The chief executive of Good Energy – one of the ‘new generation’ of independent energy suppliers – has welcomed new OFGEM rules which now force energy companies selling ‘green’ tariffs to prove they really do provide environmental benefits.
New rules on green tariffs, which come into force today, are part of the UK regulator’s Retail Market Review to make the market simpler, clearer and fairer for consumers.
Last year OFGEM raised concerns that energy customers were unable to tell the difference between genuine green tariffs and those which don’t offer any real benefits.
Juliet Davenport said: “People buy a green tariff because they believe they are making a difference and the company supplying the electricity is really dedicated to renewable energy.”
“The rules should prevent suppliers over–stating their ‘greenness’ or positioning themselves as green when they are getting most of their power from coal or gas. That’s not what the customer has in mind when they choose a green tariff.”
“From talking to customers about their experiences, there’s evidence of people being misled.”
Suppliers must now clearly state if a green tariff does not offer any environmental benefit above and beyond that already paid for through government policy, and must show evidence of where its electricity has come from by holding special certificates.
And firms must also show that they invest their own time and money into renewable energy, as a result of customers choosing its green tariff, and not just packaging the existing environmental obligations as something extra.
Good Energy estimates that there are around 225,000 electricity customers on 100% renewable tariffs in the UK.
Nev Stoke, a web developer from Edinburgh, commented: “I left one of the Big Six suppliers in search of authentic green electricity. There were quite a few providers offering green tariffs but it was hard to tell what portion of their electricity came from renewables.
“Some companies offering green tariffs are definitely not very green, but it’s pretty confusing when their marketing is so slick. Hopefully the new rules will make it easier to spot a company which gets 100% of its power from renewables from those just making a token effort.”