Blog : The Power to Choose: Your Options for Electricity

By Madelaine | Mar 4, 2014 | in

“There is confusion about energy supply choices, a lot of headlines about energy markets in the news, and people are wondering if they should switch to a competitive supplier. The answer is that switching makes a lot of sense for many consumers.”

— Christophe Courchesne, Conservation Law Foundation

RYE — Christophe Courchesne of Conservation Law Foundation and Julie Lapham of ENH Power will be making a presentation, “The Power to Choose: Your Options for Electricity” on Thursday March 6th at the Rye Public Library, starting at 6:45 p.m. Sponsored by the Rye Energy Committee, the presentation will aim to help attendees make choices about their energy use and suppliers with information regarding how they can save money and take advantage of new, cleaner options.

Courchesne is an attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. CLF has been working to protect New England’s environment since 1966, using law, science, policymaking and the business market to create innovative solutions to our region’s most pressing environmental challenges.

As part of its work to advance a clean energy future for New Hampshire, CLF helped initiate the EmpowerNH campaign, which is encouraging New Hampshire residents to consider making the switch to a competitive electricity supplier and provides supplier-neutral information resources on consumer options. EmpowerNH partners include environmental groups like CLF and competitive suppliers like ENH Power. The coalition also includes the Seacoast’s own Green Alliance, a green business union and consumer co-op that works to educate businesses and consumers on sustainability, and local renewable energy company ReVision Energy. EmpowerNH believes that choosing a competitive supplier benefits New Hampshire residents, businesses, the state’s economy, and its environment.

“Restructuring has opened up the electricity market, providing options for consumers they would never have otherwise seen. It is important for consumers to be educated about their options, and to get a glimpse as to what is still to come,” said ENH Power’s Lapham. Lapham added, “The Rye Energy Committee should be thanked and acknowledged for taking the initiative to help put this presentation together.”

Large coal and other power plants owned by New England utilities used to be the primary source of power for N.H. residents. Now, competitive suppliers have entered the market and are offering consumers new power options from energy companies that are not guaranteed a profit and instead compete with each other on price and efficiency. Competitive suppliers utilize cleaner, lower-cost resources, including renewable power.

“All competitive suppliers are buying power that is cleaner than PSNH’s supply,” Courchesne said. “PSNH relies on old coal plants, including Schiller Station in Portsmouth, that are increasingly expensive to run and inefficient. If you are a PSNH default service customer, you are paying to keep those plants open, at above-market rates.” Courchesne added, “By switching to a competitive supplier, you are voting with your energy dollars that you want cleaner, more efficient power.”

Competitive suppliers buy power from the market, where the incentive is to move toward efficient, modern technologies and to keep down costs; they can pass that value on to customers. It’s as simple as that.

Each individual’s energy situation is different, and the choice may not be right for every consumer of every utility. To address that reality he will suggest other ways for all attendees to take control of their energy use, including obtaining an energy audit, making energy saving home improvements, and investigating residential solar options, such as those offered by EmpowerNH partner ReVision Energy, which will send a representative to the event.

“CLF, ENH Power, and the EmpowerNH coalition have a natural synergy in our mission, to help residents and business owners understand their options when it comes to electricity supply. That is what we will strive to do in our presentation,” said Lapham.

The presentation will also provide background on the region’s energy markets, a primer on understanding your electric bill, a discussion of public policy affecting electric choices, and in-depth information about energy options.

The event will take place from 6:45 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 6 at the Rye Public Library.