Is Arcadia Power Legit?
You might have heard about Arcadia Power in passing from someone you know; or you maybe you stumbled upon its website by accident and read – “Connect your utility account to access clean energy and lower power bills in under two minutes.” You probably wondered – Is this legit?
We reviewed the power/technology company to assess its plans & pricing, price alerts, and its renewable energy claims so that you don’t have to do the digging yourself. If you are currently on a lookout for a cheaper electric bill and wouldn’t mind reducing your carbon footprint along the way, read on to find out more about the Arcadia unique business model.
About Arcadia Power
Arcadia Power is something of a hybrid between a power company and a technology platform, with the mission of “making clean energy an easy choice”. It allows customers in the United States to subsidize the generation of renewable energy by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) on their behalf.
Arcadia Power is a private technology company. It’s CEO and founder Kiran Bhatraju grew up in Appalachia where the coal industry impacted everyone around him and he decided there must be a better way. Since 2013, this humble dream has grown into a reputable enterprise based in Washington D.C. with operations across the whole of the U.S. Arcadia is accredited by the energy marketplace watchdog Better Business Bureau which credits it with an A- rating.
How Does Arcadia Power Work
Before we can answer the question of what Arcadia Power does, let’s first try to identify all the things that it doesn’t do:
- Arcadia Power won’t replace your energy with cleaner energy – The energy powering your home will continue to be the same energy that you would receive through your local utility or a competitive electric supplier
- Arcadia Power won’t change your utility provider – When you sign up with Arcadia Power, you are not switching your electricity provider. The only thing that changes is that you will pay your utility bill to Arcadia, and they will pay your utility provider for you.
- Arcadia Power won’t install your solar panels – Instead, it allows you to invest in clean energy sources, such as wind farms or solar panels by making renewable energy cheaper and therefore more competitive energy source.
Still with us? Okay…In order to understand why Arcadia Power can’t send green energy directly to your home, let’s look at how electricity actually works in the U.S.:
The electricity in the U.S. is generated from a variety of sources – coal, natural gas, nuclear, solar, hydropower. After the electricity is generated, it’s fed into the electric grid and travels through power lines, before it reaches your home.
All the electricity generated from the different sources gets mixed in the national power grid until it’s physically impossible to tell apart energy generated from renewable energy sources and energy generated from fossil fuels. At the moment, only about 17% of the total electricity in the USA is generated from renewable energy sources.
That’s where Arcadia Power comes in. Arcadia does not send renewable power to your home. Instead, it gives you the ability to subsidize renewable energy generation by purchasing something called the Renewable Energy Certificates (more on them later).
Customers can sign up for one of the three options:
|A Free Plan - Incredibly, this plan will cost you exactly zero dollars to use, while 50% of your electricity consumption will be matched with RECs.|
|A Basic Plan - If you are not eligible for the Free Plan, you can still sign up with Arcadia Power and define what percentage of your electricity consumption should be matched by RECs, for the extra price of 1.5c per kWh.|
|A Premium Plan - This plan will cost you a few dollars a month (1.5c per kWh) while 100% of your electricity consumption will be offset by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates.|
As a customer, you get free access to slick digital dashboards, that allow you to monitor your usage, track your clean energy impact and refer friends to Arcadia Power (for 10 referred friends you get a very attractive $1000 credit).
If you live in a deregulated state or utility zone, you will also get access to something called the Smart Rate – Arcadia will monitor the electric market in your area to find you a lower rate per kWh. You will receive price alerts each time and if you like it, you will be switched automatically.
How does Arcadia Power make money? The company operates something called the ‘Freemium’ business model (similarly to other well-known software platforms, such as Spotify or Duolingo). It means that while you can join for free and get access to the basic product, Arcadia will try to get you onto the Premium Plan. The big plus is that there are no contracts and you are free to switch, whenever you like. It is also available to customers in all 50 U.S. states, although not every single zip code will support the Free Plan.
What Are Renewable Energy Certificates?
So what are these Renewable Energy Certificates (or RECs) that we keep talking about? Even though the cost of generating renewable energy continues to decline, it is still more expensive to produce than electricity from fossil fuels. However, fossil fuels have a very negative impact on the environment – carbon dioxide emissions contribute to harmful global warming and climate change.
It is precisely because of these fossil fuels drawbacks that the policymakers in many states mandate to procure some percentage of the state electricity from renewable sources. To achieve this goal, the U.S. laws allow renewable energy generators — wind farms or solar power plants to receive a certificate that electricity was generated from clean sources, which it can later sell at the competitive market. For simplicity, 1 REC equals one megawatt-hour (MWh) of green power generated.
These certificates can then be purchased by businesses, electric suppliers or end customers like you to directly support renewable energy, by making it more price-competitive against fossil fuels. Arcadia Power acts like an energy broker that connects with clean energy generators to purchase RECs on behalf of its customers.
Are Renewable Energy Certificates the answer to the climate crisis? Possibly not. There are a few drawbacks of the system, including the low prices of the certificates and the issues with traceability and origin of renewable energy sources. However, they do provide a hassle-free option for anyone to support green energy in some way, which is probably better than not doing anything at all.
What Happens To Your Electric Bill?
When you sign up, two things happen automatically:
- You link your Arcadia account with your electricity account/utility account
- You authorize your local utility to send your monthly bill directly to Arcadia Power
Arcadia will then pay your energy bill on your behalf using the payment method you have chosen. If you usually use your credit card to pay your utility bill, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that unlike many other suppliers, Arcadia won’t charge you a credit card transaction fees when processing the bill payment.
You will be able to track your monthly energy usage and cost by accessing the online dashboards in your online customer account for free.
Why Choose Arcadia Power
You might be wondering – are you saying that I should be signing up with Arcadia Power? Well, it depends. Though certainly unique, Arcadia Power certainly isn’t your only option to support renewable sources with competitive rates. Many suppliers offer partially or fully green energy plans as part of their product portfolio. If you shop around for electricity rates, you might find another plan, supported by the purchase of RECs without paying the extra cost.
However, Arcadia Power does offer some great benefits and it’s certainly worth your attention for a number of reasons:
|Supporting renewable energy - As previously mentioned, the company offers a hassle-free, inexpensive way to support green sources, such as solar panels and wind energy farms and ensuring that more of such clean energy is fed into the grid.|
Access to digital dashboards - Even with the free plan, you get to track your usage, your clean impact, pay your bill, retrieve your bill history and monitor the movement of electricity prices in customized dashboards in your online customer account.
|No credit card transaction fees - Many utility companies charge fees to customers who pay their bill with a credit card. Arcadia doesn't. This can definitely result in some savings at the end of each month if you have a cash-back credit card or other credit card rewards system.|
|Smart Rate and Price Alerts - If you live in an energy deregulated state, Arcadia Power will compare the electricity rates in your area and send you price alerts, when a cheaper rate pops up. It will then switch you to the cheaper rate automatically. You, of course, don't have to wait to compare electricity in your area - you can do it anytime by just entering your zip code.|
|Referral program - If you successfully refer 10 of your friends and they remain customers for 30 days, you will receive an incredible $1000 as a credit to your account. If you don't have that many friends, you will also get $25 for everyone who signs up for the Premium Plan and $5 for each referral who signs up for the Free Plan.|
|Free to switch - And of course, the best for the last. If you are unhappy with your service, you are free to switch at any point in time. There are no lock-in contracts, no deposits, no extra charges involved.|
How much does Arcadia Power cost?
Arcadia Power offers customers three plans with different pricing:
- A Free Plan will cost you nothing while 50% of your electricity usage will be subsidized by the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
- A Basic Plan will let you select, what percentage of your electricity usage would you like to subsidize with RECs for the price of 1.5c per kWh. For example, if you use on average 800 kWh each month and you choose to subsidize 30% of that with RECs, you will pay an additional $3.6 a month (on top of your usual electric bill).
- A Premium Plan will also cost you 1.5c per kWh, while 100% of your electricity usage will be subsidized with RECs. In the example from above, you’d be paying an additional $12 on top of your power bill while consuming fully green energy.
Do you save money with Arcadia Power?
You can definitely save money on your power bill with Arcadia Power. As a customer, you can get access to customized dashboards that allow you to monitor your monthly usage. In addition, if you live in the deregulated energy state, you can enroll in the Smart Rate program, as Arcadia finds and automatically switches you to lower electric rates available in your area. The company claims to reduce the electric bills by 5 – 20% on average with this program.
Is Arcadia Power certified?
As of April 2018, Arcadia Wind Energy is no longer certified by Green-e® – a global RECs certification program; however, the company continues to source and track the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) in the same way. Arcadia Power continues to be certified by the American Sustainable Business Council, a non-profit Green America and the energy marketplace watchdog Better Business Bureau. The BBB power review for Arcadia Power is A-.
Should I sign up with Arcadia Power?
When it comes to giving customers access to clean energy and lower power bills, Arcadia Power can do both those things for you and there are many reasons to sign up. If you are not ready or able to commit financially to the green energy cause, you can always sign up for the Free Plan. Arcadia Power will match 50% of your energy usage with RECs and you get access to slick customized dashboards where you can monitor your energy usage. All this completely for free and you are free to switch to another power company at any time.
How do I report a power outage?
If you are experiencing a power outage, you need to contact your local utility power company directly, regardless of whether you had previously switched to an alternative supplier. It is your local utility company’s responsibility to ensure that electric power will safely reach your home. To find out who your utility provider is, have a look at your electric bill.
Though far from being a regular power company, Arcadia Power creates a new experience for energy customers – one that is powered by clean energy. By signing up, you have a unique opportunity to support renewable sources, such as wind farms or solar panels for as little as few extra dollars a month. If you are not ready to commit your finances to the green energy cause, Arcadia Power will still buy Renewable Energy Certificates on your behalf with the Free Plan and you get access to additional perks as a customer for free and possibly even reduce your power bill. This kind of win-win situation for both the environment and your personal finances doesn’t come around too often.