Businesses get updates, thanks to plan

ESCANABA – Escanaba’s Energy Optimization Plan – which the city’s electric customers contribute to – recently paid for refrigeration improvements at 13 local businesses, the Escanaba City Council was informed at Wednesday’s joint meeting with the Electrical Advisory Committee.

Products installed on refrigeration equipment at restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores included strip curtains, night covers and door gaskets. Cooler curtains and covers help maintain temperatures inside open-access cooler spaces.

The contracted work was done at the local businesses by Orange Energizing Solutions (OES) based in New York City.

“The funds to cover these measures and to pay the contractor are taken from and completely covered by the commercial and industrial portion of the city’s Energy Optimization Plan,” stated Joshua Krajniak, city electric engineer, in a memo to council.

Orange Energy Solutions was requested to visit businesses in the Escanaba area by Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp., which oversees Escanaba’s and several other municipalities’ energy optimization programs.

“The purpose of the visit was to identify and install refrigeration improvements at these businesses at no cost to the owner,” explained Krajniak.

Electric Superintendent Mike Furmanski clarified that local businesses and residential electric customers pay energy optimization fees on their bills as mandated. Funds collected from businesses go toward business projects, while funds collected from residents pay for residential programs, he added.

The recent business audits took place the week of Oct. 16. Energy-saving equipment was installed on refrigeration units the following week.

Businesses that participated in the program included Elmer’s County Market, SuperOne Foods, Viau’s Market, Sav More Foodliner, Dobber’s Pasties, Michigan Meats and Processing, Just Burgers and More, Crispigna’s Foods LLC, Jade Garden Restaurant, Hudson’s Classic Grill, Taco Bell, Bob’s Family Store and Rosy’s Diner.

Local work done by OES totaled $30,411, according to data presented at Wednesday’s meeting. Individual project costs ranged from $7,476 to $265, with electric savings ranging from 89,348 kilowatts per hour to 2,597 kilowatts per hour.

Krajniak explained in his memo to council, “Unfortunately, not every business with significant refrigeration equipment could be or was audited based on time constraints with the contractor and the screening process for selecting businesses.”

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, jlan