Government to tighten rules to stop ‘greenwashing’ of electricity tariffs

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Rules about how energy retailers market ‘green’ electricity tariffs to consumers will be reviewed, amid concerns that some are overstating how environmentally friendly their products are.

Nine million British households are now on green tariffs, with over half of all new electricity tariffs launched now badged as ‘100% renewable’ or ‘green’.

With more and more consumers looking to make a green switch and reduce their carbon footprint and the UK having more than quadrupled its renewable electricity generation since 2010, the government said wants to ensure consumers signing up to a green tariff know their energy is coming from green sources of electricity generation.

Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said, “Millions of UK households are choosing to make the green switch and more and more of our energy comes from renewables. But I want people to know that when they sign up to a green tariff, they are investing in companies that make a conscious choice to invest in renewable energy.

“Part of that is ensuring companies are being as transparent as possible on where their power comes from. That way, every family in Britain can rest assured their choices are helping to contribute to our world-leading target of eliminating our contribution to climate change by 2050.

“Nearly two-thirds of UK energy consumers say their purchasing decisions are influenced by how eco-friendly an energy tariff is. However, 75 per cent believe suppliers should be open and transparent about their tariffs, including how much of their renewable energy they buy from other companies,” she added.

The review launched on August 16 will explore the extent of ‘greenwashing’ in the retail energy sector, whether the current system is suitably transparent and whether the rules around what can be called a ‘green’ tariff remain fit for purpose.

Energy companies are currently able to market tariffs as ‘green’ even if some of the energy they supply to customers comes from fossil fuels, as long as this is offset by purchasing enough certificates called Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin to cover their customer base. These determine the proportion of electricity that they source from renewable electricity generation.


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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.

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