Re-Energize with Carbon Balance

Carbon Balance Program Frequently Asked Questions

 


How do I sign up?

You can sign up your home or business online you can call a PSE Energy Advisor at 1-800-562-1482, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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As a homeowner, how much will I pay for Carbon Balance?

Residential customers can purchase carbon offset blocks at $4 each, which will be added to your monthly gas bill. One block is equivalent to removing 400 pounds of carbon dioxide from the environment. The average residential customer can make their natural gas use carbon neutral for $8 month.

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Can I learn my exact gas usage?

Yes, when you call a PSE Energy Advisor they can look up your gas use for the most recent 12 months and calculate the associated pounds of CO2.

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As a commercial or industrial customer, how much will I pay for Carbon Balance?

Commercial customers can join the program with a minimum purchase of 2 blocks at $8 a month. Two blocks cover approximately 18 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions of the average commercial customer. Because natural gas usage varies greatly between individual customers, PSE can work directly with you to determine your annual natural gas usage, and the best participation option for your business.

Business customers purchasing over $20 a month of carbon offsets will be recognized as Leaders in the Carbon Balance Program on the PSE website.

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Can I cancel whenever I want?

Yes, you may cancel at any time. Just contact our Energy Advisors at 1-800-562-1482.

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How does a carbon offset work?

Carbon offsets are created with the destruction or reduction of harmful greenhouse gases emitted from sources such as fossil fuels, animal waste, landfills or industrial gases. One carbon offset block represents the reduction of greenhouse gases equivalent to one metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2e).

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Where do the carbon offsets for Puget Sound Energy’s Carbon Balance Program come from?

The carbon offsets for PSE’s Carbon Balance Program are sourced from a family farm located southeast of Seattle, called George DeRuyter and Sons Dairy.

Puget Sound Energy purchases carbon offsets through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), one of the nation’s leading offset suppliers. PSE works with BEF to make certain that your carbon offset purchase helps fund new renewable energy or other emission reduction projects that would not otherwise happen. BEF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Portland, Oregon. For more information, visit b-e-f.org.

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How can a dairy farm supply carbon offsets?

Manure on dairy farms produces methane gas as it decomposes. Methane gas traps 21 times as much heat as carbon dioxide, and is a potent greenhouse gas. However, if the methane is captured, it can be destroyed and turned into energy. Dairy farms like George DeRuyter and Sons utilize a biodigester to facilitate this process.

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What is a biodigester?

A biodigester is a system that captures waste products, such as manure, and turns them into energy and other useful products, while reducing greenhouse gases.

Since 2006, George DeRuyter and Sons Dairy has used a biodigester to process the manure of about 4,000 milking cows. The methane from the manure is captured and used to produce up to 1.2 megawatts of electricity—enough to power approximately 700 American homes per year.

 

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How does a biodigester work?

  1. Manure is transported to the digester
  2. The digester is free of oxygen (anaerobic), and as the manure decomposes, methane is generated and captured
  3. Methane is destroyed in an electric generator or flare

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Are the carbon offsets reviewed by a third party?

Yes. Bonneville Environmental Foundation works with carbon offset projects that have been certified or verified by independent certification/verification organizations. The carbon offsets from George DeRuyter’s dairy farm have been verified by The Climate Action Reserve. Climate Action Reserve projects are reviewed and verified by an independent, accredited third party verification body, and approved by the Reserve. For more information, visit climateactionreserve.org.

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What do I get for my Carbon Balance dollars?

You will be supporting projects that prevent greenhouse gas emissions that wouldn't be financially viable without your help. These projects will offset the emissions caused by your home's natural gas use, so the natural gas used in your home will make no net contribution to climate change.

You won't actually receive anything that you can hold in your hand, like a certificate or a document. However, all contributors will receive a report at the end of the year documenting how many tons of greenhouse gas emissions were prevented by Carbon Balance investments.

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How much profit does Puget Sound Energy make off my Carbon Balance purchase?

None. All customer purchases are used to support individual projects, to help educate the public about greenhouse gas reductions, and to administer the program.

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How will I know what's happened to our Carbon Balance dollars?

Each year, Puget Sound Energy will send you a report on Carbon Balance investments and the resulting carbon offsets.

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