, March 9, 2010 2:54 pm
I’m used to being in the minority. Years ago, it wasn’t always so cool. But now, at least when it comes to alternative energy, I’m hoping us green types will eventually become the majority. Since signing up for NStar’s Green Program last year, 100% of my household’s electric comes from a wind farm in upstate New York. I’d prefer a wind farm somewhere in Massachusetts (it’s that Red Sox vs. Yankees thing) but we’re still battling over the proposed wind farm in Nantucket Sound. That will get sorted out…hopefully soon. Our cost per kilowatt has been a few pennies more, although I can’t really say I noticed much of a difference on our bill. We’re on the level billing program since it provides for easier budgeting.
Of the more than one million NStar electricity customers, fewer than 1% (8,000) signed up for the Massachusetts Green Program since it started in July of 2008. I don’t think they promoted it nearly enough. And now, the utility has applied for a rate increase to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities citing “rapidly changing energy prices”. If approved, the rate hike will kick in next month. Those getting 50% of their electricity from wind will pay an additional 1.52 cents more per kilowatt hour of power, or roughly $7.50. Those getting all of their electricity from wind will pay 3.04 cents more….roughly $15 per month. It’s not a deal breaker, as far as I’m concerned, but it may discourage thousands from enrolling in the program in the future. That’s too bad, since I believe this country has to shift to multiple forms of alternative energy to meet our needs in the future and make us less dependent on foreign oil. Check with your utility company and see if you can make the switch. Long term, it’s the right thing to do….like paying more for fresh fruit vs. getting it in cans. Until next time, here’s to good planning!