The Damage Energy Suppliers Can Do to You
If you live in any of the sixteen states which have adopted new energy regulations over recent years, including, but not confined to, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, or Texas, you probably have already heard about third-party energy suppliers. In addition, you may have heard that these suppliers can help save you money on your electric bill. What you may not be aware of is that these savings can come at the expense of the environment. While all three are concerned with minimizing their carbon footprint, the differences between these three are quite stark.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
natural gas electricity generated from coal is the two most significant contributors to global warming. The emissions from coal-fired power plants, also known as non-renewable energy sources, account for nearly 40% of the air pollution in the United States. As you can see, by reducing the emissions that these sources produce, natural gas and electricity suppliers can greatly reduce the number of pollutants that pollute our air. However, they have also implemented a cap on natural gas contracts, to stabilize the natural gas market and its price fluctuations. In many areas, both of these policies are in effect, except for the cost-effectiveness of the cap on natural gas contracts.
On the other hand
there are no regulations whatsoever regarding energy suppliers providing electricity to residential homes or businesses. It would be safe to assume that there are no regulations or restrictions on these energy suppliers other than those which apply to the utility company which sells the retail level electricity to consumers in the area. These suppliers are allowed, however, to participate in the wholesale trade of electricity. This means that they can sell retail electricity to consumers in the same area at wholesale prices, without considering the impact that these prices will have on the environment.
Electricity, like natural gas and natural coal
is also “captured energy,” meaning that it has been made using a process that does not have to result in a carbon footprint. Most residential consumers in the United States are required to purchase electricity from their local utility company. Although electricity rates may be set by the utility company, consumers are often unable to choose among the rates offered by the companies. In this case, energy suppliers are allowed to participate in the wholesale trade of electricity and offer retail customers pricing advantages over those that opt to purchase their electricity through the utility company. In addition to having the ability to participate in the wholesale trade of electricity through their distribution networks, energy suppliers can negotiate special rate deals with consumers.
Unfortunately, this means that energy suppliers
are also able to participate in the pollution of land and water. Through the practice of hydroflowing waste, energy suppliers discharge wastewater into rivers and streams, threatening the lives and livelihoods of wildlife that depend on those bodies of water for drinking and fishing. In addition, electricity generated from coal power plants creates air pollutants called hydrocarbons, which are the primary cause of smog and acid rain. Many states have passed laws requiring utility companies to clean up their polluted power lines, and many have taken steps to pass laws requiring utility companies to buy back surplus power produced by their facilities if they do not use that excess to generate electricity.
In addition to harming the environment
through the disposal of non-eco-friendly waste, energy suppliers harm consumers through the generation of high electricity bills. In many areas, consumers are required to pay a certain amount of excess electricity generated from natural gas or coal to offset the benefits received from the production of electricity from clean, renewable sources. Those who cannot afford the expensive installation costs associated with wind and solar power systems may simply not be able to afford the fees necessary to offset these costs. As a result, these consumers may end up paying the utility company’s high prices for natural gas and coal, even as they indirectly support the destruction of the planet through their use of electricity generated by non-renewable resources.