How Your Carbon Footprint Affects Your Electric Bill

Did you know that the amount of CO2 emitted during power generation has a direct impact on your electric bill?

In the past, power plants mainly burned coal to generate electricity, which resulted in a significant amount of pollution. Fortunately, most power plants today use natural gas, recycling, and renewable energy sources like wind and solar to produce electricity – and they’re way more efficient than older varieties of thermal power plants! Unsurprisingly, there’s just one catch: natural gas and renewables are more expensive to produce.

Electricity producers have to choose this reason: charge more for cleaner energy, or charge less for dirtier energy. In many states, as well as other countries around the world, your overall bill is significantly impacted by how much CO2 power plants emit into the air. Your share of that bill – and your personal CO2 emissions – is called a carbon footprint.

What is Carbon Footprint anyway?

Carbon Footprint is an accounting of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by all activities during a certain period. There are two types of Carbon Footprints: Direct and Indirect. The direct footprint measures emissions from homes, vehicles, and other things under your control. The indirect footprint measures emissions from the production of electricity you use at home or work.

What is the difference between the two types of footprints?

An indirect carbon footprint measures total greenhouse gas emissions from electricity consumed at home or work, regardless of where it was generated. A direct carbon footprint measures home-based sources of greenhouse gas emissions such as energy use by appliances and vehicles. The primary difference is that your indirect footprint includes emissions from the electricity that your utility purchases and delivers to you (or vice versa), while your direct footprint includes emissions associated with the production of any power you purchase for your own use.

What is the role of Carbon Footprints in my electric bill?

The cost to generate and deliver electric service reflects the generation, transmission, and distribution costs of your electric utility. The amount of electricity you use in your home or business is a function of how much power you need when you use it, and which appliances and equipment are turned on at the time. In short, the higher the carbon footprint of the electricity used during a billing period, the more CO2 emitted from power plants to supply that service and the higher your electric bill.

What are some ways I can reduce my carbon footprint?

You can take steps to reduce your energy use by improving energy efficiency. Energy-efficient products and equipment save you money on utility bills while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions since they require less power to operate. Some examples include insulation, efficient lighting, Energy Star appliances, programmable thermostats, and high-efficiency water heaters.

Although not all your electricity needs can be met by the generation of power through renewable resources, you can purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) to offset some of your carbon footprints. RECs are environmental attributes associated with electric power generated from eligible reliant energy resources that can be purchased by U.S. customers and delivered to their local utility company.

How do I determine my carbon footprint?

Take the first step toward energy efficiency by conducting an energy assessment of your home or business to find all areas where saving energy, reducing carbon footprints, and cutting utility costs can be achieved. Learn about having the power to choose your home or business energy use and then prioritize how you can reduce it.