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Community Energy Purchase Frequently Asked Questions
Round 3 – Spring 2012
1. What rate did you get during the last round of the Community Energy Purchase?
For the last round in September 2011, we secured a rate of $.0808 per kWh for institutions that chose 100% green power (and
$.0798 per kWh for those that did not). We also were able to secure a residential rate of $0.0793 per kWh, with 50% wind
power, that institutions can offer to their congregants.
2. How much did participating institutions save?
The institutional rate we secured in our last round is 14% below the Pepco “standard offer service” (SOS) in DC and the
residential rate is 20% below the Pepco SOS in DC. Collectively institutions saved over $215,000 over the one year contract
term. This means that if an institution has not previously had a competitive energy supplier, and has paid $15,000 annually for
electricity, they would save as much as $2,100 annually even with the purchase clean power.
3. If my organization changes energy suppliers, what will change, and what will stay the same?
Except for the drop in price, nothing would change about how your organization pays its energy bill or to whom, and no physical
changes to your building or meter would be necessary, either. In both DC and Maryland, your institution pays your energy bill to
a utility (Pepco, BG&E, Allegheny, or Delmarva), which is responsible for delivering energy supply to your organization. While
you have an opportunity in DC and in Maryland to choose a competitive energy supplier, we cannot change our respective
energy providers. (This also means, unfortunately, that at least a quarter of our energy bills — fees concerning distribution:
maintenance of lines and meters, and local taxes and fees — will not be affected by choosing a new supplier.)
When organizations do not actively choose a competitive energy supplier, then the utility serves as a default supplier and
charges a rate known as the “Standard Offer Service (SOS)”. These rates move slowly, but they can sometimes get locked in at
prices much higher than the true cost of electricity. Competitive energy suppliers can be more nimble, offering the best available
prices in the current energy market.
Far too many DC and Maryland institutions are spending more than they need to on their electricity bills because they continue
to pay the default rates offered by their utility. Even institutions that have a contract with a competitive energy supplier may be
able to get lower rates through the group bargaining power afforded by our buying group. But especially if your utility is currently
your organization’s default energy supplier, plan to join our group to bargain together with competitive energy suppliers for
4. How do I know if my institution has a contract? How do I know when the contract expires?
In both DC and Maryland, your institution may either pay the default rate, “standard offer service,” for which you would not have
a contract, or your institution may have sought a competitive supplier in the open market, in which case your institution does
have a contract. Most likely, the building manager or finance department of your institution will know if you have a contract with a
competitive energy supplier. On your institution’s energy bill you have an existing contract if you find text stating “this bill
contains charges from (PEPCO or BG&E) and another supplier” OR if under the “Account Summary” you find charges from two
Unfortunately, the contract expiration date is not listed on an institution’s monthly bill. To find your expiration date, you will need
to review the contract with your current supplier, and calculate the end date based on the listed start date and contract length.
5. How is “green” electricity different from other electricity? What is my organization actually buying by purchasing Renewable
Energy Credits (RECs)?
About half of the electricity coming in through our outlets in DC and in Maryland is generated by coal-fired power plants that are
linked to harmful pollution and climate change. All of the institutions participating in this community energy purchase are
encouraged to support clean power generation by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (also called “RECs” or “green tags”),
which helps to support wind farms and other renewable energy projects.
For more info:https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B9Qktp5wbrwNZDUyZWE3YmItZTNhYy00MzI5LTk5ZTgtYjBmMGIyZmQxZjc4&hl=en_US
Check out the savings!