BEL AIR -- Gov. William Donald Schaefer says he has seen the future of Maryland, and it is lighted by an energy-efficient fluorescent light bulb.
At a news conference held in front of a state district court building here yesterday morning, Mr. Schaefer appointed a new energy czar and announced a program to reduce the energy costs of government buildings and vehicles.
Mr. Schaefer teamed up with George V. McGowan, Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. chairman, to announce the start of a joint conservation program as a group of government officials and election campaign workers watched.
BG&E will install energy-saving light bulbs in five state and local government office buildings, Mr. McGowan said.
BG&E will pay all the initial costs of rehabilitating the state's Mary E. W. Risteau District Court and Multi-Service Center here, as well as four other local government buildings in Baltimore and in Harford, Howard and Baltimore counties in the next 18 months.
The state will reimburse BG&E for half of its outlays with the money it saves from lower utility bills. It should take eight years to save that much, BG&E said.
The company said it will replace more than 1,600 fixtures in the Risteau center with more energy-efficient fluorescents and expects to cut the center's annual electric bill of $116,000 by about 17 percent.
Mr. McGowan said the company also will contribute to private companies' efforts to improve lighting efficiency. Starting Jan. 1, BG&E will pay for up to 40 percent of the installation cost of an approved efficient lighting system, he said.
BG&E also will give grants to customers who incorporate efficient lighting systems into the designs for their new industrial or commercial buildings. The grant program runs through the end of 1995.
In addition, Mr. McGowan said, BG&E will donate $20,000 worth of labor to convert at least a dozen gasoline-powered state vehicles to liquefied natural gas.
The state will spend $2.9 million turning six Chevrolet Celebrities and six to 10 Maryland Transportation Authority buses into users of alternative fuel.
Both the cars and the buses will be tested for a year to determine whether the conversion is worthwhile, BG&E said. BG&E said it already has begun experimenting with using natural gas to power some of its company vans.
Mr. Schaefer said he has ordered all state agencies to immediately reduce by 5 percent the fuel used by state vehicles and the energy used by state buildings.
He said he has ordered all state agencies to develop energy-conservation plans and has made federal money available for capital improvements.
NB To oversee the new state push, Mr. Schaefer said, he has named
Gary L. Thorpe "energy czar" for the state.
Mr. Thorpe, director of the Community Assistance Administration since 1986, will keep his old job after he assumes his duties.
William S. Shepard, Mr. Schaefer's Republican opponent in the Nov. 6 election, said yesterday that the governor's timing of the announcement was not coincidental.
He said it was inappropriate for the state to form a partnership with a utility company that is regulated by gubernatorial appointees.
BG&E spokesman Arthur Slusark said the announcement of the program had nothing to do with the upcoming election.