Engage Energy as the future supplier of electrical power

August 19, 1999
  • umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—In its ongoing effort to control costs, the University of Michigan announced today (Aug. 19) that it has selected Engage Energy as the future supplier of electrical power for the Ann Arbor Central Campus and Hospitals. The University will be one of the first Detroit Edison customers to receive power from an electric supplier other than Edison under the “Experimental Retail Access Service Tariff for Customer-Procured Power.” Savings for the University from this program are expected to be more than $1.5 million per year.
“The experimental retail access program, based on processes established by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with the cooperation of Detroit Edison, provides an opportunity for the University to save a substantial amount of money on our utility costs,” said Henry D. Baier, associate vice president for facilities and operations. “As a public institution, we have a responsibility to the taxpayers, and to our students paying tuition, to pursue cost savings wherever they are available.”
On The University, as part of a competitive bid process, issued a Request for Proposals for the supply of electrical power in mid-June and received three replies.
A rigorous scoring process for evaluation of the proposals was developed based on similar experience in the natural gas industry and the established procedures within the University’s Purchasing Department and the Office of the General Counsel. Selection was based on considerations such as price, experience in the industry, financial resources, commitment to the state of Michigan electric market and the ability to provide firm capacity.
This process led to the selection of Engage Energy. The University intends to issue a contract subject to satisfactory final negotiations and Engage’s ability to meet all of the requirements of the program, including those of the MPSC, FERC, Detroit Edison and the City of Ann Arbor.
As specified within the City of Ann Arbor’s Electric Utility Franchise Agreement, at least 1.3 percent of the energy provided to the U-M from Engage will be from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro-electric or bio-mass energy sources.
“Even beyond our existing commitment to the City of Ann Arbor, we plan to negotiate with Engage for a higher percentage of power generated by cleaner-burning natural gas power plants,” Baier said.
The energy provided by Engage will augment an established partnership between U-M and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for energy conservation called Energy Star. The U-M has demonstrated its support of energy conservation and pollution prevention programs by signing an agreement with the EPA as early as 1994.
This and other similar initiatives have led to several nationally recognized awards for the U-M, including the EPA Green Lights 1995 Large Hospital Partner of the Year Award as the leading hospital in the nation in energy conservation; the U.S. Department of Energy‘s National Efficiency and Renewable Energy Award; and the Renew America organization Certificate of Environmental Renewable Energy Achievement for the last three years in a row.
Engage Energy has 400 employees, annual revenues of $4 billion and offers sales, supply, transportation and other services to customers on a national basis, as well as in Canada and Mexico. It has corporate offices in Houston, Texas, and Calgary, Alberta, Canada, with regional marketing offices throughout the country including Southfield, Mich. The parent company of Engage is a partnership of The Coastal Corp. and Westcoast Energy Inc., with consolidated assets of $19 billion.

Engage Energyretail access programCity of Ann ArborEnvironmental Protection AgencyGreen Lights 1995 Large Hospital Partner of the Year Award