If you’ve spent some time walking down 5th or 7th Avenues in the past few weeks, you’ve likely encountered some folks who are ready to talk to you about Green Mountain Energy. So what is it all about? We stopped to chat with André Guerriere, one of the Green Mountain canvassers on the corner of 7th Avenue and 9th Street, and learned a little more.
Anyone who pays a Con Ed bill has the right to tell Con Ed where that money goes. In other words, anyone who pays a Con Ed bill can tell Con Ed where they want their energy to come from. Green Mountain, one of many green energy service companies (ESCOs) that you can chose from, has a mission statement that emphasizes a reliance on clean, renewable energy sources.
What this means is that you can essentially, and apparently seamlessly, change the source of your energy without changing your electricity provider. Ideally, that source will be “inexhaustible [...] like wind and water.” The Green Mountain site explains the process:
When you sign up for a cleaner Green Mountain Energy electricity product, you are choosing how the electricity you buy is generated, not how it is delivered. Thus, the reliability of your electricity service will not change; there’s no rewiring or special equipment required for your home. The local utility company stills owns and maintains the poles and wires that deliver electricity to your home, restores service outages and handles meter issues.
The company is growing rapidly (André excitedly tells us, “The Empire State Building signed up with us!”) and they’re looking to keep it up in effort to move New York in a more sustainable direction. Part of that growth came under fire in 2010, however, when the company was acquired by NRG, a power plant operator that at the time reportedly generated about 93% of its power via natural gas, coal, and oil. Even so, City Limits wrote that “the larger company intends to shift toward more environmentally friendly fuel sources,” and that the same service would remain for Green Mountain customers: “every watt of energy that customers use, Green Mountain buys an equal amount of power from wind and hydroelectric plants.”
However you decide to get your energy, be sure to do your research first. Green Mountain has New York City-specific FAQs here, and you can take a look through reviews online. And please share your experiences in the comments here – if any of you have signed up with Green Mountain Energy or another ESCO, have you been happy with the results?