Wind Power Costs the Same as BGE’s Coal

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You can switch to 100% wind energy and cut your carbon footprint by 25% without paying more than you do today.
Switch your home to 100% wind energy and cut your carbon footprint by 25% without paying more than you do today.

If you pay a BGE bill, we have some good “green” news for you. You have the option to choose a clean electricity supplier for your home. This low-hanging-fruit change means the money you spend on electricity each month goes to wind farms, rather than to coal-fired plants. The best part is that it’s priced the same as BGE. On average, choosing wind for your home cuts your carbon footprint by 25 percent – that’s 15 times more meaningful than switching one lightbulb to a CFL. Here’s how:

One-third of BGE customers have switched

Maryland deregulated energy suppliers in 1999. This means that while BGE still owns and services the lines that bring electricity into your home, competing firms can buy electricity from different power suppliers and sell it directly to consumers. Today, over 27 percent of BGE’s 1.1 million customers have switched suppliers. Your default electricity supplier is BGE if you don’t choose another supplier.

Have you been getting an onslaught of flyers about switching? No wonder. Fifty-four companies sell electricity in Maryland, and 10 offer climate-friendly electricity.

Wind energy is offered to consumers by offsetting conventional electricity with third-party certified renewable energy certificates (REC). If you’re curious about REC’s nitty-gritty, click here.

The electricity suppliers are legit. Maryland’s green electricity options are “Green-e” certified by an independent consumer protection program and also regulated by Maryland’s Public Service Commission. Maryland’s Office of the People’s Counsel offers a handy rate comparison chart by company. 

How to Switch

The easiest way to switch to a cleaner and lowest-cost option is through the non-profit Groundswell. This ‘do-gooder’ group’s mission is to: “help families and organizations pool their purchasing power so they can make the switch to renewable energy.” Groundswell brings people together as a buying block then bids with the competing firms for the best rate. The current group rate is 8 percent lower than what you can buy as an individual. Check out their video explaining how it works.

Join Groundswell by May 22nd and get their negotiated fixed rate of 9.7¢ for a 2-year contract.  Or, choose a 1-year contract and pay 9.8¢ per kWh. Today’s BGE rate to compare to is 9.43¢. 

Visit Groundswell’s informative web site to start the process. Takes about 3 minutes.

Groundswell’s 100 percent wind rate 1-year      9.8¢ / kWh

Groundswell’s 100 percent wind rate  2-year     9.7¢ / kWh

BGE’s standard rate (coal/nuclear)                      9.43¢ / kWh

Here is bit of advice from yours truly: I’m not connected with Groundswell, and I don’t profit from suggesting this idea. Go for the two-year contract so you don’t think about this for awhile. You will see no change in service, it’s all on one bill. This is a vote-with-your-wallet sustainable action that requires no major lifestyle change. But, it’s more effective if you are mindful of cutting your energy use as well. If you switch on your own, do not choose a product with a variable rate. You run the risk of rates going sky high again as they did during the cold snap Polar Vortex. Tell your friends and family about this idea. There’s no planet b and it’s smart to cut our global warming emissions today.  If you’re the researcher-type and still have questions, read this article where I answer every question I’ve heard for the past ten years!

Laurel Peltier
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