“You know when you’re in the grocery store looking at the conventional apples and the organic apples?” asked Anita Loomba of startup power company Drift. “You want the organic kind, but you have to weigh if you can afford them.”
“The message about ‘green’ choices has so often been that they’re expensive: we think, ‘I’m on a budget, I can’t buy the sustainable thing.’ Drift is excited to offer people a way to save money and help save the planet at once. Up until now, in the energy sector, this has been unheard of,” Loomba said.
Drift is bringing local renewable power to the people
Drift is the brainchild of Greg Robinson and Ed McKenzie, a couple of energy and tech industry vets on a mission to modernize the power delivery industry. The platform they launched in New York City this past May employs an array of technologies (including high-frequency trading, predictive analysis, and machine learning) to reduce inefficiencies and cut consumers’ energy bills. To keep things environmentally and economically clean, Drift also partners with thousands of local independent power producers across New York to sell the energy from their rooftop solar systems, hydroelectric dams, and wind farms.
Without taking too deep a dive into the wonky world of energy service companies (ESCOs) or New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision plan, we can describe Drift’s business model this way: while traditional power providers make more money when their customers use more power, Drift earns its revenue by charging a flat subscription fee of one dollar per week. Drift customers don’t pay a markup for their power, and Drift doesn’t take a cut of the bill. All payments — minus that $1/week — go straight to the power suppliers.
“We are completely incentivized to lower the cost of energy,” Robinson said in a Fast Company article. “We don’t lose money if your power bill goes down. But we probably won’t sign up many people if your bill goes up.”
Loomba explains it this way: “We’re like Costco for energy. You’re paying wholesale prices and we charge a flat fee to get you access to that.” Drift says its early customers have saved an average of 10 percent on their utility bills; some as much as 20 percent.
Greg Robinson (L) and Ed McKenzie (R), founders of Drift
Besides saving its customers money and letting them choose where their power comes from (either a mix of renewable and fossil fuel generators, or strictly renewables), Drift issues its subscribers weekly statements that show what type of energy they used and how much of it. This weekly billing system also helps cut costs, as it makes Drift less dependent on the big bank loans that old-school power companies rely on to keep their business flowing. Unlike some other ESCOs, Drift doesn’t do contracts, and doesn’t use fixed rates — both of which could keep you from getting the best possible price for your kilowatt hours.
“We believe everyone deserves access to clean, reliable energy,” Loomba said. “Our mission is to lower the cost of greener power, for every person, everywhere.”
See Drift’s website to learn more about how you can get cheaper, greener power in NYC now, and to stay in the loop about where Drift will roll out next. See their blog for some enlightening articles (Brooklyn’s own Riverdel Fine Foods is their first business customer spotlight, and look for a feature soon about the hydroelectric dam in South Glens Falls, New York—as seen on TripAdvisor!).
We saved the best for last: Bushwick Daily readers can use the code BUSHWICK50 to get $50 off their first month when they sign up at joindrift.com!