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Texas Co-ops Offer Low-Premium Products

July 2007 - Two Texas-based rural electric cooperatives are offering low-priced green power products. Pedernales Electric Cooperative, which serves more than 210,000 customers in the middle of Texas, offers a mix of wind energy and hydroelectric power for a premium of 0.5¢/kWh above the standard electricity rate. Under the program, participating customers must choose to receive all of their electricity from renewable energy. The green pricing premium has been lowered twice since the product was first offered in early 2006 at a 2.0¢/kWh rate premium.

Bandera Electric Cooperative offers its 22,000 customers a fixed-rate green power product, which is also a blend of wind energy and hydroelectric power. The rate charged for the Choose-to-Renew product is fixed at 7.908¢/kWh, which reflects a fixed charge of 6.171¢/kWh for the renewable power plus the utility's 1.737¢/kWh distribution charge. However, green power customers are not subject to the utility's wholesale power purchase charge, which is adjusted monthly to reflect market price fluctuations. As of April 2007, green power customers were paying 0.114¢/kWh less for their electricity than base rate customers. Customers can purchase the green power in 100-kWh blocks or for 100% of their monthly electricity needs. The program sold out just months after its launch in 2005 and the utility maintains a waiting list of prospective green power customers.

Both Pedernales and Bandera receive their wholesale power from Lower Colorado River Authority, which operates 281.5 MW of hydropower facilities, and purchases 116 MW of wind energy from three West Texas wind projects.

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