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Voluntary Green Pricing Program


1. What is the Voluntary Green Pricing Program (VGP)?

Public Act 342, Section 61 requires that an electric provider offer to its customers the opportunity to participate in a voluntary green pricing program under which the customer can specify, from the options made available by the electric provider, the amount of electricity attributable to that customer that will be renewable energy.

2. Is there an additional cost associated with this election?

Yes. Customer’s electing this premium service option will receive an additional charge per kWh, currently set at $0.0042, for the specified amount of electricity that is renewable.

3. How often will this rate get adjusted?

The rate will be modified when the utility executes a purchase agreement for new renewable resources or on a biennial basis, whichever comes sooner.

4. How much of my electricity can I elect be renewable energy?

Customers have the option of choosing 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% of their consumption come from renewable energy.

5. Will my election be offset by what TCL&P currently provides as renewable?

Yes. TCLP currently provides 20% of its electricity through renewable sources. Customers electing one of the options above will be charged that amount less 20%. As an example, if a customer elected 50% renewable, the additional per kWh rate would only apply to 30%.

6. Once enrolled, how long do I have to remain in the program?

There are no requirements on the length of time a customer must remain in the program. All participants electing to sign up will be enrolled until notification from the customer is received requesting termination.

7. Is the percentage of renewable energy I elect getting delivered to my home/business directly from a renewable source?

Unfortunately, it is physically impossible to distinguish and deliver individual electrons to specific homes or businesses. TCLP’s electricity is generated using multiple sources such as wind, coal and solar. This generated electricity gets pushed up into the “electric grid” which is a vast network of wires that transmits electricity coming from all fuel sources. By choosing green power (purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates to match your consumption) you are ensuring that renewable electricity is being delivered to the power grid on your behalf.

8. What are Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and how do they work?

Because it is physically impossible to distinguish the origin of where the electricity comes from or how it was generated, a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) is the instrument used to account, track and assign ownership to renewable electricity generation and use. 

A REC is issued when one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity is generated and delivered to the electricity grid from a renewable energy resource. Over the years, TCLP has acquired many RECs, either as the producer of renewable energy through projects such as the M72 Wind Turbine or purchased power from other renewable energy projects. When customers purchase renewable energy under the VGP program, they are essentially buying the green energy that resulted in the receipt of the REC. When a customer buys green electricity from a utility, what they are really doing is paying the utility to retire a set number of RECs. When a business says it is “powered by 100 percent clean electricity,” it means it bought and retired a number of RECs equal to its power consumption.

Click on this short video RECs: Making Green Power Possible to learn more about the role of a REC.

9. What will the extra revenues generated from my participation be used for?

TCLP has excess RECs, therefore does not have to purchase them on behalf of a customer signing up for the VGP Program.  Because of this, the Board recently adopted a policy that would dedicate the net excess revenues from the VGP Program toward approved City of Traverse City energy waste reduction projects in government owned buildings. The excess net revenues generated will continue to go towards assisting the City in reaching its 100% renewable energy goal.