Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Picking an electricity supplier for New York City

This morning I signed up with Energetix to supply my electricity that is delivered by ConEdison here in New York City. Energetix is what is known as an Energy Service Company (ESCO). They buy electricity on the wholesale market and resell it to consumers and businesses. The delivery and billing is still handled by Con Edison, but each ESCO has its own plans, policies, and energy sources. I signed up for their 100% Clean Energy Option which is based on 60% "low impact" hydro energy and 40% wind energy.

I selected them by simply starting at the top of the list of "green power" suppliers supplied by Con Edison and calling each one until I actually managed to get through to a "real person" in a reasonably short period of time. I had been thinking of going with 100% wind as I had when I lived in Colorado, but the combination of hydro and wind is good enough. I had a 100% renewable plan out in the state of Washington.

I have no idea how the price will work out compared to other options. I did pick the market rate as opposed to a fixed price contract, which could be a really bad deal in the summer months, but leaves me free to switch to another supplier at any time over the next year without a cancellation penalty. In theory, green power may be a penny higher per kilowatt hour or a couple of bucks a month. We'll see.

I also get a $25 reward check as a new customer. That check is supposed to arrive in 8 to 10 weeks.

One concern I have is that if electricity demand is high for traditional fossil-fuel electricity this summer, traders and speculators may artificially bid in the green market to resell to non-green customers. In other words, my cost will not necessarily be based on the costs of the ultimate producer of the electricity. Sure, that is how a "market" works, but it seems awfully unfair for non-consumers of electricity to be using the market strictly for financial profit rather than adding value to either consumers or producers.

-- Jack Krupansky

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