Summary

A program sponsored by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, enabling citizens to buy renewable energy at a small higher fixed cost in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions by 40,000 tons annually. Each customer receives two free compact fluorescent lights.

What is it?

Green Power for a Green L.A. is a city-sponsored program which gives Los Angeles customers the option to receive anywhere from 20 to 100 percent renewable energy by paying a small premium on their bill.

How does it work?

  • City of Los Angeles own and operates its own utility, LADWP (Los Angeles Department of Water and Power).
  • Customers are given the option of receiving all or part of their power from renewable energy, with a minimum of 20 percent for residential customers (threshold is lower for business customers).
  • Customers can sign up in 4 different ways:
  1. Online sign-up forms
  2. Printed forms taken out to community events
  3. Check-box on bill
  4. Telephone
  • Customers who sign up receive 2 complimentary compact fluorescent bulbs
  • A surcharge of $0.03 per kilowatt-hour for each kwh supplied to the customer is added to the customer's bill. On average, the extra cost for this package is 6% or approximately $3.30 on the average bill of $58 monthly.
How Using 2 CFLs Can Partially Offset Cost of Purchasing 20% Green Power
Average monthly household energy use 550 kWh
Additional monthly cost for 20% green power $3.30 at $0.03/kWh for 110 kWh
Average monthly kWh savings from 2 CFLs 13 kWh- assumes 75 watt incandescent is replaced is replaced with 20 watt CFL, each operated 4 hours a day
Cost savings from using 2 CFLs $1.39 at $0.105/kWh (average retail rate for electricity)
Net extra average monthly cost of participating in green power $1.91

Note: Individual results will vary depending on household size, age, type; age, type and use of appliances; and installation and use of CFLs.

  • LADWP buys renewable energy on the open market and then delivers it to the LADWP grid. The surcharge covers the additional market cost of renewable energy resources relative to conventional generation as well as costs for program administration.

Next Steps

  • Green Power has developed an accumulated balance through the program revenues. This balance will be used to develop and operate LADWP’s own local renewable energy plant in Los Angeles so that Green Power does not need to purchase renewable energy from private suppliers.
  • Currently, the Green Power Program is considering two different solar technologies for this local renewable power plant: 1) Stirling Dish Solar that concentrates the heat of the sun to operate a stirling engine to generate electricity and 2) utility-scale High Concentrating Photovoltaic (HCPV) using concentrating lenses and dual-axis tracking system.
  • Green Power is soon to restructure/re-launch the program. In 2005, a mere $600 dollars was spent on marketing. Green Power hopes to remarket itself and attract new customers and participants.

Application

  • Municipalities that maintain an electric utility can easily replicate this type of program.
  • For cities that are served by a private or other type of utility, a similar program can be implemented in one of two ways: 1) municipal governments can serve as aggregators for their residents and can require that any utility provider offer a similar program or 2) municipal governments may collect voluntary fees from residents interested in offsetting a portion of their electricity use with clean, renewable resources and the municipal government may then use the collected fees to purchase Renewable Energy Credits or Green Tags on the open market. These RECs would then be retired to offset the energy use of participating residents.