As utilities begin the transition from an era of captive ratepayers to a competitive consumer marketplace, it is critical for them to develop strong brand identities and enhance their customer relations and product offerings.
Landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) projects can help through the development of green pricing or power marketing programs.
Green pricing allows utilities to meet their customers' demands for more environmentally-responsible energy by offering a premium electricity product. Green power marketing is occurring, with more than 23 U.S. utilities testing or implementing green pricing programs.
In pilot programs in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, energy suppliers offered a variety of products including power with no nuclear component and power with a percentage of renewables.
Studies of these pilots have shown that 20 to 30 percent of customers selected "green" options.
Green pricing programs use a variety of payment mechanisms, including flat monthly rates, green tariff or per kWh surcharges, tax deductible contributions and monthly bill round-ups.
In addition to these green pricing programs, many utilities are forming subsidiaries or opening out-of-state offices to market renewables in competitive marketplaces. (California will be the first, with full retail access in 1998.)
LFGTE projects are excellent renewable resources for green product offerings. With a targeted effort to educate customers about the community and environmental benefits of using landfill gas, a landfill gas to energy green program can be successful.
If you are interested in participating in a green LFGTE pilot project or would like more information on green pricing programs, contact Mary Schoen at (202) 233-9058 or visit the U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network website: www.eren.doe.gov/green power/