In 1999, the Board of water & Light signed a Participation Agreement with Cinergy and US Filter to collectively design and build a Central Utilities Complex to supply all utilities for General Motors Corporation's New Lansing Grand River Assembly Facility. This was the first time in General Motors history, the manufacturer has relied on an outside vendor to supply all their utility services.
The Board supplies 13,200 volt electric power and 275 psi steam to the CUC complex. The complex transforms the high voltage to 480 volt power for distribution to the GM Body, Paint, and General Assembly facilities. The steam is used to power a small non-condensing turbine generator. The exhaust steam energy supplies a hot water heat system for building heat as well as supplying "process" heat.
In the summer, the exhaust steam from the turbine powers an absorption chiller. The absorption chiller along with several electric chillers and a thermal storage tank supply the GM buildings with chilled water for cooling the facilities. The CUC also supplies all GM's compressed air requirements.
The Board supplies city water to the CUC, where it is converted to demineralized water to be used in the paint process. Waste water from the paint process is returned to the CUC for processing and disposal. City water is also supplied directly to the buildings for other process uses. The CUC supplies cooling tower water to the Body Shop for cooling the robotic welders.
Energy consumption for the GM complex is monitored and controlled through the CUC's energy management system.