Asking for trouble
I wanted to take the opportunity to comment on your recent editorial in the August issue of Power Engineering, “We`re asking for trouble.”
As a government contractor supporting an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voluntary program aimed at the utility industry, it was refreshing to see someone speaking out against the stagnation that has enveloped the utility industry. Many utility decision makers have steered clear of any programs or initiatives that require future commitments. Their excuse is always the same–uncertainty regarding industry restructuring.
The program I support is the Energy Star Transformer Program. Simply, this is a three-year voluntary program that encourages electric utilities to purchase and install high-efficiency distribution transformers (i.gif. amorphous or silicon steel). In exchange for their commitment, EPA offers utilities cost-saving technical tools and materials, technical support and assistance, and marketing support through PSAs, bill stuffers and Energy Star logo use.
Currently, more than 25 utilities have agreed to work with the EPA on this program. Many of the participants are already procuring energy-efficient transformers and will continue to do so in the future. In our continuing marketing efforts, we constantly encounter utilities that are hesitant to commit to a voluntary program (even if theyare already complying) becauseof deregulation.
EPA has often addressed this concern by stating that in future competition, the reliability of autility`s transmission and distribution system is going to be paramount to the utility`s success. Your words echoed this sentiment. The decision by a utility to continue to purchase lower cost, inefficient transformers is going to result in increased energy losses. Even worse, the decision by a utility not to purchase newer transformers (instead leaving older transformers in service) is going to lead to a deterioration of delivery systems.
ICF Kaiser (EPA contractor)