The highly informative article on meeting electric growth in a least-cost manner {"Utilities, Small Independents Face Off in Power Struggle," June 29} neglected to mention the third, and most competitive, option now available. I refer to energy efficiency improvements in electricity-consuming devices.

Utilities such as Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison in California have been purchasing "saved" kilowatt-hours from their customers at five to 10 times less the cost of building a new power plant. This typically takes the form of offering financial rebates to customers who replace their inefficient appliances, lighting systems, motors, etc. with high-efficiency models.

States such as California, Wisconsin, and those in the Northwest have indefinitely deferred the need to build a new power plant as a result of promoting efficiency investments. In 1985, efficiency expert Amory Lovins testified on behalf of the D.C. People's Counsel before the D.C. Public Service Commission to the effect that Pepco could improve its cash earnings by doing likewise. Mr. Lovins estimated that Pepco could save its customers over half a billion dollars per year by spurring electricity-saving efficiency investments.

Such an approach would eliminate the need to spend several billion dollars on a new power plant at Dickerson. Moreover, it would prevent the production of millions of tons of environmental pollutants over its 40-year lifetime.

MICHAEL TOTTEN

Member, Montgomery County

Energy Conservation Advisory Committee

Takoma Park