Don’t Pay BGE More for Coal When Wind is Cheaper

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Save cash. Save the planet. Pay 9 cents per kWh for wind energy instead of paying 9.4 cents for coal-fired electricity.
Save cash. Save the planet. Pay 8.5 ¢ per kWh for wind energy or 9.4 ¢ for coal-fired electricity for not switching.

Welcome to our inaugural Maryland Climate-Friendly Electricity Guide. Marylanders are lucky, as we have a choice about what type of electricity powers our homes – coal-fired or renewable. It’s mind-boggling to compare the options, so we’ve done the work for you.

The Maryland Climate-Friendly Electricity Guide will be published monthly. Designed for residential customers, the how-to compares rates and offers tips on how to switch your home’s electricity supplier to 100 percent renewable energy.

Here’s the climate hero punch list: Choose an electric or fuel efficient car, insulate your home, buy less stuff, install your own solar or geothermal, recycle everything, and vote for our environment. If you haven’t tackled any of these, try this simple idea available today and vote green with your-wallet.

Six reasons to choose climate-friendly electricity

1. Coal-fired electricity, your utility’s type, contributes to climate change. Big time.

2. Marylanders are lucky and can choose clean energy suppliers.

3. Renewable costs less than coal-fired electricity. 

4. Big deal. Cuts household carbon footprint by 25 percent.

5. It’s easy and online.  Best rates below.

6. It’s the right thing to do.

Why can Marylanders choose electricity suppliers?

Maryland deregulated energy suppliers in 1999. Let’s say you live in Baltimore, this means that while BGE still owns and services the power lines that bring electricity into your home, competing firms can buy electricity from different power suppliers, and sell it directly to consumers (and businesses).

When you switch suppliers, nothing changes. You still get the same BGE bill, but you will see an additional line item calculating your kilowatt usage multiplied by your locked in price.

Over 27 percent of BGE’s 1.1 million customers have switched suppliers. Your default electricity supplier is standard, coal-fired electricity if you don’t choose a climate-friendly supplier.

How does wind energy get fed into my home?

It doesn’t. The emission-free wind energy is fed into our Mid-Atlantic PJM electricity grid. Your utility then sends electricity from the grid to your home. The PJM grid provides electricity for 61 million people. A mix of companies feed in electricity that’s generated by: coal (40 percent), nuclear (35 percent), natural gas (21 percent), and renewables – wind, solar, hydro power (4 percent). 

Choosing your home’s electricity supplier tells your utility what type of electricity to purchase on your behalf.  Maryland has committed that state utilities must buy 20 percent renewable by 2020; today we’re at 7 percent. Increased consumer renewable demand means more renewable supply speeding up the conversion from fossil fuels to renewables.

Still have questions? They’re answered here.

How to Switch:

Grab your utility bill. Pick your supplier from chart below. Visit web site and switch online in 3 minutes.

Some advice

I’m not connected with any supplier, and I don’t profit from suggesting switching to climate-friendly electricity. I do stay in touch with a Maryland’s Office of People’s Counsel contact who reviews every single supplier every month. He even reads each firm’s Terms and Conditions, and O.P.C. also supplies the rate charts provided.   

DO NOT choose a variable rate product. You run the risk of rates going sky high again as they did during the cold snap Polar Vortex.

Renew each year: Switching means you enter into a 1-year contract to buy electricity at a certain price. If you cancel early, there may be a termination fees. Mark your anniversary in calendar, and look in your mail for the renewal letter. Visit this guide next year for best rates. Each supplier is licensed with Maryland, vetted by the PSC, and even if they flopped, you’re switched back to your utility.

 Md. CLIMATE-FRIENDLY ELECTRIC SUPPLIERS: JAN ’16

Top 3 ranked by kilowatt price in cents. 1-year fixed rate. No monthly fees.

BGE  

Standard Rate to compare 9.4

                             Clearview 8.5 *

                       Constellation 9.3 * (2-year contract!)

                      Direct Energy 9.4

                 Green Mountain 9.4 

Pepco

Standard Rate to compare 9.1

                       Constellation 8.8 * (2-year contract!)

                             Clearview 8.8

                      Direct Energy 9.3

Potomac Edison

Standard Rate to compare 7.2

                      Direct Energy 7.0 *

                       Constellation 8.0

                                   WGES 8.0

Delmarva

Standard Rate to compare 9.2

                       Direct Energy 8.5 *

                              Clearview 9.0

                        Constellation 9.0 (both 1 and 2 year contracts)

Choptank/SMECO does not offer a fixed rate 1-year renewable option

* The price winner

1/9/16 Laurel here: I missed Constellation’s 2-year rate for the BGE and Delmarva territories. Thanks, Chris!

Laurel Peltier
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Laurel Peltier

Laurel writes the environmental GreenLaurel column every other Thursday in the Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of UVA's MBA program, she spends her time with her family and making "all things green" interesting.
Laurel Peltier
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3 COMMENTS

    • Chris: Thank you! You are correct, and I added Constellation’s offer to the BGE chart. Nice to have another set of eyes on these charts. I like two-year contracts because it takes a task off my to-do list. Plus, the rates are really the same, except that you choose a sustainable option.

    • Any reason not to list the Constellation rate in Delmarva for 2 years since it is actually cheaper than the 1 year?

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