PORTLAND, Ore., October 29, 2002 — Give Oregonians new options in choosing renewable energy and they’ll rush to buy them.
Portland General Electric (PGE) and Pacific Power announced today that customer sign-ups for renewable power products have more than tripled in just nine months, after they began offering their customers 99 percent pollution-free electricity supplied by Green Mountain Energy Company in January.
Oregon’s two largest electric utilities also announced they will soon launch new informational campaigns to remind consumers about their new energy choices, including cleaner, renewable power options.
Prior to Oregon’s new energy restructuring law that went into effect earlier this year, about 8,200 PGE and Pacific Power customers in the state were enrolled in a renewable energy program. With additional options available, thousands of Oregonians have jumped at the opportunity to support renewable power.
Currently 28,518 residential customers and 653 small businesses (29,171 total customers) are enrolled in new renewable energy purchase options offered by Pacific Power and PGE.
“The customer participation numbers achieved in the Oregon utility programs are among the best in the nation,” said Blair Swezey, principal policy advisor at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo.
“We’ve learned from other states that customer sign-ups increase with customer awareness of renewable energy options. We expect even more Oregonians to sign up as the utility information campaigns proceed,” Swezey added. NREL tracks the growth of the “green” power industry on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy.
See chart below for PGE and Pacific Power Oregon customer sign-ups for renewable energy as of Dec. 31, 2001 through Oct. 24, 2002.
“The results speak for themselves; Oregonians care about their impacts on the environment and many of them have done their part to increase cleaner energy purchases in the state,” said Karen Norris, Oregon program director for Green Mountain Energy Company. “We want to thank those customers who have already made us a part of their electricity purchase-they should give themselves a ‘pat on the back’ for choosing a renewable option.”
“Customers are using the opportunity they have to match their energy purchases with their convictions,” said Judi Johansen, president and CEO of Pacific Power. “Oregon customers choosing cleaner power have helped to make Pacific Power’s renewable energy program one of the nation’s leaders. It also confirms Oregon’s renewable-friendly reputation. The participation bodes well for the future of renewables in the region.”
“In 2001, the federal government ranked PGE as one of the top ten utilities, nationally, for renewable power enrollments,” said PGE CEO and President Peggy Fowler. “Since the beginning of 2002 that number has tripled. Our customers tell us it’s just the right thing to do. We thank them for choosing renewable power that helps us build a sustainable future.”
Since March 1, 2002, three different renewable energy options have been available to Pacific Power and PGE residential and small business customers under Oregon’s electricity restructuring law.
Those options include wind power purchases through Pacific Power’s Blue SkySM and PGE’s Clean WindSM program, which have been available to customers since 2000, and two new options, which provide customers the ability to purchase all their electricity from renewable resources – a blend of geothermal and new wind generated electricity being provided by Green Mountain Energy Company.
The three renewable power options that PGE and Pacific Power have made available to customers since March 1:
1. Renewable Usage – Green Mountain EnergySM Electricity
100 percent renewable sources, it is more than 99 percent pollution free when compared to the electricity most Oregonians purchase today.* The additional cost for this option is less than a penny more per kilowatt-hour (kwh) and will average about $7-8 more per household per month, depending on electricity usage. Choosing this option enables the average Oregon household to prevent almost 2,700 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually – as much as a car makes when driven almost 3,000 miles or almost 30 round-trips between Portland and Salem.**
2. Habitat – Green Mountain EnergySM Salmon-Friendly Plan
Like the Renewable Usage option, this electricity product is generated from 100 percent renewable energy sources and a portion of the monthly bill contributes to the rebuilding and improvement of local watersheds. The additional cost for this option is less than a penny more per kwh plus a donation to habitat restoration projects overseen by For the Sake of the Salmon. The Habitat option will average about $9-$11 more per household per month, depending on electricity usage.
3. Fixed Renewable – Clean WindSM & Blue SkySM
Clean, new wind power in 100-kilowatt-hour (kwh) increments (blocks). Each block represents approximately 10 percent of an average Oregon household’s monthly electricity use for an additional charge of $2.95 for Pacific Power (Blue SkySM) customers and $3.50 for PGE (Clean WindSM) customers per block. Buying just one block of Blue Sky for one year prevents almost 1,700 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually – the equivalent to what a car makes when driven about 1,800 miles.
Both utilities will soon begin new efforts to inform customers about the different energy options that are available to them. PGE is sending out mailings to every residential and small business customer, with additional information on their Web site. PGE’s informational mailings begin at the end of October and extend through the end of the year. Pacific Power is conducting a new educational campaign with customized enrollment forms. The mailings will begin in November to Pacific Power residential and small business customers throughout the state.
About Green Mountain Energy Company
Green Mountain Energy Company (www.greenmountain.com) provides less-polluting electricity generated from sources including wind, solar, water, geothermal, biomass, and natural gas. More than half a million customers in California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas have chosen Green Mountain EnergySM electricity-electricity that is dramatically cleaner than typical system power in those states. The Austin, Texas-based company was founded five years ago with a mission to “change the way power is made.”
About Pacific Power
Pacific Power serves 520,000 Oregon customers as part of its six-state PacifiCorp network that serves 1.5 million customers with safe, reliable electric service. The company includes environmental sustainability in its mission and works to contain the environmental impact of activities and demonstrate environmental care in the communities it serves. Find out more about Pacific Power’s energy options by visiting www.pacificpower.net or by calling 1.800.769.3717.
About Portland General Electric
Portland General Electric (PGE) is a participant in the utility industry with more than a century of experience delivering safe and reliable electricity. PGE serves more than 740,000 retail customers in northwest Oregon and wholesale customers throughout the western United States. The company supports the community through a variety of innovative philanthropic, volunteer and environmental stewardship efforts. Visit PGE on the Web at www.PortlandGeneral.com.
* Customers will not have electricity from a specific generation facility delivered directly to their home, but their electricity consumption will be replaced in the northwest power grid with electricity with the promised attributes on an annual basis.
** Based on average Oregon residential monthly usage of 1068 kWh.