Saturday, June 09, 2007

Making a real impact on the electric bill

My electric bill was almost $20 lower this month. I reduced my usage that much by turning off the power strip that holds all my computer and related plug-ins. I do this every time I'm not using the computer, so it is off a good deal of the day and when I'm sleeping. I'm amazed that it made that much difference, but since I began this new habit at the beginning of May and the bill is from May 8 - June 6, the evidence is very convincing.

FirstEnergy, our local electric power conglomerate, has announced that it will be offering "green" power as an option for its customers. The following news release was downloaded from First Energy's website:

Akron, OH – A green option will be available to FirstEnergy’s (NYSE: FE) Ohio
utility customers under a proposed program filed today with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). Customers interested in supporting renewable energy could do so through an added charge on their monthly electric bill beginning as early as this summer.

The green product program would offer customers of Ohio Edison, The Cleveland
Electric Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison the option to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). A single REC is equivalent to one megawatt-hour of electricity produced from a qualifying resource. The company designed the program in collaboration with the staff of the PUCO and the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel. If approved by the PUCO, the program could be in place as early as this summer.

“We are pleased to offer a cost-effective way for customers to support alternative
energy in our region,” said Anthony J. Alexander, president and chief executive officer of FirstEnergy. “If approved, this program also could help begin the process of encouraging future development of alternative energy sources.”

Under the program, the company will purchase up to 150,000 RECs from qualifying
resources. Customers will have the option of purchasing the RECs in 100 kilowatt-hour blocks, and may purchase from 2 to 50 blocks each month. Customers can discontinue their participation at any time. The price of the RECs will be primarily determined by the outcome of a competitive process in which companies offering RECs will be invited to submit bids.

The green product program is offered as part of a stipulation filed in the companies’
remand proceeding before the PUCO, which was instituted to permit the companies to offer customers another means to participate in the competitive market.
This is great news, especially since the very latest reports on global warming say that we are heating up the planet three times faster than predicted. I will happily pay extra for renewable sources of energy. My biggest fear is that I'll be the only one in Akron who signs up for it.

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