On March 10, my 27th birthday, I decided to give a gift to myself and my planet by signing up for the Connecticut Clean Energy Options program. In this program, Ed and I are able to specify if we would like our electricity to come from clean options, and for a fee, we are able to make sure that the amount of electricity we use is put into the grid from clean sources. Does the clean energy come directly to our house? No, that’s not possible with the way that our electric company, United Illuminating, is set up. But what does happen is that 100% of the same amount of energy produced for our household electricity comes from clean options.
After a two month processing period, we just received our first electric bill in which we’re paying the extra fee for this clean energy. Why would someone want to pay extra for clean energy? Well, first let me say that this is a way of voting with our dollars. Ed and I are making the statement that clean energy is worth a little more to us. And also let me add that the fee is not that much. For 100% of our electricity to come from clean options, we pay a fee of $.011 per kilowatt hour. Last month, we used 555kwh of electricity. That means our bill goes up $6.11. That’s a very small price to pay for clean energy, especially when you consider that we did not have to pay for installation of solar panels or a wind turbine. That’s $6.11 well spent. However, if you can’t swing that, you can sign up for the 50% option, in which only 50% of your energy used is clean. The cost would then go to only $3.06 per month. Who can’t afford that, when you look at the impact you make and how easy it is. More information can be found on the FAQ page of the CT Clean Energy Options website.
So let’s talk clean energy. Where does it come from? There are two options, which are outlined on the CT Clean Energy Options website. We chose to go with Community Energy Company, because the cost is $.011 as opposed to $.015 with the other company, Sterling Planet. By chosing this company, 50% of the electricity we use comes from Wind power, and 50% comes from Small Scale Hydroelectric power.
So what kind of impact on the environment are we making? Well, on the CT Clean Energy Options website, you can use the calculator to find out. So I tried it with our numbers. I entered 555 kwh as our average monthly usage, although I’m not sure if that’s really the average. But that’s what it was last month. If we multiply that times 12, and assume it came from traditional energy sources, the result would be 5834 pounds of Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. I know you can’t picture that, so here’s a comparison. 5834 pounds of Carbon dioxide is the same as:
- Burning 302 gallons of gasoline, or
- Driving 0.6 cars for 1 year, or
- Importing 6 barrels of oil, or
- Cutting 2 acres of forest.
So, by signing up and requiring our electric company to produce the same amount of electricity we use from clean sources, we are saving 5834 pounds of Carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
Traditional Sources of Energy for Electricity in my area
Community Energy Sources of Energy for Electricity
The other great part of signing up for this program is that participating towns are eligable to receive a free solar energy system for every 100 households that sign up for the 100% option. (The 50% option counts as half a household.) This system can be installed on a town building or a school. Some of our neighboring towns have already received their panels. You can check to see if your CT town participates by clicking here. I was disappointed to learn that my town does not participate, but I’ll be looking into changing that.
So, are you ready to enroll? If you live in CT, grab your latest electric bill and click here to sign up!