The savings I noted on my August energy bill got me wondering what my overall savings have been since switching to a third party supplier for our electric and gas service. But I only recently got a chance to pour over the past almost 2 years of bills, and here is what I found…
For our electric service…
This is the “Everyday Green” 20% renewable energy option from Viridian Energy.
Through our local utility, only about 8% of the ‘energy content label’ is made up of renewable energy sources. So, for only about $3 more (over the past 19 months = about $0.17 per month more on average), we’ve been able to support 2.5 times the amount of green, renewable energy than we would be otherwise.
Note – the electricity that comes to your home is all the same. “Green” or “brown” – all energy sources are uploaded to “the grid” which then delivers the electricity to our homes. By requesting greener energy sources through a third part supplier, you are helping to create a supply and demand system where more green energy is developed and put into the grid to meet the demand from the public.
Viridian also offers a 100% wind option, which we may very well consider switching to in the future. We had signed up for that originally – and it was only about $5 more that first month. But then, I realized that if I was going to be telling people about Viridian in any sort of referral format (please see my disclaimer statements below!), I would need to experience the same thing that most of my referred friends, family, and clients would experience. And most people, at least to start, go with the 20% option because it’s greener energy for around the same price they’d be spending anyway.
So, we went with the 20% option instead, and after 19 months, I am happy to report that the Viridian promise of greener energy for about the same cost (on average – sometimes below in a given month, sometimes above) as your utility, holds true.
And here are our natural gas bills so far…
This past spring, Viridian launched their natural gas program, so we decided to give them a try in this realm too, having been happy thus far with their electric service.
Natural gas is a tricky one. There is much debate ‘out there’ about it; from how it is extracted from the earth (the cons) to using it to get off foreign oil (the pros) and more.
There are no clear standards as yet as to what constitutes a sustainable approach to natural gas – though extremely abundant, it’s a finite resource. And I have no answers on this.
BUT, I was happy to choose Viridian for the natural gas we do use because I know that their CEO and leadership team is genuinely committed to sustainability – and that makes them a voice in the natural gas arena that I would like to support.
And so far, the savings has been great.
We’ll see what it’s like come winter when our natural gas use ramps up for the colder months, but based on how they have delivered on their electricity promises, which were not ridiculously higher than the utility even in the peak summer months, I feel pretty positive about the winter bills coming our way. SO much better than the first natural gas company we had picked back in 2009!
So… What about you? Is energy deregulated yet in your state? Can you, or have you, already picked a third part supplier? What has been your experience with this? How do you shop for an energy supplier – cost savings, green content, or a mix of both? Do you know what questions to ask to find what matches your values?
Having gone through this process as a customer myself and done a good deal of research on the subject, I’d be happy to help answer questions for you if I can. Feel free to contact me. You can also look on Viridian’s website, or this post of mine from 2010, for FAQ&A on the general topic of energy choice.
NOTE – Depending on your energy usage and what you’re looking for, Viridian might not make sense for you. Although this is not the main focus of my consulting business, I am knowledgeable of the details and options and can promise you a no-hype consultation and 100% commitment to saying, “This doesn’t make sense for your situation” if it does not make sense for your situation.
a) In the spirit of full disclosure, while it is not a primary focus in my day to day business activities, I did choose to become a referring agent for Viridian.
b) As with Miessence, I am first and foremost a happy Viridian customer and would not be willing to ‘represent’ for them if I did not believe in the product and service enough to use it myself, based on all my research thus far.
c) Additionally, while I believe that these guys offer the best options that I’ve found thus far, I am married to principles, not a company or brand. If I ever find a greener electric company for a better price, I’ll switch – and let you all know. Promise!
d) If you are interested in switching to Viridian for your electric and/or natural gas service, as we did in our home, would you please consider calling them at 866-663-2508 to enroll (instead of enrolling online) and giving them my referring ID#11636? I will make a small commission for having referred you – and be thankful to both you and Viridian. Thank you!
e) Please remember, conservation will always save you more money than choosing a different supplier ever could, and it’s the first and most important step toward both lowering your bill and caring for people and planet. A greener third party supplier, such as Viridian, is just icing on the cake.
f) In the spirit of further disclosure, Viridian is offering my family a little bonus for any new customers we refer before October 20th, so I’ll offer you a fun little incentive, too. 😉 For those who are genuinely interested in greener energy at a great price anyway, if you enroll by phone through my ID# before October 20th, I’ll do a fun little raffle among all those new customers for the winner’s choice of cash or a gift certificate (amount to be determined based on how many new customers actually enroll).
>> Note – Viridian currently offers service only in NJ, PA, MD, NY, CT, MA, and IL. If you don’t live in one of those states, I’d encourage you to check around for similar options in your state from other companies – and please let me know what you find!