Coal and natural gas prices are on the rise and it seems there may be no end to increasing utility bills. So, several power companies around the Wiregrass are partnering to help their members.
Wiregrass Electric Cooperative, Waste Management and Alabama Electric Cooperative are starting to use renewable energy.
Bonnie Ayres has been recycling for decades. Only, the kind she's used to involves separating materials. "We had containers to put it in and they were all marked. So you separate things; the glass, the cans; the glass even went into colored bins; newspapers, magazines, plastic."
However, a new kind of recycling has to do with energy.
Electric Cooperatives from Central and Southeast Alabama and Northwest Florida are turning methane gas from Springhill Landfill in Campbellton, Florida into renewable energy.
Brad Kimbro with Wiregrass Electric Cooperative says, "We're so dependent on foreign oil right now and natural gas and oil is just out of sight; going through the roof. And certainly that's reflected in our rates. All our utilities across the country are experiencing that crunch and this is a way to help."
By adding renewable energy into the generation supply, the cooperatives are also burning less coal and gas.
The only downfall for now is members who participate in this program will actually pay more on their utility bills, depending on the amount per kilo-watt-hour they register for.
"They benefit from knowing that they're not burning coal or we're not burning coal or burning gasoline or natural gas in participating in this program,” Kimbro explains. “It's actually from all renewable resources. So even though there's a little bit more charge, they benefit by knowing they're contributing by helping improve our environment."
And, the more members who participate, the more successful the program will be.
By registering to add only $4-dollars of green power each month to your electric bill, you could save an amount of energy equal to recycling 480-pounds of aluminum or recycling more than 1700 pounds of newspaper.
Right now, of the more than 20,000 Wiregrass Electric Cooperative members, only about 200 have joined.
If you would like to participate in the program, you can log on to http://www.wiregrass.coop/ or call 1-800-239-4602.