There’s a misconception that renewable energy and eco-friendly living has to cost a fortune. It’s true that solar and wind power has been much more expensive than traditional hydrocarbon fuel sources for years. But rapid advances in solar panel technology and improvements in wind turbine design are bringing down the cost of “green” power per kilowatt hour. Combine this with advances in geothermal, wave and biofuel power generation, and there are loads more options for renewable power sources. For consumers, this means green power may soon be cheaper than traditional power. Here are a few tips for getting the best deal for both you and the environment.
We waste a lot of money and resources simply by being complacent. We leave the lights on even though it wastes energy. We ignore the water leak as it wastes litres of water. We continue with the same electricity providers because they’re familiar. And as a result, we spend more than necessary. But you could switch to an energy provider who provides more eco-friendly power and a lower utility rate. The solution? Shop around for providers. Even if you like your current service provider, simply telling them you’re considering switching service could result in a lower energy rate or incentives to keep you as a customer.
Search for Energy Companies with a Good Renewable Energy Portfolio
Shopping around is a good way to find cheaper energy, but if you’re reading this, the eco-friendliness of the power source matters just as much. Start looking at how much of the power the company provides from renewable or green sources. Give preference to those who generate mostly renewable power, and if there isn’t a good option, at least choose one that uses more nuclear and natural gas, and less coal or oil. You can get a rough estimate of this by checking their green energy rating. iSelect provides a good rundown of energy service providers in each state that provide most or all of their power from renewable sources.
Narrow Down the Choices with Financial Criteria
Once you’ve identified several potential suppliers, then you can decide which one you want to choose based on financial criteria. This isn’t just going to be the price per kilowatt hour. Compare the peak and off-peak rates. After all, you don’t want your electric bill to spike because you were running the air conditioner at 4pm. Note that you might save money by agreeing to a long-term contract. You may also save money by bundling natural gas and electricity with one service provider. If you plan on killing your gas connection, remember to plan on a higher electricity consumption rate. If you aren’t sure you’re getting the best deal, you may want to choose a contract that is shorter or doesn’t have a high cancellation fee. And don’t forget to compare companies based on supply charge or baseline fees you may be hit with if you manage to dramatically cut your energy usage.