The winter that never ends in the Northeast U.S. has caused much trauma with people when it comes to paying energy bills. The Polar Vortex has caused a huge spike in energy demand, thus causing prices, especially variable rate products, to increase dramatically.
The legislatures of states like Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York have been in much discussion since the huge increase of complaints lodged against many energy suppliers. These complaints have prompted the utility commissions and legislatures to take a hard look into “price gouging” in the energy market.
EnergyChoiceMatters.com has published several stories relating to the debates going on in the northeast states. One of the most recent concerning U.S. Senator Charles Schumer calling for an investigation into Polar Vortex Pricing.
A Pennsylvania Energy Boss has also put heat on one supplier that has imposed a surcharge to recover high costs this winter, even though the customers are on a legal fixed rate contract. I believe a large percentage of people in the Northeast this year have opened at least one bill with a look of disbelief at the cost.
One alternative that is growing significantly in popularity is the addition of Windmills or solar arrays to the home. Over the past few years these options have become very doable for the average homeowner. We hope to have our home converted later this year when I catch up on the many other projects happening now.
Looking for alternatives does not have to be hard. Doing a little research will offer the consumer a plethora of options from which to choose. Finding a fixed low rate for either a short term of 6-9 months or longer terms up to five years with some companies, can be an easy choice.
I know in our situation, not only was I concerned about the rate I was paying, but I also wanted to make sure that we could have some environmentally friendly options as well. Finding a company that offered both a great fixed rate and a green energy option that still saved me money had me jumping up and down. I was thrilled to lock in at a great rate, lower than the local utility AND still was able to get a minimum of 50% of my energy use from Green sources.
We have also began the process for solar installation on our home. Although a total off-the-grid package was completely out of the question for us, we have been able to settle for an option that does allow us to get around 55% of our energy usage from installed solar panels. We originally thought solar was out of the question, but with advances in technology and reduction’s in costs, we can achieve a large part of our goal.
I won’t say that this Polar Vortex was a once in a lifetime occurrence, but hopefully we don’t see another winter like this one for many years. But at least we will be prepared if it does.