Vectren wants green option for customers

By Louis La Plante

Vectren Corp. has announced plans to buy renewable energy and to offer its customers the option of buying "green power."

At a press conference Tuesday at the company's Downtown headquarters, Vectren chairman Niel Ellerbrook said Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana has filed a request with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission for authority to purchase 30 megawatts of wind energy from a Benton County, Ind. wind farm. "It is time to make a commitment to customers who want to buy green." Ellerbrook said.

Vectren customers will be offered the option of entering into individualized contracts to buy a portion of their energy from an alternative energy source. With a yet-to-be-determined fixed monthly rate, customers can buy "green energy" blocks of 100 kWh (kilowatt- hour), approximately 10 percent of an average residential customer's monthly usage. Vectren estimates subscriptions for the energy blocks will cost between $2 to $3 a month.

Vectren also has plans to create a renewable energy investment fund in which customers can contribute $1 or more a month. As part of the fund, Vectren wants to form a nonprofit organization to administer the funds and expand renewable energy projects in Southwestern Indiana with projects such as issuing grants to local nonprofits for installation of energy conservation or green power products.

The Benton County wind farm in northern Indiana is scheduled for completion in 2008, but Vectren hopes to begin the green power program this summer by allowing customers to purchase renewable energy certificates. Vectren will buy 95 million kilowatt hours per year from the wind farm in a proposed 20-year contract.