Mat Northway, manager of EWEB's energy management service department, says the company does not view the program as a green pricing scheme because EWEB is earning no premium. "We are a cost-based utility and set rates based on our cost," he says. The wind power will be more expensive than any other source. But at about $0.07/kWh for customers who buy 100% of their electricity needs from the wind plant, it will be comparable to average US electricity prices, he notes. This should give people a real live signal of what wind costs, he comments. EWEB's retail rate is about $0.04/kWh.
"We supply about one quarter of our power from our own resources. We have always taken that output and melded it," explains Northway. The company charges all customers the same price. "For the first time, we want to give people the opportunity to have more than the standard cut [of a given resource] or none at all."
Customers may choose to buy 10%, 25%, 50% or 100% of their power from the wind plant. If customers surprise the utility and express little interest, it may add the power to its resource mix or sell it to other utilities.