How To – Buying Alternative Energy from your Electric Company Is it Worth It?

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    Just received a bill from my electric company and inside was their flyer that explains some of their services and lucky for me a coupon for light bulbs.¬† Honestly the coupon is worthless because you can’t use it at big discount warehouses where lights are cheaper by the 10 pack but lets get back to the other thing..

    Included was information about how you as a customer can purchase a portion of your electric as Green Power.

    My local power company has invested in a Solar Farm but the costs to generate electricity is at least 3 times what you would pay for coal or nuclear generated electricity. The company is up front about the increased cost to the consumer but they also say that they installed the Solar Farm to comply with State Regulation.. Thats pretty sad that the government is increasing our costs and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

    How the program works is

    You sign up for a one year contract and the electric company just basically charges you 20 cents per 100 kWh in addition to your normal costs.

    So if you normally pay 10 cents they add on an additional 20 cents and you end up paying 30 cents in total.

    The contract lasts for a year and at the end of the year you will have the chance to sign up at a different rate if costs have changed. It would be nice if they went down considering there are no real costs after they install the farm other then light maintenance and monitoring. Yea that will happen.. prices will go down..

    But here is the real kicker.. if you move or change your mind about this feel good fee… you are still obligated to pay for electricity that you never received.. I think that is a little crazy. I can understand locking in customers that remain with the electric provider but they also charge you a huge fee if you move away?

    I can not imagine people being attracted to this offering.

    How other companies provide Green Power Alternatives

    Some parts of the country will allow  you to select your electric provider and they do not limit you to a local generator.

    In this case electric providers sign up to be allowed to provide services in your area with your utilities commission.

    Once they are approved you can select any provider based on rates or the method they use to generate the electricity.

    Since energy is traded a provider can be many hundreds of miles maybe even a thousand or more from your home and still be able to provide a Green Power alternative.

    You need to subscribe so you will be locked into any agreement that the company provides. I have not heard of the large disconnect fees that my company is requiring but they may be in your contract so read it before you agree.

    Evaluation of Green Power Providers

    As far as I see in my area where my company provides standard coal and nuclear generated electricity next to their Green Power alternative the decision to sign up for such a service is basically like using a hammer on your brain..

    All you are doing is agreeing to higher bills but maybe you sleep better .. then again since your electric costs more you probably can’t keep the heat up or air conditioner on so you probably don’t sleep as well.

    If you are thinking about signing up for Green Power whether it is Wind, Solar or other then you need to make the decision if it is something you can afford. You will be paying more but in the end you are not getting anything more for your money.

    So be a conscious consumer.. and maybe use the coupon in your bill to buy a few florescent lights that will reduce your consumption as long as you get the best deal.



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