Both purchase green generated energy, mostly wind at this point, to put into the grid. When we use electricity from the grid, we pay our bill through PPL EU and they pay the generators for what we have used. If we sign up for Clean Currents or Viridian we can choose 20%, 50% or 100% of our energy to be billed green; the larger the percentage, the more green energy these companies buy, and the more goes into the grid with no increase in cost.
Without these companies, when we turn on an appliance, most of the energy comes from “brown” fossil fuel generating plants: over half from coal, some from oil and some natural gas, about 10% nuclear and hydro, and well under 5% solar and wind. Those latter three--wind, solar and water power—are the “green,” renewable sources. If we wanted electricity from green sources put into the grid, we would have to pay a surcharge of around $7.50 a month on top of our regular electric bill. Signing up with one of these new companies means we can get the green energy, without added money, and in most cases, spend less.
With both companies, the sign-up is easy and free. No Social Security number or credit card is needed, only the account number on your PPL EU bill. You’ll still get the same PPL EU bill and get the same emergency service from them. Worse case scenario, if something happens that either company is unable to deliver the green electricity, PPL EU will seamlessly deliver to your house what you need at their going rate. Both Viridian and Clean Currents are licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to generate electricity through the grid. This program is currently for PPL EU customers but will most likely extend to Pennelec customers at the beginning of 2011.
The difference between the two companies is that Clean Currents requires a one or two year contract, and Viridian doesn’t. Clean Currents likes to know its annual market to insure a low cost and so goes by contract; if you sign up with them and change your mind during your contract, you will have to pay a penalty. However your contracted cost is locked in for the period you choose. You are free to change suppliers after your contract is over at no cost.
These are Clean Current’s current prices:
50% 1-yr: 9.0
50% 2-yr: 9.2
100% 1-yr: 9.6
100% 2-yr: 9.7
To sign up your home for clean electricity with Clean Currents, visit http://www.cleancurrents.com/purchase-energy.asp and have your PPL account number close by. If you would like clean electricity for your business email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Viridian is confident that they can buy and sell efficiently on the clean energy market to get the best cost month by month so no contract is needed. If at any time you want to change generators, you just inform PPL EU of your change with no penalty. Their recent and current prices for green energy have been 5% to 10% under PPL EU’s standard price for brown energy.
You may wonder why you haven’t heard of these companies before—and yet keep getting mailings from many “brown” generators. First, these are new companies, though they have been operating in Connecticut and several other eastern states for 2 years. Also, instead of advertising through mailings and media, these 2 companies spread the word by giving incentives to non-profit organizations, like SEEDS. Other organizations they work with include the University of Connecticut Athletic Scholarship Program, the Scranton Arch Diocese, EarthAid, Buy Fresh Buy Local LV, and the Green Building Institute. This direct marketing, which is sometimes compared to pyramid schemes, is just another form of advertising. SEEDS has not paid money to either of these companies, but if you mention SEEDS when signing up, SEEDS will receive a contribution from the company you sign with—and thus we’ll not have to bake as many brownies to raise money for our non-profit activities, and saving still more kWhrs and more calories for our waistlines.
I signed up my family for one of these companies this summer—it just took a few minutes and cost nothing. My May bill with the standard PPL generating purchase, showed we were paying 10.133 cents per kWh. On my September bill I was paying .09857143 cents per kWh—plus putting green energy into the grid. By the way, you may notice all those numbers after the decimal point. That’s how the electric generating companies make their profit, by buying and selling at small fractions of cents per kWh, just like on the stock exchange--the market system.
You are invited to participate in the SEEDS “350 kWh Saved!” Project.
SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education & Development Support) is looking for at least 350 families in Northeast Pa. to reduce their electric bills by at least 350 kilowatt hours (kWh). So far, 50 families have signed up and four families have achieved savings of over 350 kWhrs.
What you get out of it: You save money on your electric bill, and when you save your first 350 kWh, you will receive a discount card for incentives from 13 area businesses, and every time you save 350 kWh, your name will go into a hat for a door prize drawing in Spring of 2011. Biggest prize will be a $5,000. value solar thermal system. There is the added bonus that you will cut air pollution.
SEEDS has set up a process to make it easy for you:
Sign up for the program
* Send a message to email@example.com.
* Put “350 Signup” in the subject line.
* In the body, put your name, address and email. If you want us to use an email other than the one you are sending it from, please give us that address.
* We will enroll you in the program and send you one e-mail a month with updates and tips on saving electricity. (Your contact info will not be shared with anyone else.)
Check your electric bill
* Compare your current electric bill with the one from the same month in 2009. See if you have cut your electricity use. You can do this on-line or on your paper bill.
o Go to http://www.pplelectric.com/ and log in. If you haven’t signed up for an online account yet, go to myPPL on the top menu. You will need your PPL account number when you sign up the first time.
o Scroll down to the bottom 2/3 of the page and click on Bill History.
o This new page will give you a 13 month history of your kWh usage.
o Subtract the first number from the last to get the number of kWhs you have saved.
Monthly Bill: If you do not want to use the internet, use your monthly electric bill.
o Look at the average kWh use to the right of the bar graph on the first page of the bill.
o Subtract the 2010 number for this month from the 2009 number for this month
o Multiply this number by the number of days in the box above it—it will be between 28 and 32.
o This will give you the number of kWhrs saved this month.
Not a PPL customer?
For those of you in northeast Pa who do not have PPL as your electric billing company, tell us how you can show your electric savings. (Your billing company is the one that provides usage information, even if you have elected to buy your energy from an alternative source.)
Prove your savings: Once you have saved 500 kWhrs—this might take 2 or 3 months--bring the bar graph part of your bills to:
o SEEDS booth at Audubon Arts and Crafts Festival, July 17 & 18 10 – 5 each day
o SEEDS booth at Sidewalk Sales in Honesdale, July 22, 23, 24.
o Wayne County Fair (in the Red Barn with all the vegetable displays)
Questions? Call Michele at 224-0052 or e-mail SEEDS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forum on Residential Wind Power on April 27th
A forum on residential wind power will be held on Tuesday, April 27th from 7 to 9 PM at the Park Street Complex in Honesdale, PA. So, will wind power work? How do we get it? What are the costs? What are the pitfalls? These are questions that will be addressed at this first forum of 2010 presented by the group SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education & Development Support). The Park Street Complex (formerly the Stourbridge School) is located at 648 Park Street just west of Wayne Memorial Hospital.
Speakers will include Greenfields Energy Solutions of Mayfield, PA, Sandy Babuka of Trehab Renewable Energy in Montrose, and two homeowners who have installed windmills: Steve Adams of Tyler Hill and Michael Wood of Beach Lake, PA.
“Our very first forum held back in 2008 was on small scale wind power, and, by the large numbers of people attending, we knew we were dealing with a subject people were really interested in,” says Michele Sands, the chair of SEEDS. “But, the technology has advanced in just the last few years, so we thought it was time to discuss wind power again, especially when energy costs are blowing us away.”
The event is open to all, and free-will offerings will be appreciated. Refreshments will be served.
Please join us at 12 PM ET at the Meyers Pavillion in Honesdale on Wednesday, 3/17. We will officially launch our project that will see 350 kW of renewable installed in Honesdale this year, as well as encouraging local families to save 350 kwH of energy on their electric bills year over year.
See you there to hear about all the details! (Or click the link at the top to read our separate 350 page.)
First, there were 18 people in all who came out last night for the candlelight vigil in Central Park in Honesdale to show support for action on climate change. Here is the picture we took for the 350.org website:
And next week, December 15 from 6 to 9 pm, there will be a potluck hosted at Journey's End farm in Sterling to discuss strategies for moving forward with a Transition Town initiative in the area.
All are invited to bring a candle to Central Park, at 5 PM on Friday, December 11th to join a vigil for hope during the climate change talks being held in Copenhagen. SEEDS is holding the vigil locally, while 350.org is calling for similar events around the world.
Here in northeast Pennsylvania, our Maple and Black Cherry trees are already being challenged by the effects of a carbon-overloaded atmosphere, and are expected to disappear completely within our children’s lifetime when the climate here will be similar to that of present-day Alabama and Georgia, according to a recent report specific to Pennsylvania published by the Union of Concerned Scientists. While we are already getting a taste of devastating floods in our region, countries like the Maldives and Bangladesh will soon be devastated and are fighting for their very survival.
“Our atmosphere has almost 400 parts per million of carbon, mainly from fossil fuel burning for electricity and cars,” says SEEDS chair, Michele Sands. “We need to get down to under 350 to continue life as we know and love it in northeast PA. SEEDS is promoting renewable energy sources and sustainable food choices locally, but we need our government leaders to respond to the urgency of our situation, here and in Copenhagen.”
CNN called the previous worldwide 350 event in October the biggest day of political action in the planet's history. Several local groups including SEEDS took part, SEEDS announcing an ambitious plan to encourage installation of 350 Kw of renewable energy in our local area within a year and save just as much through conservation.
“We hope these vigils will surpass the October action,” says Kathy Dodge, organizer of the local vigil. “And this will be as easy as a walk in the park. So, please come with your candle or lantern to help send a message to Copenhagen.”