Lean, Mean and Cheaper Than Caffeine

by Katy on June 17, 2009 · 7 comments

The following is a reprint of a previously published blog. Enjoy!

I did it. I finally took the plunge.

Did I get an American eagle tattooed across my back? Did I buy a 1969 summer-of-love style VW bus?


I finally switched my electric service over to green power. Wind energy. Biomass energy. Geothermal energy. What’s not to love?

I wrote previously about about the dilemma of wallet vs. idealism. I knew the green source energy was the right choice, I just couldn’t make myself do it.

Why pay extra money on my electric bill, when I’m simultaneously doing everything I can to lower it? I use CFL’s and obsessively turn off the power strips. Heck, I even line-dry my laundry in sunny, sunny Oregon!

But the Green Power Oregon director was on the local NPR radio station the other morning. Somehow, the guilt seeped through my iron-clad frugality armor. This is something I really should be doing. He talked about how the average green customer’s bill was only $7 more per month. Hmm . . . thought The Non-Consumer Advocate to herself. I’m not the average customer! He even used the tired analogy of “less than the cost of two lattes.”

I navigated myself through the PGE website. Sure enough, last month’s bill would have been only $4.32 extra. That clinched it. Even I am not that cheap.

Click. Confirm. Done.

Now I can relax in my occasionally well-lit home, smug in the knowledge that my electricity is lean, mean and cheaper than caffeine.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen@The Frugal Girl June 17, 2009 at 10:35 am

I wish mine would only be a few dollars more. The green energy here is a lot more expensive than the regular sort (and the regular sort is exceedingly expensive as it is. sigh.)


BohoBelle June 17, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Thanks for the repost, I missed this the first time.

I came home one day to find a ‘We’ve switched to Clean Energy’ sticker on the coffee table. I’d seen them before at work (I do local government sustainability awareness) and I wonder how one made it into our living room. That was when my darling fiance said that he had upgraded our account to green energy. I was surprised as we hadn’t even discussed it. (he’s not a tree hugger like me). But he said it was just the ‘right thing to do’. I don’t know how much it costs us, but I’m sure it is value for money.


tam June 17, 2009 at 6:44 pm

I’m not trying to be a downer about this topic. I think that paying extra for green power is a great thing – if the money is used right. Here in Florida,
it was discovered during an audit that only only 20 percent of the $11.4 million collected from customers for the Florida Power and Light’s “Sunshine Energy Program” was applied to developing renewable energy facilities.

According to the Florida Public Service Commission, it was found that “The majority of the collected funds were alleged to have been used for marketing and administrative costs.

“More than 38,000 customers voluntarily contributed to the program for almost five years. Participating residential and commercial customers made a $9.75 monthly contribution to the Sunshine Energy Program to promote the development of renewable energy. For every 10,000 residential customers who signed up for Sunshine Energy, FPL was to develop an additional 150kw of solar power in Florida.”

The program was terminated in Florida last July. Link is here: http://www.psc.state.fl.us/home/news/index.aspx?id=428.

I hope things are different for you in Oregon. It is disappointing when things like this don’t work.


Kathy June 18, 2009 at 4:11 am

Congratulations, Katy! 🙂

Wish I had the option to do the same.


Jenn Baron June 18, 2009 at 6:26 am

I live in Indianapolis and switched to “green” power about 2 years ago. I too found a balance between pinching pennies and being greener for the greater good. Here the extra cost was around $5 extra per month and for me that’s well worth it. I think we are all getting better about making more mindful decisions that reflect our priorities.

Keep up the great work and hopefully the future it won’t be too expensive for everyone to participate!


Karen June 18, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Here in Colorado we have had that option for about 7 or 8 years. We signed up then. I just checked our last year’s totals and we paid $165 extra for the whole year – so about $13.75 a month.

I hope we are having better results than Florida did. We also contribute to a local watchdog organization called Environment Colorado and they seem to keep a pretty good eye on our public service company (Xcel Energy).


alunachic June 18, 2009 at 4:49 pm

I’ll have to check on that here in Richmond VA. I’ve yet to turn on the ole’ AC but tomorrow it will be 97 degrees!!!

Good for you Katy. Being frugal also means being mindful of resources. Smart move!


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