Marylanders are lucky, as we have a choice about what type of electricity powers our homes – coal-fired or renewable. This month, switching from BGE’s standard coal-fired to Clearview’s renewable product saves about $100* in one year. Why pay more for polluting coal, when wind is cheaper? It’s mind-boggling to compare the options, so we’ve done the work for you. The monthly Maryland Climate-Friendly Electricity Guide is designed for residential customers and offers a how-to that compares rates.
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 and nuclear fuel our power plants.
2. Marylanders are lucky, we can choose clean energy suppliers.
3. Renewable is actually cheaper. Rate winners listed below.
4. It’s #1 change to make. Cuts carbon footprint by 25 percent.
5. It’s simple to switch online.
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.
If you haven’t switched suppliers, you won’t be the first as 25+ percent of BGE’s 1.1 million customers have chosen an alternate supplier. Your “default” electricity supplier is BGE 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.
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: March ’16
Top 2 ranked by kilowatt price in cents. 1-year fixed rate. No monthly fees.
BGE Price Chart for March 2016
Standard Rate to compare 9.4
Constellation 9.3 * (2-year contract is a great deal)
Pepco Price Chart for March 2016
Standard Rate to compare 9.1
Clearview 8.8 *
Constellation 9.0 * (2-year contract)
Potomac Edison Price Chart for March 2016 (slight premium this month)
Standard Rate to compare 6.5
Direct Energy 7.2
Constellation 7.7 (2-year contract)
Delmarva Price Chart for March 2016
Standard Rate to compare 9.2
Direct Energy 8.5* (18-month contract)
Constellation 8.8 (2-year contract)
Choptank/SMECO does not offer a fixed rate 1-year climate-friendly option
* How’d you get $100 savings per year? The average Md home uses 11,000 kWh of electricity. A 9 cent savings = $99 in one year.