Eight Michigan utilities have joined together under the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA) to form Energy Optimization, a consortium introducing energy efficiency programs and incentives to co-op member-consumers. The electric cooperative utilities include Alger Delta, headquartered in Gladstone; Cloverland, Dafter; Great Lakes Energy, Boyne City and Newaygo; Midwest Energy, Cassopolis and Adrian; Ontonagon County, Ontonagon; Thumb, Ubly; Homeworks Tri-County, Portland and Blanchard; and Presque Isle Electric & Gas, Onaway.

Energy Optimization is rolling out programs now and into next year. Programs include an Energy Efficiency Assistance Program, which includes installation of energy-efficient measures for income-qualified subscribers, an online home energy audit, and a program to assist commercial and industrial customers to install energy-efficient equipment. For qualifying customers, rebates are available on items such as "smart power strips," compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, washers and freezers. These programs are in addition to federal tax incentive programs currently running.

The Energy Efficiency Assistance Program, serving persons with qualifying incomes, is being managed in conjunction with the Michigan Community Action Agency Association and its member agencies in the areas served by the Energy Optimization partners.