PURA to Restrict Selling REC Electric Plans as Renewable

The PURA has changed the rules about REC electric plans. Find out what that means for green energy in CT and how it affects your CT energy choice.

New PURA REC Electric Plan Restrictions

REC electric plans sound like their renewable energy plans but the PURA asserts that's not entirely true. Learn how new rules affects your CT energy choice.
While REC electric plans support renewable energy, PURA says they’re not green plans. Learn the reasons for the rule change and how it affects your CT energy choice.

Next month, the CT PURA is enacting new green energy plan restrictions. This order changes how energy suppliers market renewable electricity plans. But how will these changes affect your green energy choices in CT? Let’s talk about why PURA restricts selling REC electric plans as renewable.

What Are RECs?

The problem is that once green energy enters the grid, there’s no way to separate it from energy made by fossil fuels. So while utilities can’t guarantee that homes are powered only with green energy, they can purchase enough green power to offset your usage. That’s where Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) come into play.

RECs are an energy commodity. It keeps track of green energy produced in the US and who owns it. That makes it traceable. Every REC is equal to one megawatt hour of electricity from green energy sources. These RECs can then be sold to to suppliers and utilities. RECs let energy companies that don’t produce enough green energy to meet state benchmarks. It also lets retail energy suppliers offer a type of green energy plans that offset fossil fuel energy by as much as 100%.

Why Restrict REC Energy Plan Selling

Back in 2020, PURA released rules restricting how energy suppliers can market their plans. This prevents companies from marketing plans as “renewable” unless they meet one of two conditions.

  • The supplier generates their own green energy.
  • A power purchase agreement (PPA) proves that it came from a green energy source

These rules came after an investigation into the green energy market. It was found that many green energy plans in CT used out-of-state RECs. Because of this, investor had less motivation to put their money into local CT-based renewables. In addition, many customers didn’t understand what RECs were. So many thought they were getting clean, renewable energy direct from the sources.

CT electricity suppliers quickly won a court-ordered stay PURA’s rules, pausing it until the CT Supreme Court could rule on it.

Early this month, the Supreme Court affirmed PURA‘s rule change and lifted the stay. The new rules will go into effect next month.

How This Affects Green Energy Rates

It is possible the new PURA rules could reduce energy supplies from some of the largest wind resource markets in the country. In the short term, this may lead to increased costs for going green in CT. There are also concerns that these restrictions may lead to retail suppliers leaving CT. And that could lead to less competition, which could increase prices. While we can’t predict exact numbers, it may be harder for lower income families.

Should You Purchase REC Electric Plans?

Purchasing REC electric plans is still a good way to support renewable energy. All the new PURA rules do set strict requirements for what counts as a “renewable energy product”. So don’t be discouraged. But it may make shopping for the best plans for renewable energy a little tougher.

As always, you can shop for the cheapest energy rates at https://www.ctenergyratings.com. You can also read all the news and updates that could affect your electricity bills.

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