Most people who opt for a green electricity tariff want to make a difference.
They usually have a pretty good idea that burning fossil fuels to feed our energy needs is one of the greatest causes of climate change, so they choose an energy company which they think is committed to renewables and not a continued reliance on coal and gas.
But last year the energy regulator, Ofgem, found that some of these people were being taken advantage of by less than scrupulous companies offering supposedly green tariffs. Its research showed that customers were often unable to tell the difference between genuine green tariffs and those which don’t offer any real benefits.
New Green Tariff Rules
As of April 1 2015, any company offering a green or renewable tariff is going to have to prove it. Ofgem now requires suppliers offering green tariffs to keep to three key principles:
- Providing evidence: Electricity suppliers need to know and show exactly where they’re sourcing electricity from.
- Going above and beyond: Providing a green tariff doesn’t just mean sourcing sustainably, it means investing money into sustainable technologies and schemes.
- Transparency: Your supplier is obliged to let you know regularly what your money is doing to help the environment – they also need to tell you if it’s not being invested in green projects.
We’ve seen, first-hand, evidence of the problems which Ofgem has brought to light and is now tackling.
Naturally, I get to hear from to a lot of our customers and it’s obvious to me that some of them have had to wade through some pretty convincing claims from other suppliers before finding a 100% renewable electricity company like us.
Some have even told me that they had signed up to other companies’ green tariff based on a belief that it was a truly green company (and some pretty slick marketing), only to find out that it relied very heavily on coal and gas in its fuel mix.