Austin Energy #1 in Nation—Again
For the third year in a row, Austin Energy's green power program was the #1 program in the nation in sales. Data compiled by the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that Austin Energy's GreenChoice ® Program led all utility-sponsored green power programs with sales of more than 334 million kilowatt-hours (kWh).
This was 72 million kWh better than second place Portland General, almost double the sales of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and more than four times the green power sold by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power - which has four times as many customers.
Austin Energy customers are also paying less for green power. GreenChoice had the second lowest premium in the nation at one-half cent per kWh. This means a typical Austin household using 1,000 kWh of power a month pays about $5.00 more per month for green power than does a non-subscriber. The majority of the top 10 lowest premium programs charge between three-quarters of a cent to a one-cent premium.
Austin businesses get much of the credit for the success of GreenChoice. Some 352 Austin businesses are subscribers, 314 of which have subscribed for 100% of their annual energy usage. This gives Austin more 100% green-powered businesses than any city in America. In addition, more than 7,500 residential customers subscribe to GreenChoice.
The Austin Independent School District leads all public schools in the nation in green power purchasing, subscribing to 48 million kWh of green power annually. AISD, Advanced Micro Devices (36 million kWh) and the Round Rock Independent School District (18 million kWh) are among the largest 25 green power subscribers enrolled in the EPA's Green Power Partnership. The Partnership includes over 500 businesses nationwide including Fortune 500 companies and large governmental entities such as the US Air Force, the program's largest subscriber.
GreenChoice provides a unique feature to subscribers-a fixed cost component. The standard fuel charge (one of two primary charges on the electric bill) is taken off the bill of GreenChoice subscribers and replaced with a GreenChoice charge.
The GreenChoice charge stays fixed for the life of Austin Energy contracts for renewable energy. Customers subscribing to GreenChoice in 2005 get a GreenChoice rate that will stay fixed until December 31, 2013. This means GreenChoice subscribers are not affected should the standard fuel charge on non-GreenChoice customer bills be increased due to rising fossil fuel costs, such as natural gas.