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FAQ

About Ethical Electric

Who is Ethical Electric?

Ethical Electric is a retail electricity supply company. In some states we are called an “ESCO” which stands for “Energy Services Company” or an “EGS” which is an acronym for “Electric Generation Supplier.” We are a Certified B Corporation, which means we are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet high standards for having a positive impact on the world and benefiting society.

Which states does Ethical Electric operate in?

We currently serve residential and commercial customers in Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, New York, and the District of Columbia. In 2014 we’ll be expanding to Ohio, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and eventually Texas.

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What types of customers does Ethical Electric serve?

We serve residential, commercial, government, municipal, and educational customers.

What happens if the wind isn't blowing?

Ethical Electric sources our wind energy from more than one wind farm. If the wind is not blowing in one place, it's always blowing somewhere else! This ensures that our members have no change in the reliability of their electricity from any other electricity customer.

Modern wind turbines are taller and dramatically more efficient, so are able to start producing electricity even at low wind speeds and harness higher and more stable wind currents. In fact, a utility scale wind turbine produces electricity 70-85% of the time, but generates different outputs depending on the wind speed.

What is energy deregulation?

There are currently fourteen states which have deregulated the energy industry. In these states, local utility companies still deliver power to consumers over existing power lines. But the supply and generation of electricity is now open for competition. Companies like Ethical Electric are allowed to compete to be the source of power for customers in these states. Ethical Electric thinks that creates a great opportunity to voluntarily expand demand for clean energy.

How does buying renewable electricity from Ethical Electric work?

When you become a member of Ethical Electric, you’ll be supporting clean, local, renewable energy sources, from wind and solar, every time you pay your power bill. Ethical Electric purchases renewable electricity on behalf of our members, in the form of grid power plus renewable energy credits (REC). The local utility tells us how much electricity our members have used and we supply them with that amount of green power. We also work to support the construction of new renewable energy facilities, that meet our high standards, using the power demand of our members. By becoming an Ethical Electric member, you’re helping reduce the amount of dirty fossil fuels utility companies burn.

How is Ethical Electric different than other energy companies?

Ethical Electric is different in two ways. First, we sell only 100% clean energy from renewable sources like wind and solar. No 50% or 20% products. Second, we have an explicit social mission to do good both by powering as many homes as possible with 100% clean energy and by using profits to fund causes that benefit our planet, peace, justice and equality.

Why local energy?

Ethical Electric plans aren't just 100% green, but local, sourced from wind and solar farms within 200 miles of our customers. We want to support the growth of renewable power generation and buying from plants on the other side of country doesn't go far enough. That's why we seek out local sources for our members.

How do I know I’m really getting clean energy from renewable sources?

Ethical Electric only buys 100% clean, renewable energy credits from wind and solar. Our product claim is regulated by requirements of the Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of Attorneys General. Ethical Electric is proud to have the best clean energy standards in the industry. We offer a 100% wind power product that is Green-e Energy Certified in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington D.C., Ohio, and Illinois. We source local, new, renewable energy with strong labor, environmental and bird conservation siting standards. As Ethical Electric develops new clean energy products and services, we provide verification and documentation to our certifiers, the nonprofit B Lab, Green America, and Green-e, for annual and biannual audits, inspections, and review.

Does becoming an Ethical Electric member help the environment?

Absolutely. Climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, like coal in most electrical power plants. When you support clean, local, renewable energy with Ethical Electric, it means that you are no longer funding dirty fossil fuels when you pay your power bill. You’ll be helping to reduce the amount of pollution that goes into the atmosphere and decreasing the total demand for dirty energy sources - thus making a big contribution in the fight against catastrophic climate change.

But that’s not all. By switching to Ethical Electric, you increase the demand for wind and solar power in your area. Ethical Electric members are helping us get off of dirty power sources and become more reliant on clean energy. Only with strong support from the public will we get off of dirty power and you’re helping to make this transition a reality!

Are you guys hiring?

Yes, we are! Visit www.JoinEthical.com to find out about our open positions.

About Signing Up

How can I get a price quote for getting clean energy from Ethical Electric?

You can quickly and easily get a price quote for a plan in your area through our website. Click here to get started. You can also call 1-800-460-4900 to get a quote by phone.

Can I sign up without a lengthy contract?

Yes. While some of our plans require contracts, so that we can lock in low rates over longer time periods, other plans do not require contracts. It just depends on which clean energy option you choose for yourself.

Is clean energy more expensive?

The specific rate varies depending on where you live, but in most states we are able to offer you clean, renewable energy at rates that are competitive with the dirty energy you’re currently using. Ethical Electric’s 3 month fixed rate plans are priced to be about $8 more per month for the average home (assuming 700 kWh usage).

It is largely a myth that clean energy has to be significantly more expensive than dirty energy, even as dirty energy receives enormous subsidies and doesn't pay for the health or environmental burdens they place on local communities. In fact, the most expensive electricity on the wholesale market is some of the dirtiest.

Why do rates change?

Ethical Electric buys clean, renewable energy on the open market. Like any other commodity, prices fluctuate. We buy the most affordable, local clean energy available to us. We offer variable pricing plans to ensure that we’re giving our members the best price at a given time. If the price of renewable energy goes up on the market, it will go up slightly for our members on variable plans. If it goes down, our members will pay a lower price. If you don’t want a variable price, we offer fixed price plans as well.

Will my service be interrupted?

No, your service will not be interrupted when you switch to Ethical Electric.

Can I switch without a home visit and without new equipment?

Yes. No home visit is required. Switching online takes less than a minute. You won’t need any new equipment when you switch to Ethical Electric. Your current utility will continue to deliver your electricity over their existing power lines and they will read your meter every month.

How does my bill change?

When you switch to Ethical Electric, you will continue to get a bill every month from your current utility. Ethical Electric’s name will appear on your bill after service has started. You will continue to pay that bill every month on time. But instead of your utility buying dirty energy for you, you’ll be supporting renewable energy through Ethical Electric.

Do you charge a fee when I switch to Ethical Electric?

No, Ethical Electric does not charge any fee for you to switch to us. You current utility may charge you a fee if you are switching prior to the end of your current contract term.

I rent my home. Do I need my landlord’s permission to switch to Ethical Electric?

If you currently receive and pay your electric utility bill every month on your own, then you have the power to switch to Ethical Electric without approval from your landlord. But if you live in an apartment building or condo where all units’ electricity usage is rolled into one bill and paid by the landlord or condo association, then you would need to convince the person who manages that utility bill to switch to Ethical Electric. We would be more than happy to talk to them about this switch, if you refer them to us. Have them email sales@ethicalelectric.com.

How long does the switch to Ethical Electric take?

It can start very quickly. In most market areas, your switch to Ethical Electric as your Electric Generation Supplier will occur on your next available meter reading, as long as your request to switch occurs 16 calendar days prior to your next meter read. If you request your switch within 16 days of your next meter read, the switch occurs on the following month’s bill.

Do I need to contact my current provider when switching?

No. We will notify your utility company that you have chosen to switch your Electricity Generation Services to Ethical Electric, and your utility company will notify your current provider if another alternative supplier already serves you. We also suggest that you refer back to your current supplier’s Terms of Service to see if anything specific is required from you. You may incur an early cancellation fee if you switch prior to the end of your contract term. Ethical Electric has plans that will pay that early cancellation fee on your behalf.

What is included in my price per kWh?

Your price includes electric generation services including renewable energy credits, transmission, and gross receipts tax recovery fee. It does not include charges from your electric distribution company or state and local sales taxes.

Is my price per kWh fixed for the term of my agreement?

Yes. The rate for your Electricity Generation Supply is fixed for the term of your agreement on all of our guaranteed fixed-rate plans.

Is there an early cancellation penalty?

If your circumstances change and you must cancel your contract, please call our member care line toll-free at 1-888-444-9452. The cancellation fee, if any, varies by the product you have enrolled on. Refer to your product Disclosure Statement or Terms and Conditions for additional information.

Do you charge extra for net-metering (solar panel equipped homes)?

No, we do not charge any extra for net-metering. We encourage homes and businesses with solar to get the remainder of their electricity needs met by 100% wind power from Ethical Electric.

About Billing

Do I get a bill from Ethical?

No, you’ll still get a bill every month from your current utility. Ethical Electric’s name will appear on your bill after service has started.

Are there hidden fees?

No, not at all. When you switch to Ethical Electric, you choose exactly which plan you want. Our plans have either fixed rates that we charge for electricity or they have variable rates, which go up and down depending on the cost of renewable energy on the open market. Each plan has transparent fee structures that you can see when you choose which plan is right for you.

Why have I not received my first bill?

You will continue to receive your bill from your current utility, but within one to two billing periods of signup, you should see Ethical Electric listed in the electricity generation supply portion of your bill. If you have a question about the electricity generation supply portion of the bill from Ethical Electric, contact us at 1-888-444-9452 or support@ethicalelectric.com.

What are my payment options?

Your local utility issues residential electrical bills and handles collections. Contact your local utility to discuss residential payment option programs.

Do I pay a fee if my payment is late?

Since your local utility issues residential electrical bills and oversees collections, your local utility also establishes the policy about late payments and can provide you with that information.

Can I choose when my meter is read?

Contact your local utility, which reads the meter, to discuss whether you can select your meter read date.

What if I cannot pay my bill?

Your local utility company handles all billing and collections. If you cannot pay your bill, please contact your utility company directly to discuss payment alternatives.

Does Ethical Electric offer budget billing?

Ethical Electric supports budget billing for its residential customers in Pennsylvania, based on the budget billing rules in each utility market. Contact your utility to determine if you are eligible to participate in its budget billing program; your utility will notify Ethical Electric of your budget billing status. We’ll then calculate your average monthly bill amount based on your historical usage and agreement rate. Each month you will pay an energy generation services charge based on this calculated average. Once per year (or earlier, if you terminate your agreement with us prior to the end of the agreement term), we will calculate a “true-up” fee – a credit to your account or an amount due – representing the actual amount of energy used during the budget billing period, and you are responsible for full payment for all energy used. Budget billing simply allows you to spread the amount due over the year vs. experiencing fluctuations in your monthly amount due.

Where do I send my payments?

All payments should be made directly to your local utility by following the instructions on your bill.

Who do I call if I have a question about my total bill?

If you have a question about the amount due, contact your local utility company at the number shown on your bill. If you have a question about the electricity generation supply portion of the bill from Ethical Electric, contact us at 1-888-444-9452 or support@ethicalelectric.com.

Can I change my payment due date?

Your utility issues residential electrical bills and sets payment due dates. Contact your local utility to discuss residential payment due date programs that may be available.

Is there an early cancellation penalty?

If your circumstances change and you must cancel your contract, please call our member care line toll-free at 1-888-444-9452. The cancellation fee, if any, varies by the product you have enrolled on. Refer to your product Disclosure Statement or Terms and Conditions for additional information.

About Member Services

What if my power goes out?

If your power is out, please contact your local utility. In the event of an emergency, call 911 immediately. Here are the phone numbers for the utilities where Ethical Electric has service.

Utility Name Phone Number
Atlantic City Electric 1-800-833-7476
BG&E 1-800-685-0123
ComEd 1-800-334-7661
Consolidated Edison Company of New York 1-800-752-6633
Delmarva New Castle County (DE) and Cecil and Harford Counties (MD):
1-877-737-2662

Kent and Sussex Counties (DE) and the Eastern Shore of Maryland:
1-800-898-8045
Duquesne Light 1-888-393-7000
JCP&L 1-800-544-4877
Met-Ed 1-800-545-7741
National Grid 1-800-642-4272
New York State Electric & Gas Corp. 1-800-572-1111
PECO 1-800-494-4000
Penelec 1-800-545-7741
Penn Power 1-800-720-3600
PEPCO 1-877-737-2662
Potomac Edison 1-800-686-0011
PPL 1-800-342-5775
PSEG 1-800-436-7734
Rochester Gas & Electric Corp. 1-800-743-2110
West Penn Power 1-800-686-0021

What happens at the end of my agreement?

You will continue your clean energy service until it is cancelled by you or Ethical Electric. If you are on a fixed rate plan with us, you will receive notice from Ethical Electric prior to the expiration of your initial term regarding the continuation of your clean energy service.

Who do I call if I have a question about my contract?

If you have a question about the amount due, contact your local utility company at the number shown on your bill. If you have a question about the electricity generation supply portion of the bill from Ethical Electric, contact us at 1-888-444-9452 or support@ethicalelectric.com.

What happens if I move?

If you move, your agreement with Ethical Electric is cancelled. However, we understand that things change, and Ethical Electric will waive any early cancellation fee if you are moving. In the event of a move, your utility will notify us. You must establish service in your new home with the local utility company prior to switching back to Ethical Electric. Once you have your new account number, please call us toll-free at 1-888-444-9452 to re-enroll with Ethical Electric.

About Ethical Electric’s Mission

Why progressive?

We believe that there are people who agree with our vision for a better world and want to join a company that shares these values. Because we have faith in that movement, we have pledged our time, our reputations and our financial means to building this new enterprise.
As a progressive company, Ethical Electric is part of a broader movement of people who care about the future. So we help our members make their voices heard on important issues facing our country and the planet through advocacy.

But I’m not a progressive. Can I still get renewable energy from Ethical Electric?

Of course and we would welcome you as a member. We think you’re probably a very nice person and we’d agree on more things than we disagree if we ever met in person. The more people who switch to clean, local renewable electricity, the closer we come to ending our dependence on fossil fuels. We’ll proudly stand alongside anyone who wants to get their power from wind and solar sources, so long as they’re comfortable with us donating part of their utility bill to organizations other Ethical Electric members support.

What sort of company is Ethical Electric?

Ethical Electric is a Certified B Corporation, a designation by the nonprofit B Lab that certifies that we meet high standards for having a positive impact on the world and benefiting society. Unlike traditional corporations, Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and environment.

Which organizations do you support?

Ethical Electric supports progressive organizations by donating a portion of every member's utility bill. We’re currently funding a range of groups, from Sierra Club, to the League of Conservation Voters, to Daily Kos. You can read more about the organizations Ethical Electric members support on our Partners page.

How much of my bill goes to support organizations?

At least one percent of Ethical Electric’s gross revenues on an annual basis is put in a pool that we use to fund progressive organizations, at our members’ direction. We fund our partner organizations before we take any profits, so they always get the critical funding they need. We also partner with progressive groups by providing them with alternative streams of funding. If you became an Ethical Electric member after being told about our clean energy by another organization, that organization likely was compensated by us for referring you. In this way, Ethical Electric members are able to support organizations they support simply by switching to clean, renewable energy.

I know a great group - will Ethical Electric fund them?

We'd love to hear more. You can recommend them for consideration by completing this form.