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I'm curious what folks here think of Pear Energy (pear-energy.com). Good friends became a residential customer and are all gushy that they now are using "100% clean energy and have stopped contributing one cent to Duke Energy's production of dirty energy". This seems to be how Pear Energy promotes their business. In reality, Pear does not sell energy. At all. They act as a billing agent for the "regular" utility company (Duke where we live), and purport to sell their (Pear's) customers solar or wind-generated electricity. They work in conjunction with Duke (and other utilities) to take over a customer's electricity billing, add on an additional 2 cents per kWh. From that 2 cent/kWh surcharge, a fraction of a cent actually goes toward purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). Of course the electricity Pear supposedly "sells" is Duke's energy, produced by their nuke, coal, and gas plants. But by paying them a little bit more for electricity, you won't have to see a bill with "Duke Energy" on it and you can call yourself green and use all the electricity you want (and can afford), free of guilt. When I was asking Pear's people questions, they did tell me that Duke Energy still receives every cent that they would bill. But when I asked them what portion of their surcharge actually buys into the REC program, they stopped responding to my questions. In Florida, Duke customers continue to pay IN ADVANCE for a nuke plant they now admit they will not build. Pear Energy customers may THINK that going with Pear cuts Duke out of some $$, but they're being mislead. To me it is pretty high on the Greenwashing Scale for Pear to lead people to believe they "sell" electricity, much less "100% green" electricity. The proportion of the payments they receive which actually goes toward renewable energy is very, very small. Pear Energy isn't quite what I'd call a total scam, but what they sell is, at best, nothing more than a tiny bit of feel-good symbolism while claiming to be 100% green.

RATINGS & COMMENTS

1.4Michael’s
Rating
Comment:
Hi Skruffy, We understand your concerns, and appreciate you taking the time to address them here. Greenwashing is a serious issue, and one that we take to heart. We believe an organization should never capitalize on the idea of being "green," while not actually taking measures to support the health of our environment.  As you indicated, Pear Energy is neither a utility nor a power producer. Instead, we work to connect environmentally concerned individuals to alternative energy sources across the US. We do this by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates ("RECs") from small community and co-operatively owned renewable energy farms. Because RECs are tracked and verified through regional grid operating systems, our customers can be sure they are offsetting dirty power use with an equal amount of clean, renewable energy. It is important to note that ALL companies that legally sell renewable energy (as defined by the National Association of Attorneys General) do this by purchasing RECs — it’s not unique to Pear Energy because that is the system we have in our country. This includes all other REC retailers, competitive green power offerings, utility-run green power programs, and even companies that claim to use renewable energy. If you are interested, a more detailed explanation is available here. Additionally, a full overview of our featured renewable energy farms can be found here.  The only alternative is for people to have panels or wind turbines on site. And that would be great, but it just isn’t right for everyone. Our customers are home and business owners who desire a more environmentally-friendly energy experience, but cannot/chose not to install an on-site renewable energy generation system of their own. By linking these individuals to renewable energy producers, Pear enables customers to do their part to expand the green economy in the US, and for roughly the cost of a cup of coffee each month. We also support a variety of environmental non-profits and advocacy organizations. A full list is available here. In terms of third-party validation, we'd like to share some resources that can help you better assess Pear Energy, including our appearance on the DOE's  list of recognized REC sellers: Better Business Bureau - http://www.bbb.org/south-east-florida/business-reviews/energy-consultants/pear-energy-in-miami-beach-fl-90061268 Green Business Bureau - http://www.gbb.org/business/pear-energy/ US Department of Energy - http://apps3.eere.energy.gov/greenpower/markets/certificates.shtml?page=1 Overall, our goal is to make renewable energy as simple and hassle-free as possible for our customers. With Pear, there are no sign-up fees, no contracts, and, most importantly, no interruptions in your power. Our team is dedicated to spurring meaningful change, and we truly hope that comes across in everything we do. We'd be happy to discuss our business with you in greater detail, and answer any questions you might have. Please feel free to give us a call at 877-969-7327.   All the best, Michael Krawitz Pear Energy PS We tried to post this as just a comment and not "rate" our own ad (because we don't think companies should rate their own ads), but the site does not let us do that. So we rated our ad "N/A" as much as possible. We'd encourage our customers and others familiar with our service to rate us independently. Thanks!

1.5dcope78’s
Rating
Comment:
Once you understand the process and the fact that Pear Energy is simply a brokerage firm between you and sustainably produced energy generators you can realize that there is no green washing whatsoever on their site.

4.6Shane’s
Rating
Comment:
I agree with the original poster - Pear's advertising is misleading in that it leaves out critical information: what percentage of your bill is used for purchasing renewable energy. In Michael Krawitz's response, he says that all services selling renewables use the same REC purchasing process. That is undoubtedly true, but that does not mean they are all equivalent. There is a BIG difference between programs! After reading this information, I confirmed with my utility's green program (NSTAR Green 100) that they use 100% of my metered electricity payment for purchasing wind energy RECs. If your utility does not offer its own renewable energy program, then Pear is a nice idea - yes, you can make a very small contribution to green energy. But, you should know your alternatives first and not let Pear's marketing delude you into thinking that you are being more green than you are!

3.5Artie’s
Rating
Comment:
Once you dig into the specifics, it doesn't appear that Pear Energy is a complete greenwash, but it's hard to validate this from just their marketing materials. They need to be far more upfront about the increased costs of going with their system, and 100% more transparent about how these fees are passed on to the green energy suppliers. Without these figures, it's impossible to know how good they are, or to be be able compare them with other alternatives. Here in North Carolina, power is provided by Duke Energy and we already have a built-in option for buying green energy. Under the NC Greenpower arrangement., you can buy blocks of 100kwh for $4.00 (4 cent per kwh surcharge). The bill comes from Duke Energy but 100% of the fees flow back to in-state green energy suppliers, as Duke Energy must purchase energy from them to satisfy this demand. All this is above board, and regulated by the Utilities Commission. There are issues with what qualifies as "green energy", with some biomass sources that aren't as environmentally friendly as solar and wind, but overall the system is a good one. The offering from Pear Energy may be better or may be worse, I don't know. And until they are more transparent about their operation, I don't have the ability to know.

1.3pearenergy’s
Rating
Comment:
Hi Shane and Artie, We appreciate your concerns and would like to address them. First, to reiterate what Michael Krawitz wrote previously, greenwashing is a serious issue – one we do not condone, and most certainly do not practice. Pear Energy is 100 percent committed to building a green economy and to dramatically expanding the usage of solar and wind power, as well as raising the level of energy efficiency throughout the economy. Building the green economy in the U.S. will also generate millions of new jobs throughout the economy. Please read our website and the research and writings by our president and founder, Professor Robert Pollin—for example, Pollin’s featured article in the July/August 2014 issue of the Boston Review, “Build the Green Economy,” and the symposium around his article; or his forthcoming books Green Growth, forthcoming in September with the Center for American Progress; Global Green Growth, being published in November jointly by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Global Green Growth Institute; and Greening the Global Economy, forthcoming in January with MIT Press. As to specifics: the rates we charge are determined by the market for Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) sellers and are comparable to those of other companies working in this field. However, it is important to keep in mind that we are an independent REC seller, which is a different model than that of a local utility’s green energy program. Local utilities are established, profitable businesses that simply add REC sales into their mix of services, as one very small share of their overall operations. These established utilities do not need to generate additional revenue through REC sales because they use their profits from selling electricity generated by coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy to provide a tiny subsidy to their purchases of clean energy RECs. By contrast, because REC sales are one of Pear Energy’s main activities, a portion of our charges must go to supporting our staff and our business operations. So, to summarize: 100 percent of all of our business activity supports the development of green energy in the U.S. To state otherwise is inaccurate and unfair. Our business model also stands in stark contrast to the established utilities, for which REC purchases are tiny relative to their spending on coal, natural gas, and nuclear-powered energy. As an independent company, Pear Energy can be accessed in all 50 states, allowing environmentally conscious individuals to access clean power even if their local utilities do not offer this option. We are proud of the work we’ve done on behalf of our thousands of customers and are constantly working to raise the bar for REC providers nationwide. We encourage you to visit our website for more information. We are also happy to speak with you or anybody else about our commitments and business operations at Pear Energy. You can reach us at (877) 969-7327.

1.4embalmerlis’s
Rating
Comment:
Thank you for clarifying in the last comment Pear's vision and research. I am heading over to sign up now.