Puget Sound Energy is rolling out a pilot project this week in Thurston County that gives utility customers another reason to participate in the company's Green Power Program.
The more than 4,400 residential customers enrolled in the program will be eligible for discounts at a number of the 300 commercial customers in the county that also buy electricity through the Green Power Program.
The latest wrinkle in the Green Power Program – called Green Power Rewards – is a novel way to link residents and businesses in a green power community, promoting investments in renewable-energy resources for future generations.
Green Power Program customers in Thurston County began receiving cards in the mail from the utility last week. The cards make them eligible for ongoing discounts at retail outlets, including restaurants, bakeries, bookstores, nurseries, and personal-care and sporting-goods stores in the Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and Yelm areas.
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A few examples:
• Orca Books in downtown Olympia will offer $5 off every $30 purchase, good for one person per visit.
• The Barn Nursery on Old Highway 99 south of Tumwater will offer 15 percent off purchases by rewards card holders.
• Olympic Outfitters and Alpine Experience will offer 10 percent off purchases at their downtown Olympia stores.
A list of participating businesses in Thurston County, including service providers and online merchants, is at www.pse.com/greenpowerrewards.
The utility created the voluntary Green Power Program in 2002 as a way to kick-start increased commitment to a cleaner-energy future. The amount paid by each residential customer typically ranges from the minimum of $4 per month to $10 per month.
The money raised goes to support the local development of renewable energy that is in addition to – and separate from – the renewable resources built by Puget Sound Energy, which represent the nation’s second-largest production of wind power.
It’s a way for customers to guarantee that some of the energy they use is matched on the power grid with electricity from wind, solar, biomass and other renewable-energy resources.
The program is audited independently by the Center for Resource Solutions and was recognized in 2009 at the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the nation’s “Green Power Provider of the Year.” It is consistently among the top 10 in renewable-energy sales and utility customer participation among 850 similar projects nationwide.
Puget Sound Energy continues to experience increased customer growth and demand for energy. These are challenging times for all utilities as they try to adjust to an evolving energy future that is less reliant on fossil fuels and more reliant on renewable-energy resources and efficient use of energy.