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green mountain energy paying retail rates

Net Metering is the term which describes your utility giving you a credit when you send extra electricity generated back into the grid. Green Mountain Energy based out of Austin, Texas is an environmentally friendly electric utility that focuses on generating electricity through renewable energy such as solar and wind power. Today the company announced they will be buying electricity generated from a customer’s solar panel rooftop at retail rates. This means customers receive a credit equal to the amount they buy electricity for per kWh (kilowatt-hour) up to 500 kWh. A customer will receive half the retail rate on any electricity contributed into the grid over 500 kWh. New electric meters that have increased functionality can measure both inflow and outflow at any give time of a building which allows electric utilities to pay solar customers a rate closer to the wholesale price of electricity. A couple customers have already signed up for the pilot program, do you think programs like this will encourage more people to install solar...

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Santee Cooper holding solar power customers hostage!

Thanks to a reader comment, we dug into the South Carolina utility company called Santee Cooper because we wrote yesterday about how the state of South Carolina has implemented a statewide net metering law. Net-Metering is offered in most states across the USA but the customers of the Santee Cooper utility, about 2 million of them are being held hostage by the utility company becase they are not offering true net-metering. This utility company has came up with their own sneaky plan to keep customers from buying and installing solar by offering “net-billing”, which is their own version of net-metering that totally favors the utility company. The interesting part is when you visit the Santee Cooper website they show off they “Live Green” and brag about their solar power initiatives, but it’s just plain and simple Greenwashing. According to SourceWatch Greenwashing is defined as the following, “the unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government, a politician or even a non-government organization to create a pro-environmental image, sell a product or a policy, or to try and rehabilitate their standing with the public and decision makers after being embroiled in controversy.”The defintion of Greenwashing perfectly fits what Santee Cooper is doing with by not offering net-metering like the rest of the country and offering a “net-billing” which really does no encorage customers to install solar panels. The South Carolina Net Metering Blog does a good job describing net billing offering by Santee Cooper. Net-Billing is a pilot program in which only 10 people can participate. Once you install a solar power system and particpate in the program you have to change your rate to time of use. Since its a pilot program, there can be dramatic shifts in policy which could leave the solar power system owner holding the bags. Santee Cooper’s board of directors can change the program at their will. The CEO of the company thinks they are being generous compared to other utilites. We here in California have very generous utility companies (even though they are not perfect) Our state has the most solar power installations compared to anywhere else in the USA. So this message goes out to Santee Cooper, get your act together, offer real net-metering and stop playing games with your customers, we have no time to play these types of games and discorage the use of solar power, the renewable energy revolution is going to happen with or without Santee Cooper. Santee Cooper customers, if you are dealing with the utility to install solar power on your home or business and are having trouble with Santee Cooper and...

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