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My Neighbours Are Bullfrog Powered

By smithdm3 - Posted on 16 March 2007

I noticed a sign beside my neighbours door yeseterday. I was a bit confused as I couldn't quickly think of what "Bullfrog Powered" meant. I guess I've not been paying close enough attention to something.

Anyway, Bullfrog Power is a clean/green energy retailer. They sell energy into the grid to supply your energy needs from either wind generation or low impact hyrdo (as opposed to high impact projects that flood valleys and such). Sounds pretty neat, and I'll probably consider it even if it is more expensive than traditional power. They retail electricity for 9.1 cents/kwh whereas I currently pay somewhere around 5.8 cents for 400 kwh a month. That's only $13.20/mth more, or less than $160 a year.

The first thing I wondered when I saw the website was how they could keep up with demand. They claim that they'll only sell what they can get cleanly generated; if they can't increase supply they'll stop admitting customers. Currently they are getting 80% of their power from low-impact hydro and 20% from wind generation. They've got a neat graphic on this page showing the difference in generation mix between them and the general market which gets less than 3% of their power from the same sources.

They note three providers on their site:

  • Brookfield Power is their largest I would assume since they provide hydro electric (80% of the mix). They've got generation capability throught the Americas, including a number of plants in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. Their two Quebec plants are on the Ottawa River (or its tributaries).
  • Sky Generation, a small wind power generator which is located on the Bruce Peninsula.
  • Schneider Power, another small wind power producer on Manitoulin island.

Clean and cheap - sounds like the best way to go to me...

But, I'd try to use other methods first if possible. Unless we can find something that will eat nuclear waste and poo gold ;)

I've decided to hold out for cheap solar panels from China. Did you know they're the producers of solar panels now? I'll just wait for them to crush prices like they do for everything else, then I'll go off the grid ASAP!

BTW, just how cheap is your power bill? By my math, the difference between regular and Bullfrog is that it costs 57% more for the first 400kwh, if I understand you post correctly. That's not a very attractive deal at all. I'm willing to handle up to a 15-20% premium, but 57%? Also, if you say it impacts your bill by a mere $13.20, are you telling me that your bill is currently only $23.16 a month ?! Please explain. I realize you've got a genius IQ, but I'm struggling a bit with the math ;-)

... but you have to remember that it only counts for the electricity supply charge... not the rest of the junk on the bill. I'll look again when I get home tonight to verify the numbers.

So... my last bill was 123.08 for two months (mid-November to mid-January)... Of that, only 57.06 + tax is actual electricity charge, or 1,037.5 kWh * $0.055/kWh. (The per kWh charge is lower in the winter...)

So... if the charges went to 9.1 cents per it would have been 1,037.5 * (.091-.055) = 37.35 which is an additional $18.68 a month (if the rate was .058 like I assumed before it would be $17 per month).

Anyway, the numbers will never be the exact same... but it's what, an extra $5 per month over my last number or $60 a year... still not financially crippling.

Well, with the generous donation of your actual numbers, it appears that we're talking about a 30% or so premium. Starting to look better now. I'm glad to see you're paying about the same as me! I was worried :-). Of course, that assumes all other costs are fixed and constant between the two bills, which they are apparently not, but let's call it close enough. I think the difference, while not 'crippling' as you put it, is still too great for the average Joe/Jill to embrace. It's a great initiative no doubt, but sadly, it won't entice mass adoption. Still, worth a look at. I can say with some conviction that once some of my debt load is reduced, I would probably do this.

A 30% increase in the energy charge, but remember, that only represents half of my bill.


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