Power your house with 100% renewable electricity today

Did you know that the Cleveland-Akron-Canton metro area is ranked as one of the top 10 U.S. cities most polluted by year-round particle pollution? The American Lung Association’s "State of the Air 2019" report indicates that particle pollution can increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and asthma, as well as interfere in the growth and general functioning of the lungs. 

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Ohio is the third-largest coal-consuming state in the nation after Texas and Indiana, and nearly 90% of the coal consumed in Ohio is used for electric power generation. Fossil fuel-burning power plants, like NRG Energy's Avon Lake power plant several miles west of us, are contributors to the particle pollution problem.  

On top of that, the Avon Lake power plant renewed, in 2018, a variance from the EPA that allows them to release mercury contamination into Lake Erie at levels nearly three times the EPA limit. These local pollution facts, on top of the global carbon issues surrounding burning of fossil fuels, should concern us all since they affect our health through the air we breathe and our region’s source of drinking water.    

One easy way to become part of the solution is to switch to renewable sources of electricity for your home. This does not require expensive solar panels on your roof or a wind turbine in your backyard. It is surprisingly easy to obtain clean energy right here in northeast Ohio with just a few clicks online. Doing so won’t change who your electric bill comes from and won’t even affect any existing auto-pay settings.

The great news is that renewable energy is now very competitive with, and often less expensive than polluting sources, like coal, nuclear and natural gas-generated electricity. And, being that the power grid is shared infrastructure, your power reliability will be exactly the same regardless of who you choose to generate your power.

The ease of changing who generates your power is due to the fact that the state of Ohio has a deregulated electricity market. From the consumer end, this simply means that we get to choose who generates our electricity. Because the role of generation (picture the Avon Lake power plant or a wind turbine) is separate from transmission & billing (picture power lines, telephone poles and your electric bill), we get a combined bill from The Illuminating Company/FirstEnergy regardless of who we pick to generate our power.

FirstEnergy is always responsible for maintenance of the power lines and sending you your combined bill. The generator of your electricity already shows up as a separate line item on your current FirstEnergy electric bill.

Furthermore, if you live in Bay Village, now is the time to opt out of the city-negotiated plan, recently mentioned in the mayor’s "Bay Village News" letter. That plan was negotiated with FirstEnergy Solutions (a generator of electricity), which is a different company than FirstEnergy.

Instead, you can sign up with a 100% renewable plan using the Ohio Public Utilities Commission website. Prices for the renewable plans are currently less expensive than the city plan, with a shorter term.

Below are easy instructions on selecting your energy generator. Keep in mind that you may be subject to an early termination fee if you are currently under contract with another power generator. You can call the number on your power bill if you are unsure.

  1. Go to Energy Choice Ohio www.energychoice.ohio.gov and click on "COMPARE OFFERS NOW."
  2. Click on "ELECTRIC."
  3. Click on "RESIDENTIAL" and then select your service provider (The Illuminating Company for Bay Village and Westlake).
  4. On the Apples to Apples Comparison Chart, select The Illuminating Company, and filter for 76%-100% "renewable content" by using the left-hand panel. 
  5. Compare plans, paying attention to rate (variable or fixed), early termination fees and contract length.
  6. Click on Sign Up under the supplier you wish to select. You will then be forwarded to the supplier’s website to finish the process of switching electricity generators.
  7. Let your friends know how easy it was to help push our region and country towards cleaner electricity and encourage them to switch to renewable too!

Patrick McGannon

President of the local nonprofit, Bay Village Green Team, Patrick McGannon has been a Bay Village resident for most of the past 39 years.  He often can often be found kayaking in Lake Erie, hiking in the parks, or bicycling throughout the western suburbs. He is also a board member for the nonprofit Village Bicycle Cooperative.

Read More on Nature & Environment
Volume 11, Issue 19, Posted 9:11 AM, 10.01.2019