Thursday, June 5, 2008

Green Your Electric Bill (Vacation Rewind)

More and more utilities are offering “green power” options for a fee (ours adds only 2% to the bill each month). Here’s a vacation rewind. Original posting date 2/19/2008.

The Second Tuesday in Lent

“Put the heat on your electricity or gas suppliers and ask them if they have a green plan. Make the switch and feel cosy.” —The Carbon Fast for Lent

Our local power company does indeed offer a “green plan,” which I blogged about last month. It’s a complicated scheme: one pays extra each month basically to help underwrite the utility’s acquisition of energy produced on several regional wind farms, as well as a smaller amount of solar. Energy from renewable resources like these is more expensive than fossil-fuel based power, hence the surcharge. MG&E promotes the surcharge as a way for consumers to offset 100% of the carbon produced by their own household power use.

I wish it was possible simply to switch the apartment over to solar or wind power, instead of using this circuitous offset route which, no doubt, provides financial benefits for the utility. But the cost is only $6 for an average household using 600 kWh/month — I just looked at a recent bill and we use substantially less than this — and these contributions supposedly help increase the percentage of renewable energy in the utility’s energy mix. So I am almost convinced and will check this out again. Watch this space for updates.

Today’s mitzvah:
Does your utility offer a "green plan"? Check out their web site — and let me know what you decide!

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