Sunday, November 13, 2005

Green Power

Global warming which is caused by burning coal and oil makes hurricanes worse, so what can we do about it? Get Green Power for our electricity.

I’m a Green Power customer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (L.A.D.W.P.).. About a year ago I signed up for the Green Power program. We Green Power customers get our energy from renewable sources: solar, geothermal; wind, biomass, and hydropower. It costs me an extra $3.26/month.

A few months before I signed up for Green Power, my old refrigerator was falling apart, so I bought a new Energy Star refrigerator. Energy Star is a U.S. government program that has a website ( that lists appliances that save energy. It lists all sorts of appliances: clothes washers; dishwashers, refrigerators; room air conditioning; cordless phones; dvd players; home audio; televisions; VCRs; computers; fax machines; printers; scanners etc. These energy star appliances use less energy and thus save us money.

I found a SANYO refrigerator listed as energy star, and in the product locator I found a nearby store in Los Angeles that sells the SANYO, so I went there and bought the refrigerator. A year after I bought the refrigerator, I checked my energy bill. Refrigerators use more electricity than any other household appliance because they’re on all the time. Also, I replaced the old bulbs with florescent bulbs. My new refrigerator along with the low-energy light bulbs saves me about $20/month. The store hauled off my old refrigerator but the L.A.D.W.P. also a program where they will haul off old refrigerators and give you in return a six-pack of florescent bulbs. In two years I will have paid off the new refrigerator that cost $400 just in terms of savings from my electric bill.

So I wound up for the past year using less energy (I have an all-electric house) as well as having my energy only come from renewable sources. I’m not causing any global warming, so I feel good about that. Everyone could change their refrigerator to Energy Star as well as use florescent bulbs. Last month I also had to get a new computer printer, so I got an Energy Star Canon. Buying only Energy Star appliance will save us all money as well as energy.

A few weeks ago I got a letter for the LA DWP congratulating me for being a Green Power Customer, and saying “The City of Los Angeles is also extending its commitment to a clean environment by developing a Renewable Portfolio Standard to achieve 20% renewable energy by 2017." In contrast, the City of Santa Monica has committed to have 25% renewable energy within Santa Monica by 2010. If Santa Monica can commit to 25% renewable resources by 2010, why can’t Los Angeles? If you ask me, both cities should try to shoot higher than that.

Also, the letter said I could look at the 2004 Green Power program Annual report but when I checked, the report wasn’t up. Could the LA.D.W.P. please put up the report.

By the way, the City of Santa Monica a couple years ago signed up to get electricity for city offices only from green power sources, which has saved the city money. The city of Los Angeles should do the same: run its city offices only on green power electricity.

The more non-polluting energy we all use—both as individuals and as cities—the more we can begin to tackle global warming.

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