Why Is My Cleanchoice Energy Bill So High?

Why is my CleanChoice Energy bill higher than my previous utility bill?

Many customers express sticker shock when they first get their CleanChoice Energy bill. After years of relatively stable and predictable utility bills based on cheap fossil fuel energy, the higher cost of renewable energy can be surprising. However, with some understanding of what goes into your CleanChoice bill, you’ll see that the extra amount pays for something far more valuable: power derived from clean sources like solar and wind.

Understanding Your Bill

A CleanChoice Energy bill has some similarities and differences compared to a traditional utility bill. Both will include charges for the amount of electricity used, but CleanChoice bills also include specific charges for using 100% renewable electricity.

Some key charges on a CleanChoice bill include:

  • Energy Charge – This covers the cost of the renewable electricity you used. It’s charged per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
  • Base Charge – This fixed monthly fee helps cover some operational costs.
  • Transmission Charge – This pays for transmitting the electricity through power lines and regional grid infrastructure. It’s charged per kWh.
  • Renewable Energy Credit Charge – This charge covers the cost of purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) to match your electricity use.
  • Taxes – This includes any applicable local, state, or federal taxes.

A traditional utility would also include a fuel/generation charge and potentially other utility-specific fees. But CleanChoice bills are more straightforward, focused on getting you renewable energy.

Renewable Energy Costs More

Renewable energy like wind and solar power currently costs more to produce than conventional sources like coal and natural gas. There are a few key reasons for this:

First, fossil fuels benefit from economies of scale. Sources like coal and natural gas have been produced at massive scale for over a century. This has allowed the technology and infrastructure for these sources to improve dramatically over time, lowering costs through refinements in efficiency. Renewables simply have not reached the same production scale yet.

Second, supply and demand factors make fossil fuels cheaper currently. There is a plentiful global supply of coal and natural gas that can be extracted from the earth at low costs. And demand for coal and natural gas is high across many industries. This makes their market prices lower.

Renewables like wind and solar lack these advantages for now. Supply is still being built up as more solar farms and wind turbines are constructed. And demand, while growing, is not as high globally yet compared to mature sources like fossil fuels.

However, costs for renewables are coming down as production scales up. And governmental policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions are increasing demand. So while renewable energy costs more today, prices are expected to decline over time as supply and demand reach an efficient equilibrium.

Transmission Charges

One factor that contributes to higher bills for clean energy programs is the additional costs required to transmit renewable energy long distances. Most large-scale renewable energy projects like wind farms and solar fields are located in remote areas, far away from cities and population centers.

This is because these remote locations have the abundant open space and natural resources needed for renewable generation. However, transmitting this energy from the source to customers requires significant investment in transmission infrastructure like high-voltage power lines, substations, and transformers. The costs of building and maintaining this infrastructure get passed onto customers through their electricity rates.

So while the fuel itself may be free for sources like wind and solar, customers pay extra in their bills to transmit that energy from often hundreds of miles away. This is one key reason why clean energy plans which source more renewable power result in higher electricity costs for customers compared to conventional power.

No Fuel Costs

One of the main reasons why CleanChoice Energy bills are higher than some traditional utilities is because renewable energy like wind and solar does not require any fuel costs. Fossil fuel power plants such as those that burn coal, natural gas, or oil have significant ongoing fuel expenses to operate.

an image showing fuel costs for different energy sources

Coal and natural gas prices fluctuate but can cost utilities upwards of $30 or more per megawatt-hour generated. In comparison, the “fuel” sources for renewable energy like wind and sunlight are free. This provides a significant cost advantage for renewables since they avoid those fuel costs entirely.

While renewable energy does have higher capital costs to build, by avoiding fuel costs the long-term price becomes more stable and competitive. So although your CleanChoice bill may seem high now, it likely will seem lower compared to traditional utilities over time as fuel costs increase for fossil fuels.

Long-Term Savings

While renewables may cost more upfront, the long-term savings can be substantial. The costs of wind and solar have dropped dramatically in the past decade due to improvements in technology and economies of scale. In fact, the costs of renewable energy are expected to continue falling over time.

According to projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the levelized cost (total lifetime cost divided by total energy produced) of onshore wind and solar PV will decrease by 10-20% by 2040. The levelized costs for natural gas and coal, on the other hand, are expected to slightly increase over that timeframe.

As renewable energy costs fall and fossil fuel costs rise, choosing clean power will yield increasing savings in the long run. Not only will your monthly bills be lower over time, but you’ll also avoid exposure to future price spikes and volatility with fossil fuels. Going with renewable energy today locks in pricing over the long term.

Furthermore, with solutions like renewable energy credits (RECs), you can offset your current energy usage with clean power at reasonable prices that will seem like a bargain in 5 or 10 years. So while your bill may seem high now, sticking with clean energy will pay off exponentially in future cost savings and price stability.

Carbon Pricing Effects

Many experts predict that some form of carbon pricing is likely to be implemented in the coming years as part of broader climate change mitigation efforts. Carbon pricing puts a cost on greenhouse gas emissions by requiring companies to pay for the carbon they emit. This cost is then passed on to consumers in the form of higher electricity rates from fossil fuel-generated power.

Carbon pricing makes dirtier forms of energy more expensive relative to cleaner options like renewable energy. By increasing the cost differential, carbon pricing would likely lead to higher fossil fuel energy bills in the future. Meanwhile, renewable energy bills would be unaffected since sources like wind and solar have minimal carbon emissions. This changing landscape makes renewable energy providers like CleanChoice an even more cost-effective choice over the long term.

While the details are still uncertain, potential nationwide carbon pricing would almost certainly raise costs for fossil fuel-based electricity. Locking in a clean energy rate now through a provider like CleanChoice Energy would minimize exposure to these expected cost increases in coming years.

Additional Green Benefits

Switching to renewable energy like CleanChoice Energy provides important environmental and health benefits beyond just powering your home. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Reduced air pollution – Burning fossil fuels releases particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants into the air which reduces air quality and can cause respiratory issues.
  • Cleaner water – Fossil fuel power plants produce waste that can contaminate water. Renewables like solar and wind don’t produce this kind of waste.
  • Less habitat destruction – Renewable energy systems like solar panels and wind turbines take up less natural habitat than fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure.
  • Improved public health – Studies show that areas with more renewable energy see reductions in asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes, and premature deaths thanks to the air quality improvements.
  • Lower healthcare costs – The healthcare savings associated with reduced pollution from renewable energy are estimated to be worth billions of dollars per year in the U.S.

So by choosing CleanChoice Energy, you get the satisfaction of knowing your home’s energy use is benefiting the environment and public health in addition to being emissions-free.

Ways To Reduce Your Bill

There are several ways you can reduce your monthly CleanChoice Energy bill while still enjoying renewable energy:

Use less energy. Simple steps like turning off lights, adjusting your thermostat temperature, using energy efficient appliances, and unplugging devices when not in use can reduce your energy usage and lower your bill. The less energy you use, the lower your bill will be.

Shift usage. Use large appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers during off-peak hours when energy demand is lower. This can help reduce transmission charges.

Go solar. Adding solar panels to your home generates renewable energy and offsets your usage from the grid. Any excess energy your solar panels generate can even be sold back to the grid.

Improve home efficiency. Invest in upgrades like energy efficient windows, additional insulation, a programmable thermostat, and LED light bulbs to reduce energy waste and lower your utility costs.

Making smart energy choices and reducing your usage where possible can help lower your CleanChoice Energy bill while still supporting renewable energy.


In this article, we discussed several reasons why your CleanChoice Energy bill may be higher than expected. While renewable energy currently costs more than conventional sources, prices are declining rapidly as technology improves and sources like solar and wind gain economies of scale. But you’re also paying for the benefits of burning no fossil fuels, reducing carbon emissions, improving public health, and promoting energy independence.

There are ways to reduce your CleanChoice bill, like enrolling in budget billing, adjusting your usage, or installing efficiency upgrades. But over the long-term, choosing renewable energy is a wise investment in our planet’s future that will pay off financially too as prices fall and grids modernize to distribute green energy more efficiently.

The extra cost today brings significant environmental and social benefits while accelerating the renewable energy economy. With CleanChoice, you can rest easy knowing you’re part of the solution to the climate crisis.

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