Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Austin Energy GreenChoice customers: your fuel rates may go up in March

If, like me, you got in very early on Austin Energy's GreenChoice program, you have received the benefit of a fuel price less than half of the present standard rate (1.7 cents per KWH vs. 3.65 cents), and as a result of this, you probably pay quite a bit less than your non-GreenChoice neighbors.

For some of us, that ends in March 2011.

You see, the "batches", or subscriptions, for wind energy in Austin come with expiration dates.  Batches 1 and 2 (the fuel price for Batch 2 is 2.85 cents) expire March 1, 2011, as Austin Energy released recently.  This leaves customers with a choice:  do you let your fuel charge return to the "standard", or non-green, rate of 3.65 cents, or do you sign up for Batch 6, which carries a fuel charge of 5.7 cents?

It's not as obvious as a choice as one might think, unless one is a militant environmentalist.  But even if you don't happen to make Mother Earth paramount in your life, Batch 6 might be a good investment for you.  With each batch, subscribers have started out paying more per KWH than the standard charge, and so far, the trend has been for the standard charge to continue to increase until it passes the GreenChoice fuel price.  As Austin Energy put it:

A batch 1 customer paying 1.7 cents per kWh and averaging 1,000 kWh per month will have saved about $1,300 when their subscription ends March 1.

Batch 1 and 2 subscribers may sign up for Batch 6 starting on January 3, 2011.  Based on the history so far (with the caveat that past performance is no guarantee of future results), it seems like a good move.


Stephen Olander-Waters said...

Well, the last Green Choice contract was roughly 10 years. This one is for four years. We all know the base rate is going up in Oct 2012 to help pay for all the alternative energy. That means not only do you pay the extra Green Choice charge but the base rate as well. Furthermore, with only 4 years for the rates to catch up, I seriously doubt the regular fuel charge will go higher than the Green Choice contract.