City Hippy

The diary of our struggle to live a green and fair life.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

FEATURE: Electricity Suppliers

When we bought our new house, well, our not new 1950's house, we wanted to find an electricity supplier that offered us greener renewable energy.

It is so tough to wade through all the marketing blather. But wade we did!

We need both gas and electric because we bought a gas oven, a decision I, if not Mrs Hippy, since regret. The oven could cause us a problem I fear as there is no way to replace gas with a renewable energy supply as far as I can tell - the thought of plumbing in a cow's bum to convert the oven to methane makes me retch.

We could of course replace it with an electric oven which would enable us to use renewable energy and even eventually wind and solar as we intend to do.

Oh well..gas oven for now.

Anyway, I digress. We hunted for a renewable energy supplier and found quite a lot of choice.

We really wanted to go with Ecotricity or Good Energy as we perceived them to be the most committed to renewable energy.

We got great info from WhichGreen which has handy advice although they put ecotricity at the top of the table even though they are investing peanuts overall compared to the big energy companies.

For us, we take a longer-term view: we want green energy and we want to encourage big existing energy companies to offer and invest in green energy.

Don't get me wrong...we hope some of you go with Ecotricity - but for us nPower seemed the better fit.

nPower's Juice programme - in their words:

Juice is currently generated at North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm. As a Juice customer, npower matches every unit of electricity that you use and feeds the same amount into the electricity network from North Hoyle. It's as simple as that.

We have made a commitment with Greenpeace to ensure we purchase enough electricity from clean, renewable sources to match our Juice customers' estimated electricity consumption throughout the year. At year end we will check your actual consumption to ensure that, for every unit of electricity you have used, a unit of green, clean electricity has been fed into the electricity network. (Renewable sources include hydro electric power, wind power and solar power.)


And we all know what a hard bunch of uncompromising folks Greenpeace are. If it's good enough for the Rainbow Warriors then it's good enough for us.

Of course it has to be an individual choice and you will get no judgement from us.

The one really big surprise was that the giant of British energy, British Gas, does not offer renewable energy, well none that we could find. Despite their partnering with WindSave to offer turbines they do not have a green energy offering that we could sign up for.

Their loss.

Namaste

CH

p.s. this post is our 100th post...just another milestone of course but makes us feel proud! Could not have done it without you. Have an extra namaste...namaste!

p.p.s of course this is all UK focused...what's the story in the US? Canada? Wherever you live?

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8 Comments:

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

Hi,

Unfortunately npower's juice comes 2nd to bottom on ethical consumers "ethiscore" report of green electricity providers:

http://www.ethiscore.org/report.aspx?id=245274&free=true

From reading the actual magazine article, this was as the parent company has recently bought some coal fired power stations as it about to re-commission them...

 
At 12:39 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hi Andrew

Thanks for the link...had not found that during our research...

Still sticking with nPower though...

For me the question is do we judge companies on the basis of how much they invest in alternative greener energy or on how green their overall supply is?

For me the supply is less of an issue...my energy from nPower is offset green energy.

But they invest massive amounts. Ecotricity do not invest a massive amount...

So it makes sense in both the short and the long term to go with the company that invests the most...

Doesn't it?

Namaste

CH

 
At 8:04 PM, Anonymous trembc said...

In New York State, Community Energy is a great company- you can choose between 100% wind, generated in the central part of the state (Finger Lakes) or part wind, part hydro. The 100% wind option is fairly new- it wasn't available when I first signed up - good sign that their wind generation is growing?

 
At 10:45 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hi Trembc

Yeah I think that sounds very encouraging...then again wind and solar is growing massively...if I had any money to invest thats where I would put it...

Sigh...

Namaste

Al

ps have added Community Energy to our links

 
At 9:14 AM, Anonymous joeturner said...

Thought you might be interested in a power company run by a friend of mine.

They are trying to address the social inequalities inherrant in a system which forces people who pay my a coin meter to pay more than those who don't.

See here: http://www.ebico.co.uk/

Cheers,

Joe

 
At 2:38 PM, Blogger merrick said...

City Hippy, Npower invest more in renewables as a sum, but a s a proportion of their generation it's almost nothing.

Under the UK government’s Renewables Obligation, electricity companies have to produce a set amount of their energy from renewable sources. The amount rises every year, and if they don’t hit the target they get fined, with the money going to those who did meet the target. The renewable energy they do produce is exempt from the Climate Change Levy.

In other words, they have strong financial incentives to move to renewables; it’s not being done out of any principle but, as with any corporation, out of concern for maximising profits.

The Juice scheme is a way to make it look like a moral stand and so get even more customers.

Green Energy, Good Energy and Ecotricity, on the other hand, exist solely to supply renewables; they are doing it on point of principle. Among them, Ecotricity is the only one to invest really significant portions of its money into new build renewables.

Because of this position, it's recommended by WWF and the Soil Association.

Npower's Juice is not a change in the company, just them giving an ethical spin on something they were going to do anyway, something they'd be penalised for not doing.

Their parent, RWE, is the worst polluter in all of Europe's energy generation, running 19 of the 'Dirty Thirty' worst installations. They own Thames Water, who the Environment Agency frequently fine and have named as the worst water polluter in the UK.

They don't deserve your money, the people with the ethical stance do.

 
At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutly, If you join Ecotricity you are effectively contributing £100 a year into new renewable energy infrastructure as that is how much they put in per customer. However, if you go with NPower you personally are conributing pence, if anything at all.

Chewshabadoo

 
At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutly, If you join Ecotricity you are effectively contributing £100 a year into new renewable energy infrastructure as that is how much they put in per customer. However, if you go with NPower you personally are conributing pence, if anything at all.

Chewshabadoo

 

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