June 3, 2016
by Great Lakes Energy President/CEO Bill Scott
My mail is filled with requests to “Join Today!”, “Buy Now!” and “Save Big”. Whether it’s by mail or phone, companies try to sell just about anything these days. So we weren’t surprised to recently learn about a company trying to sell 100 percent green energy to GLE members by charging a premium.
In less than a year, GLE will be providing at least 30 percent of your electricity from renewable energy sources.
For members interested in purchasing more, we recommend asking a few important questions before enrolling with an outside company.
- What am I buying? Companies that resell green energy purchase renewable energy credits or certificates (RECs) from renewable energy sources across the country. These RECs are for wind, solar and other renewable energy that was likely generated somewhere else and in the past. It doesn’t mean your home will receive this green energy. The “green electrons” flow onto the grid and mix with utility generated power, so there is no way to know who will use them. The only way to meet your energy needs with primarily green power is to generate it yourself.
- Are the RECs from local generating facilities? Not necessarily. Your money could pay for wind or solar farms generating power in other states.
- How does their billing work? Outside companies may offer a combined bill that includes your Great Lakes Energy charges plus a premium for green energy. They send an electronic bill, collect payment and send our share to us. Read the fine print as they may want direct access to your GLE online account, which can be risky. Would they pay your bill on time? What if they go out of business? Do you want to give your online account credentials to a third party?
- Does GLE offer renewable energy credits? Not at this time, but your cooperative is already leading the way with renewable energy. By the end of this year or early next, at least 30 percent of your electricity will come from clean energy sources. This is through our power supplier’s purchase of more renewable energy from new wind turbine development in the Thumb area.
The bottom line? If a company tries to sell you 100 percent green energy, do your research or contact us for assistance. We’re looking out for you.