakes Energy Board

*NOTE - This is message is being forwarded to Enviro-Mich for Dave Frederick.  Any questions can be directed to him at his email address of;

freddy41d@netscape.net OR by phone at  (231 894 4535 or 616 745 7901).



My name is Dave Frederick and I am a resident of Montague, MI in Muskegon County. I am a member and supporter of Environment Michigan, Audubon, Sierra Club, Land Conservancy of West Michigan, and the Nature Conservancy. I also volunteer with and serve as a co-chair of the Earth Institute of West Michigan, a Sister Institute of the Portland, Oregon based Northwest Earth Institute.


As a West Michigan Lakeshore resident, I am a customer/co-op member of the Great Lakes Energy Electric Cooperative.  For the past couple of years I have been reading GLE’s Country Lines Magazine and have become increasingly frustrated by their weak support for energy efficiency measures and renewable energy while they concurrently voice strong support for new coal plants.


Some specifics of my campaign include:

  • I would encourage co-op initiated and supported energy efficiency programs. Some examples would be: 1.) a CFL for incandescent light bulb exchange; 2.) free or at-cost distribution of residential power meters (a device that provides consumers with a continuous reading of their Kwh energy use much like newer automobiles inform drivers of current mpg). There are utilities in Canada and Colorado that have implemented such programs. I have one on order and will take it with me to my first GLE Board meeting; 3.) discounts or credits for purchasing Energy Star appliances; and 4.) metering that allows customers to pay a lower rate for energy used during off-peak hours. While these programs would be somewhat costly to GLE, they would not be nearly as costly as the increased cost of energy purchased from Wolverine Energy resulting from the construction of new coal or nuclear generation plants.
  • I am strongly opposed to new coal and nuclear power plant construction.
  • I support net-metering policies that give consumers a fair credit for electricity fed back into the grid from solar, wind or other alternative energy sources.
  • I believe utilities should be developing more localized sources of electric power generation

The Electric Power Research Institute, (EPRI), a non-profit, utility-sponsored organization whose members include GLE and other electric co-operatives, states that, “energy efficiency is the most cost-effective, near-term option for managing electricity use, reducing the need for new power plants and lowering emissions of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, blamed for contributing to climate change.”  (See April, 2008 issue of Michigan Country Lines Magazine, Page 10). EPRI goes on to say, “virtually all electric co-ops provide energy efficiency education to their members” (GLE does this), that, “more than 40% offer services such as high-efficiency lighting systems, geothermal and air-source heat pumps, energy audits, insulation and ENERGY STAR appliances” (GLE provides none of these services). Some co-ops, according to EPRI, also provide load management services, direct control of appliances, advanced metering devices and other advanced energy efficiency technologies (GLE provides none of these). Finally, EPRI concludes, “The biggest bang from energy efficiency involves easing pressure on constructing new power plants.” GLE consistently contradicts this EPRI statement by supporting the construction of new coal plants.


Great Lakes Energy also claims to support the Michigan House passed legislation requiring all utilities to provide 10% renewable energy by 2015 and energy efficiency measures that reduce consumption by 1% per year by 2012, and beyond. Contradicting this support is their record of fighting for non-mandatory and the lowest possible standards. In addition they support language that will exempt electric cooperatives from these standards.


My dissatisfaction with GLE practices, prompted me to become directly involved with the Co-op’s management. During May and June I circulated petitions and qualified to be a candidate for the Great Lakes Energy Board of Directors. It is my hope that I can be elected and thereafter bring a more environmentally responsible perspective to the above issues. There are 124,000 GLE Co-op members. Based upon past election results, less than 5% of the members cast votes and I will need approximately 2000 votes to win one of the three open positions. I have asked for consultation and support from the environmental community and was recently encouraged by the news that the Michigan Chapter Sierra Club Executive Committee voted to support my candidacy.

GLE provides electric service to customers in 26 counties ranging from Emmet County at the Mackinac Bridge in the north to Allegan and Barry Counties in southwest Lower Michigan. The main counties serviced by GLE are Charlevoix, Emmet, Antrim, Otsego, Kalkaska, Crawford, Mason, Lake, Osceola, Oceana, and Newaygo. Counties partially served by GLE are Cheboygan, Clare, Montmorency, Missaukee, Oscoda, Wexford, Mecosta, Montcalm, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, Allegan and Barry. Since my petitions were certified on June 13th and the ballots were distributed in the July issue of Country Lines magazine (around July 9th) it has been a challenge to contact potential voters before they discard their magazine and ballot. The ballot deadline is August 21st. 


You must be a Great Lakes Energy customer to vote. If you are a customer the ballot is in the back of the July/August issue of the cooperatives magazine, Country LinesIf you are not a customer you can still help. Because the incumbents are deeply entrenched in these positions, with most of the nine members having held their positions for over 20 years, I am facing an uphill battle to take a seat from which I can speak for the environment and for sound energy policy. So besides voting, here's how you can help. Review your personal phone directory and your email address book for any friends, relatives, acquaintances or environmental groups. Send a support letter of your own or simply forward this email. I am attempting to use the power of the Internet to overcome the power of incumbency. Any help you can provide will be deeply appreciated.

Any questions you may have, I would appreciate an opportunity to discuss this with you in person or by phone (231 894 4535 or 616 745 7901).


Thank you!



Dave Frederick