In late February, Georgia Power continued with the rollout of its Simple Solar program, which allows customers to pay an extra penny per kilowatt-hour of electricity to get somewhere between 50% and 100% solar electricity.
The program was designed in collaboration with the state’s utility regulator, the Georgia Public Service Commission. The money from the fee is used to purchase renewable energy credits from certified solar generation sources. Of course, this means that the consumer may not actually be getting solar electricity directly, but for a relatively modest fee every ratepayer can help boost the development of renewable power projects.
Georgia Power says that the program will cost about an extra $10 per month for most consumers, and they can opt out of the extra fee at any time. The company admits the only real reason to pay the fee is to have “the opportunity to take an active role in improving our environment.”
There is widespread evidence, however, that consumers are willing to pay a modest fee to bolster the environment. For example, a few years ago a survey found that the public is willing to tolerate payments with an average of $199 per year to pay for renewable electricity. Florida Power and Light has apparently found success with its SolarNow program, which is very similar. It allows ratepayers to tack an extra $9 on to their monthly bill that will be used to fund solar projects in public areas, including parks, zoos, schools, and museums. The Georgia program appears to be a success so far, as well.
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