Cleaner need not be more expensive but can be cheaper. The latest example of cheaper and cleaner comes in electricity products. Compared to the "default rate" paid to Duquesne Light by customers who do not shop, customers save 10% by switching to Community Energy's 100% Pennsylvania wind power product.
Regular residential customers of Duquesne Light pay 9.89 cents per kilowatt-hour for generation or $69.23 per month (assuming 700 kilowatt-hours) but would pay 8.99 cents per kilowatt-hour for a 100% wind power product. Monthly savings are $6.29. While the Community Energy product is 100% Pennsylvania wind, the Duquesne Light product comes from conventional generation technologies like coal, nuclear, gas and about 4% renewable energy.
So why is Community Energy's 100% wind power product lower cost than the Duquesne Light default rate generation product? Timing of the electricity sourcing for each product is the main explanation. Community Energy's price reflects current market conditions, but Duquesne Light's default rate reflects power prices that existed about 2 years ago, when Duquesne Light last sought competitive bids for its "default supply" (power provided to customers who do not shop or switch). As a result, for customers of Duquesne Light, not shopping for power means both paying more and purchasing electricity with a bigger environmental footprint. A total of 26 companies are competing for the business of residential customers in the Duquesne Light service territory.
In addition to Community Energy's Pittsburgh area offering, other green electricity products are available in different parts of Pennsylvania. To get information about green power products as well as other non-renewable energy products, two electricity shopping guides can be found at www.choosepawind.com and papowerswitch.com.
At this point, if you want to pay less or pollute less, you should invest about 30 minutes to shop for power!