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Millions of Americans are changing their electricity providers — here’s why

You might have access to even more direct options.

You might have access to even more direct options.

Photo Credit: iStock

Depending on where you live, you might not have much of a say in where your electricity comes from.

Most Americans live in regulated utility markets, which means most of us are basically stuck with whatever regional or local power company dominates our area. 

For anyone who’s worried about their home’s effect on things like air quality and pollution, this presents a bit of a problem — because around 60% of our country’s electricity still comes from dirty energy sources like coal and gas.

But a new surging trend is allowing millions of households to take back their agency: green power plans.

What is a green power plan?

A green power plan is a utility plan that allows you to electrify your home with clean, abundant energy sources, like wind, solar, geothermal power, and hydropower. 

The exciting thing about these plans is that, where available, they’re extremely easy to sign up for and can cost surprisingly little — for many households, as little as $10 a month. It’s just about the simplest, effort-free way to reduce your home’s impact on our planet. 

These changes can go a long way, too, since about 20% of all carbon pollution in the U.S. comes from the energy we use to power our homes. 

How can I sign up for one?

These plans have grown increasingly popular in recent years — by 2021, more than one in 20 U.S. households had some kind of green power plan. 

That’s particularly good news, because utility companies have caught on, too. Most power companies offer some kind of green power plan, so depending on where you live, you may be able to sign up with your current provider. 

If you live in a deregulated utility market, you might be able to shop around a little. It’s possible there could be multiple options in your area, so take a minute to check for the cheapest — and most legit — option. 

What other options do I have? 

If you can’t access a green power plan in your area, you could consider buying Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). These certificates offset your home’s dirty energy use by supporting an equivalent amount of renewable energy in places where it is available. 

There’s some controversy around the effectiveness of this option, but it’s certainly a good start. You can check out a trusted REC retailer like TerraPass to learn more.

You might have access to even more direct options, such as community solar. Community solar programs, which give you access to clean, cheap solar power without having to install panels yourself, work in a similar way, although in this case, you’re possibly buying into a project closer to home. 

Instead of costing you thousands to put up panels, they could ultimately save you thousands without the hassle or long payback period. 

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