NIPSCO electric customers are now able to buy "green" energy from renewable sources for their homes and businesses through a new program recently approved by state regulators.
The Green Power Program is voluntary and customers electing to participate will be charged a small price premium depending on how much of their power they want to be attributable to renewable sources, such as wind and solar, according to NIPSCO.
NIPSCO chief executive Jim Stanley said the pilot program will complement the utility's other environmentally friendly offerings such as electric vehicle incentives and energy efficiency programs.
“We're proud to offer residents and businesses in northern Indiana the opportunity to purchase renewable energy,” Stanley said.
Customers can have 25 percent, 50 percent, or 100 percent of their electric purchases from NIPSCO attributable to renewable sources.
For a NIPSCO customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours per month, which is just above usage by a typical customer, the monthly premium would work out to 54 cents at the 25 percent level, $1.08 at the 50 percent level and $2.16 at the 100 percent level.
Commercial and industrial customers also would have the option of buying energy from renewable sources at the 5 or 10 percent level.
The pilot program would work much like one instituted on South Shore trains over the summer. The power actually delivered to participating customers is not necessarily from renewable sources. Instead, NIPSCO buys what are called renewable energy certificates through a company called Green-e Energy.
That process certifies that an amount of renewable electricity equal to that ordered by NIPSCO customers is being bought from Midwestern sources and dispatched into the electric grid. The credits have the effect of upping the demand for renewable energy sources, which proponents hope will lead to further growth in the industry.
Customers interested in participating can find out more at NIPSCO.com/GreenPower or call the utility's customer service line at (800) 464-7726.
According to NIPSCO, the green power price premium is strictly a pass-through cost, with no profit earned by the utility.