Every year 24,000 people die prematurely because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.
Every year 38,000 heart attacks occur because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.
Every year 12,000 hospital admissions and 550,000 people suffering asthma attacks result from power plant pollution.
Every year, coal-fired power plants release 48 tons of mercury nationwide.
Power plants release over 40% of total U.S. C02 emissions, a primary contributor to global warming...
...and yet the coal industry wants you to believe that building more coal fired power plants in Michigan is a good idea!
...and now utilities want to burn (as biomass) our trees that capture and store harmful carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we need to live
| Working together to get it right
A recent Forum opinion (“TCL&P still can’t get it right, Record-Eagle, January 6th) contains significant inaccurate and misleading information.
In the interest of factual communication with Light and Power’s (L&P) 11,000-plus public utility customers, the correct information follows:
Misstatement: “Even though L&P has no competition for services, it continues to market itself through television, radio and print advertising. Yet a half-million-dollar marketing budget has done little to repair L&P’s disconnect with the community.”
Fact: L&P is not “marketing” in an effort to attain additional customers. The goals of expending resources in this area are to improve community engagement, inform the community and encourage community feedback. According to independent surveys performed by NMC, customers want information on L&P projects, renewable energy, energy efficiency and rates. This is what’s being communicated through current communications.
L&P does not have a $500,000 marketing budget. The “Conservation and Public Services” budget, approved unanimously by the board and City Commission focuses largely on our energy efficiency programs. This budget includes funds for state-mandated energy efficiency programs (Public Act 295), energy audits, LED street lights and CFL grant requirements and installing downtown holiday lights.
The L&P department budgeted $62,500 for communications, which represents less than 0.23% of L&P’s budget. This amount was decreased by 50% two years ago. This amount and costs for one fulltime employee focused on customer communications are appropriate for L&P’s size.
The L&P board values having effective two-way communications, relationships and trust with our citizen-owners. Expending a modest amount of financial resources to achieve these goals is money well spent.
Misstatement: “Basic marketing functions (press releases, website management and monthly utility-bill inserts) aren’t handled in-house.”
Fact: All of these basic communication functions are handled in-house. There are occasions when L&P retains technical services. Areas like graphic design, copywriting and website programming require specialized skills, provided by the local professional community.
Misstatement: “Recently, L&P staff, without board input or approval, decided to terminate an existing marketing consultant contract and hire a new firm (cost: $75,000 to $120,000 annually). This is in addition to its two full-time in-house marketing employees.”
Fact: L&P currently has only one fulltime employee focusing on customer communications. L&P staff cannot and did not hire a new firm without board approval. The board approved the use of a new firm on December 28th after review of supporting documents and a detailed discussion. The board believes this is a judicious decision for the organization as we work to improve communications with the community. No changes in funding from the $62,500 budget were considered or approved.
Having two-way communications with customers is as vital as having low rates and high reliability. Consistent and open communication is one step in having a positive relationship with our community. Relationships help build trust. Having these tenets in place are necessary for L&P to effectively engage the community around important issues like energy efficiency and generation projects. The L&P board and staff are working to install these principles.