A clean energy ESCO (Energy Services Company) ensures the amount of electricity you use is replaced with nearby renewable energy supply sources (wind, solar, etc.). With a fast sign-up process, customers keep their utility (e.g. ConEd) for billing and maintaining power lines. Energy prices can be locked in for a modest increase over standard supply charges, or they can fluctuate with the market (sometimes under, sometimes over standard supply charges). This upgrade is one of the fastest ways your Croton neighbors are reducing their carbon footprint.
Source: Green Mountain Energy
What inspired you to sign-up?
In our former home, our solar panels generated 100% of our electricity, until we got our first electric car! We didn’t want our electricity coming from conventional sources such as nuclear and coal.
What’s the most common question you get about a clean energy ESCO from friends or family?
Actually it never comes up! But I can imagine a question: “How can you be sure your electricity is 100% wind power?” The challenge with energy creation is distribution over distance; we don’t have many turbines near us, but clean energy companies purchase the energy and resell to their customers as credits.
How did you go about researching ESCOs, and selecting the company you used? And which company did you select? ConEd sent out info after the laws changed to allow customers to purchase electricity from independent energy providers. www.poweryourway.com is the website to comparison shop. However, we stopped by the Green Mountain Energy booth at the Clearwater Festival and signed up on the spot!
What was the sales process like?
Very friendly, and I got a little swag for signing up...
What did the sign-up cost, what incentives were available, and did it deliver any cost savings?
Sign up was free, there were no incentives and no real cost savings (it was a few cents less than Con Ed).
How has your electric bill changed?
We still paid our ConEd bill as usual, except the energy supply changed to a renewable source. We didn’t see much if any savings.
What did you wish you knew before signing up for a clean energy ESCO?
The first clean energy company we used charged $5 a month as a fee, and since at the time we weren’t even using their electricity it was just annoying. Also, the one time we had a small use, we were charged .50 a watt because we were “low use”!
Make sure to check the details on fees before signing up.
Would you recommend the upgrade to a clean energy ESCO and would you recommend the company you used?
I’d recommend Green Mt, but really, once you’ve chosen a provider the service is all the same. More important is what kind of energy you’re choosing. “Clean energy” can be from wind or hydro (dams) or both. We chose 100% wind because we support the idea of retiring and removing dams wherever possible to allow the ecosystems to recover.
Anything else you’d tell a person considering this upgrade?
Every time I’ve made a choice that reduces my carbon footprint even in the slightest, I feel a little empowered that my choices have a positive impact. That simply feels good, and while it may not completely cure my feelings of hopelessness, it does lessen it somewhat.
For more information on Blake Rowe’s experience, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org