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Letters to the Editor

Fortnightly Magazine - May 1 2003

to agree that increased, more efficient electric use negates savings from all efficiency programs, that improved efficiency ratios can hide increases in rates, and that turning things off contributed "largely" to California's flattened electric load. As to his other points, my Chart 1 in the original article accounts for population increases because it is normalized per meter.

Lovins prefers GDP as an economic indicator. I prefer the Genuine Progress Indicator (, which shows that increased electric use has coincided with increasingly negative social and environmental trends. GDP increases with resource depletion and environmental damage. GPI does not. The lines diverge as the current energy efficiency programs became more popular. (See the chart.)

By habit, we keep most electric loads off most of the time. Therefore, "off" has already saved far more electricity than more efficient use. Defined as a source of energy, efficiency adds to our energy use. "Off" does not. To optimize is not to minimize. The inevitable lifestyle changes that threaten Amory Lovins will eventually benefit us all.

-Andrew Rudin