Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Reliant's wind energy plan

Reliant Energy has recently lowered its prices. There is apparently a lower cost in generating electricity, and they have passed the savings on to the consumers. I'm shocked, to say the least, but not at all surprised since we've been waiting for this since last year.

Along with my bill was a note about a new wind generated plan. Interestingly, they quote rates based on 1,500 kWh per month usage. Would rates go up if use was higher? I should hope so. But it would be nice if they rates were significantly lower for those of us who actively conserve energy? The first 250 kWh I use is billed very low, $.029, while everything about 250 is billed at $.077. Quite a jump. I do not know what the rate increases to again, but I only used 500 kWh last month. Far below the 1,500 average, so I do wonder if I'm paying the same rate as someone using 1,000 or 1,500.

Anyway, this wind generated plan looked like a good deal. But then you read the fine print. They say the wind plan is the same rate as the regular electric plan. One curiosity is that they frequently call it a "discounted lower rate". Okay, so what's the regular rate, and how long until my bill suddenly adjusts up to the original rate? A good question, I think.

But hey, it's good for the environment right? Well, maybe. Buried also in a little fine print is this gem:

Customers who choose the Reliant Energy Residential Wind Plan will not have electricity from a specific generation facility physically delivered directly to their home or location. By purchasing this product, however, Reliant Energy Residential Wind Plan customers will be contributing to the use of renewable energy resources in Texas.

(emphasis added by me) Huh? The flier enclosed reads:

For a limited time, you can choose environmentally friendly 100% wind generated electricity at a new low rate

How exactly am I choosing 100% wind generated electricity while at the same time, not actually receiving wind generated electricity? The reading materials they sent provided no answers, so I decided to call them up.

Sadly, the customer service rep I talked to didn't have a clue what it meant either.

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