Energy Well Texas is making renewable energy more affordable and accessible for low- and middle-income communities across the Lone Star State. The Houston-based renewable retail electricity provider’s goal is to help people save money by switching them to 100% renewable energy plans.
Co-founded by Greg Rosen, Catherine Garcia Flowers, and Samaria Jaffe, Energy Well is part of the Powered for Good initiative and funded by a U.S. Department of Energy research grant. The goal is to help citizens switch to renewable energy and, by doing so, make people safer during emergencies such as floods, hurricanes, extreme heat, and winter weather. Customers can even become part owners of the shares of clean energy stock they use.
According to the Department of Energy, lower-income households spend more to heat and cool their homes. They often have to choose between paying their energy bills or buying food or clothes. This choice is usually due to socio-economic barriers to making their homes more energy-efficient.
In Texas, where summer weather is particularly extreme, customers can expect to see record-high prices every summer. In many cases, the stress on Texas’ unique power system, managed outside the U.S. energy grid by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), leads to power outages. The good news is that ERCOT is beginning to use more renewable energy.
To address the current outage issues, Energy Well makes sure residents have backup solar-power batteries and storage units, allowing them to charge necessary electronics such as cell phones or medical equipment even when the power is out. In 2021, Energy Well delivered 350 of these solar units to Houston residents.
Energy Well works by buying vouchers from renewable energy sources — those that use solar or wind energy — and then switching a consumer’s house to that renewable power source. So far, enrolled customers have saved as much as 40% on energy bills. The savings are significant in a state where nearly 4 million households spend 10% of their income on electricity. In many cases, the work Energy Well does sustainability in underserved communities.
Energy Well hopes to launch across the entire state by the end of 2022, speeding the transition of millions of customers to renewable energy. By doing so, the company hopes to continue to build community resilience and put money back in the pockets of customers who need it the most. It’s clear Energy Well believes an energy company should and can be a vital part of community sustainability.