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Environmental News

Arcadia: What Is It? How Does It Work?

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August 2, 2023

By Dean Gallea, TEAC Energy Committee–

You might receive an email from Con Ed with a solicitation from a “partner” company called Arcadia Power. This might look like an attempt from an ESCO to get you to switch from Con Ed to their electrical supply (a tactic called “slamming” if it’s done misleadingly), but this is something else. Arcadia Power is a broker of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), each of which represents a megawatt-hour of energy produced by non-carbon-based generation such as wind, solar and hydroelectric. What their offer provides, in cooperation with Con Ed, is that they will purchase, at no cost to you, RECs equivalent to half your home’s electric energy usage. This helps to make investments in renewable energy projects more profitable, encouraging the shift away from fossil fuels.

 Of course, you may already be subscribed to Westchester Power, the ESCO chosen by many of our communities, including Tarrytown, to supply renewable energy (also through purchase of RECs) to residents who have not opted out or chosen a different supplier. But some residents, faced with the higher cost of energy from Westchester Power, have opted to return to Con Ed’s default supply. And Con Ed doesn’t offer a renewable energy option themselves. So, Arcadia offers an alternative way for environmentally conscious residents to support non-carbon energy production, with no additional fees.

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 Another option from Arcadia is to purchase of RECs equivalent to 100% of your home’s energy usage, for an added cost of 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour (with a minimum charge of $5/mo.) This lets you create the same level of demand for renewable energy as does subscribing to a “green power” ESCO (like Westchester Power), without entailing the currently much-higher supply costs. Joining this plan would raise your typical electric supply cost about $10/month.

 For those not already on a green-power ESCO, we don’t see any downside to joining at least the free 50% program from Arcadia, and we think the 100% option is cost-effective for what it does. You can cancel your subscription any time without penalty.

 Another way to support renewable power is to join a local Community Solar project, which currently saves you 10% on your supply costs if you qualify. You must not already have a solar system on the house, but you can be a Westchester Power subscriber and still join Community Solar. For more info on that, see https://sustainablewestchester.org/solar/#benefits.

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