I know that someday you'll find better things.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Power to Choose (.org)

Not all electricity is created equally.
Nor is it billed equally.
But by golly, the juice that lights my home and your home and just about everything else on the grid is one and the same.

It's almost an insult that the companies make us feel like we have a choice, seducing us with their emotionally-charged advertising and fooling us into thinking that we can make a powerful and positive change to the planet with our selections of plans and providers.

Watch this youtube video from Green Mountain Energy and you'll see what I mean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6n-B9gJdT-E&feature=youtu.be

Let's see if I can embed it here (great for computer-based readers, but not usually successful for mobile device users)

Always a sucker for planet-related propaganda, I've historically attempted to select plans which are at least partially comprised of renewable resources, our primary option being wind. 

We have a lot of wind here. I think it's because there are so many open, flat places-- there's nothing to slow it down, and like a cartoon snowball careening downhill, it just gets bigger and more powerful as it proceeds. 

Might as well put it to good use.

On the giant list of choices, renewable plans abound. They seemed like the responsible choice-- my little nod to the environmental activist I always thought I'd grow up to be before I was waylaid by everyday life in suburbia.

Sure, those plans are generally a tad more expensive than the non-renewable plans, but it's for the good of the earth. 

Mother Nature.

Not so long ago, I found out that when you select a renewable plan, you're not actually receiving 100% wind-powered energy. You're not getting fifty, ten, or even six percent wind energy. 

You're getting the same electricity that's piped into every other home in your neighborhood, except you are paying a premium for it.

Maybe you knew this.
I didn't.

There's something to do with not being able to store it or convert wind-power into house-power, or pipe it across great distances. Some such hindrance-- I can't remember. I tried to look it up, but the search topic is riddled by big business and bitter bloggers. It was challenging to extract precisely what was happening and why. 

After reading several articles on this subject, here's what I have concluded:

By paying an increased rate for a percentage of wind-powered energy, what you are effectively doing is using your dollars to say, "I support this idea, and I sincerely hope that someone, somewhere is able to benefit from it."

Much like sponsoring a child in Africa for just pennies a day.
Or purchasing and registering a star in the solar system to honor a loved one.
Or buying a paper shamrock at the grocery store and hoping that your full five-dollar donation finds its way to Jerry Lewis and his friends at the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation.

But there are other more financially responsible ways that you can show your support.
You can send an email to a congressman. 
Any congressman. 
All the congressmen.
For free!

So as I sit here, examining the options for my next electricity contract, I'm going to choose solely on cost. 

For the first time ever, I'm not going to let myself be persuaded by that billowing, arrogant bully.

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