Arcadia Power is currently sending out this mailer to NYC residents, hoping to get them to sign up for their services, but one thing about this ad caught my eye, and that was their quote from NPR.
“Now consumers interested in green power have a choice.” – NPR
Well a quick google search came across this LOCAL NPR, article from 2014, Want to Get Your Energy From Renewable Sources? Louisville Has a New Option.
This is yet another case of an advertiser grabbing a sentence from an article and using it, in my opinion, in a very misleading way.
The quote itself comes from this paragraph,
But in Louisville, residents and businesses are already able to buy RECs through utility Louisville Gas and Electric’s Green Energy Program. Now consumers interested in green power have a choice. So, what’s the difference between Arcadia and LG&E’s programs?
Yes, the article is comparing two green energy programs in Louisville, Kentucky, not promoting them or talking about if Arcadia Power is actually something you should sign up for.
Maybe they should have quoted these articles instead:
“I mean, you can’t, like, defraud customers. There’s laws against selling snake oil,” he said. “But there’s no requirement that companies retire, turn over the same amount of RECs that they’ve sold. There’s no government oversight over this industry that’s essentially selling electrons that are already present in the system. It’s an interesting gap in the regulatory system.”
Because Arcadia isn’t actually generating power in Kentucky, the company isn’t subject to regulation by the Public Service Commission. The company’s website initially triggered alarm, because Arcadia advertised that it was “unbundling” power—a practice which is not legal in Kentucky. When that was brought to the company’s attention, the reference was removed and the wording changed.
PSC spokesman Andrew Melnykovych said it doesn’t seem that Arcadia is actually participating in unbundling, but there are other potential issues. He’s concerned that customers relying on Arcadia to pay their monthly bills could be left in the lurch if somehow—intentionally or unintentionally—the bills didn’t get paid.
For the average household that uses about 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month, Arcadia Power ends up being slightly more expensive than LG&E. For $5 a month, the utility offers a “block” of 1,800 kilowatt hours worth of RECs. Arcadia bills customers only for what they use; 1,000 kilowatt hours would cost $15 a month.
Here’s how Arcadia works: you sign up on their website and provide your utility account and banking information. Every month, Arcadia receives and pays your LG&E bill. Then, the company bills you for the full amount it paid LG&E, plus a surcharge of 1.5 cents on every kilowatt hour of electricity you use to cover the cost of buying RECs from the renewable energy source.
So in other words, Arcadia is acting as a middle man, and just collecting fees in order to pay the cost of buying RECs and you can expect your electric bill to rise a bit.