A new retail electric brand offering customers power generated exclusively from renewable sources illustrates Texas’ growing demand for clean energy, a consumer advocate says.
Direct Energy’s New Leaf Energy brand will add to a market already loaded with all-renewable energy plans, but it will be the first available to Texas electric service shoppers certified by Green-e Energy. The independent organization verifies renewable standards for companies seeking its seal of approval.
Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of the Texas office for consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said the addition of another player in the renewable market “is consistent with the kind of polling that has been done for over 15 years that says that most Texans would prefer to get clean and green energy from their power company.”
The number of all-renewable plans available in the competitive retail electric market also seems to reflect that demand.
A search this week of the state’s powertochoose.com portal showed that 23 percent of all plans offered in Houston were fueled by 100 percent renewable power. The search did not yet yield any plans from New Leaf Energy, which launched Tuesday.
Direct Energy’s new brand is aimed at capturing more environmentally conscious customers, executives said.
New Leaf Energy is the first specialized brand created by Direct Energy, which has owned other Texas brands including First Choice Power and CPL Retail Energy for years.
Although Direct Energy’s other brands offer all-renewable plans as well, the New Leaf brand will provide customers a distinct choice that also will be cost-competitive, said Rob Comstock, general manager for the company’s residential business in Texas.
“We see that there is a growing part of the market that is interested in doing something for the environment, whether you see people with reusable bags at the grocery store or (reusable) water bottles,” Comstock said.
New Leaf plans will be available in the Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and Corpus Christi areas, among others.
Though now priced competitively with some non-renewable energy plans, the New Leaf rates could be higher in the future, with the monthly cost of a bill likely about $25 more than those of non-renewable plans, Comstock said.
Smith said polling suggests that more than a quarter of all Texans “are willing to pay a significant amount more each month to reduce the pollution that comes from their power company.”