You might remember that I wrote a blog entry about my switch to the green electric utility "Lichblick" (Germany) a while ago. I did that purely out of environmental reasons, I didn't want to continue to waste money on polluting and/or dangerous crap such as fossil or nuclear power. Yes, even if that meant a slightly higher price (but I really didn't compare prices much before switching — I was after an environmentally clean solution, not the cheapest solution).
Quick status update: the switch went really nice and easy, no downtimes, no hassle. I've been a happy customer for more than 8 months now.
Today in my snail mail inbox: a letter from Lichtblick that they're going to reduce the price per kWh from 20.25 to 19.99 (Euro) cents starting July 1st and they give you a guarantee that there won't be any price raises before the end of 2009 (more details also here). Now, that's a positive surprise there.
Compare that to 98% of all other energy providers in Germany who have lately increased prices quite a lot for very obscure or non-existant reasons.
Yes, I do realize that the reduced costs are not that dramatic, and Lichtblick is using this as a means to impress people and gain new customers. But I fully support them in doing so, the more people are switching to a green energy provider the better, if you ask me. I encourage everyone to consider switching, either to Lichtblick, or some of their competitors (in Germany) e.g. Greenpeace energy, Elektrizitätswerke Schönau, or Naturstrom AG. There are various alternatives in other countries too, of course.
I was getting tired of all those hypocrites and liars (a.k.a. politicians) who keep on talking about global warming and renewable energy, but fail to produce any real results since many, many years now.
So I decided to do my (small) part to help reduce CO2 emissions, the greenhouse effect, and global warming. After measuring the energy consumption of all my power-sucking devices and replacing or turning off some of them, and after replacing all lightbulbs with highly efficient energy saving lightbulbs, changing the electric utility was the next logical step.
First try (failed)
As probably almost everyone in Munich, I was a customer of the Stadtwerke München (SWM). According to the last electricity bill I got from them, their sources of energy are: 17% renewable energy, 83% fossil energy sources, 0% nuclear power. Well, at least they don't use nuclear power, that's a big plus IMO, but 83% polluting, fossil crap? Thanks, but no thanks.
So I opted to use their Ökostrom M-Natur tariff, which (they claim) provides 100% renewable energy. They use the so-called Aufpreismodell (sorry, German only), i.e. you pay a few cents extra per kWh, and this extra money is invested in renewable energy sources (mostly small hydropower plants around Munich).
As I found out a few hours later (d'oh!) this "Aufpreismodell" is not really ideal (you still pay a conventional electric utility instead of one with 100% renewable energy, for instance). In addition, I stubled over a petition for the city of Munich to stop investing in a new fossil fuel power plant (bituminous coal, to be more precise). Which I promptly signed (and which went to several local parties including the greens, the mayer of Munich, and others).
Now, this is what I call hypocritical behaviour — on the one side they claim/pretend to be environmentally friendly by promoting their "M-Natur" tariff, and at the same time they invest even more money in fossil fuels? WTF? Anyway, it seems the petition did have at least some impact, the aren't allowed to invest more money into that fossil fuel powerplant than they already did.
For me that was more than enough reason to immediately revoke my M-Natur tariff, and what's more, I switched to a completely different company now, Lichtblick (see also the respective Wikipedia page). I'm not willing to support such energy policies/politics with my money anymore.
Lichtblick is an Ökostromanbieter in Germany, supposedly the biggest one.
Their "energy mix" is 100% renewable energy (which is correct, unlike with SWM, as they do not own any additional fossil fuel plants). 76% of that is hydropower, FWIW.
Their prices may be a bit higher than those of conventional electric utilities, but not all that much; you might even pay less, depending on where you live and which tariff you have now. You can use their price calculator to find out.
How the switch went
Easy. Grab the respective PDF, print it, fill in the required info, and send it to them. Alternatively, they also offer online registration. It'll take a few weeks until the switch is performed; they have to contact your current electric utility etc. In my case it took ca. 4 weeks.
There are no additional costs for switching. There is no "downtime" whatsoever (not even a few seconds), German law requires that you always reliably get your electricity 24/7 (and it indeed worked just fine for me).
So, that's that. From now on I'm happily using green energy all day (and night) long. I'm doing my part in Saving The Planet (tm) and I sleep a bit better at night...
P.S. No, I'm not getting paid by Lichtblick (or anybody else) to write this.