Competition leading to further sustainability?

Photo By: Henry Wong

By: Chloe LeValley and Henry Wong

In Denmark, everyone has the free choice of energy companies but most citizens don’t care or are not informed about their energy companies. The major reason for this is because there is hardly a price difference between electricity providers. However, some individuals believe being active in choosing green energy providers can move the market one step closer to achieving complete sustainability.

Recently, major American energy companies in Michigan have imposed a mandate requiring that the Michigan Public Service Commision, an agency that regulates utilities in Michigan, ensures energy companies meet a capacity demonstration requirement. This law is to put other small energy companies out of business. Many citizens claim smaller energy companies create competition in pricing and reliability.

Whereas, Denmark has many more options. There are around 50 energy companies to choose from. However, out of 25 people interviewed in the streets of Copenhagen, only twenty-two people are aware of smaller electricity companies, and all are under major company Dong Energy. Those who are aware claim there is no reason to care about your energy company.

Martin who worked for the Danish Energy Association explains, “There is no competition because they are the same amount of money and you can’t tell whether your energy is green or black. Companies cannot fluctuate the price, they buy the energy at the same price as all the other companies.”

According to new survey from The Danish Energy Authority, only around 200 DKK can be saved per year if a person is active in switching their own electricity provider.  

There are a few citizens with a more positive outlook. They believe that when you switch to smaller energy companies that offer more sustainable options, it will put pressure on larger energy companies to move towards more renewable resources.

“We recently changed energy company mainly because we wanted someone focused on green energy. That was the reason, it wasn’t really cheaper. We didn’t want to have this big energy conglomerate and we didn’t want to support something smaller,” says Mark a citizen of Copenhagen.

“I think it’s good with some competition, especially on the parameters of green energy.”

When citizens change their energy, they can choose an option called climate product. This consists of wind and solar powered energy. By choosing the climate product, CO2 can be reduced and the revenue of climate product will also support the expansion of renewable energy plants.

Diane, another energy user in Copenhagen claims, “The only thing I can do as a consumer is buy renewable energy from the company I buy my power from.”

Most agree Copenhagen will become 100% environmentally sustainable in hopes that competitive pressure will lead companies to sell black energy and go green.

This article is aimed at an American audience (https://www.washingtonpost.com).