Selective green power

Selective green power

By Dan Slattery

By Dan Slattery

Selective green power

Coming up this May, 2002, electric deregulation will apply to residential customers in Com Ed’s territory. When the options for an electricity supplier are presented, I would hope that “the bottom line” pricewise will not be the only criteria considered. I would hope that you would do your homework and determine, among other things, who out of these optional sources is providing the most “green power” to the pool.

For those of us who are concerned about the environment, this is a crucial factor regarding the legacy we leave behind for future generations.

First of all, let’s examine the mechanics of this situation. Com Ed will continue to be responsible for the transmission and distribution of electric power. They will continue to repair and maintain transmission lines, the power lines to your home or office, transformers, substations, etc., etc.

But the power (electricity) itself goes on to the “grid,” a nationwide transmission and distribution network. So does the power that is produced from other companies and other sources—such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass.

Herein lies your choice: If you are truly concerned about the environment, let this factor into your final decision. Com Ed (not to knock them) utilizes less than 1 percent of renewables, or “free” energy. Why not select a provider that utilizes much more than that? We need solutions now—not 10 or 20 years from now.

Yet, giving credit where credit is due, if you choose to produce your own electricity, and have an over-abundance, Com Ed will buy your excess power back from you under a program called “net metering.” For more information on that, call Com Ed, ask for Denise Bechen and the “Capture the Power” pricing experiment.

Finally, check with all of the electricity providers made available under residential deregulation. Someone entering this program must surely be providing more than 1 percent electricity generation from clean, renewable sources. Sorry, but nuclear and coal are not clean.

Dan Slattery is a member of the following organizations: The American Solar Energy Society, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, the Illinois Solar Energy Association and the Illinois Coalition Against Unfair Utilities.

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