Energy watchdogs call for measures to stop misleading green energy claims

08 August 2007
The National Consumer Council (NCC) and energywatch have called for the proposed government-backed green energy accreditation scheme to provide consumers with tariffs that are clear, honest and transparent to avoid misleading claims being made by energy providers that they are greener than they really are.

Such measures would ensure that energy companies couldn’t use the complex regulatory rules to count the greenness of their electricity more than once. In addition, NCC and energywatch want green tariffs to be ranked according to their carbon emission savings in order to help energy consumers make a distinction between different offers.

Jonathan Stearn, Head of Campaigns at energywatch, comments:

“Low levels of trust and confusion are holding the green energy market back. Consumers need verified information so they can choose with confidence the green tariffs that make a difference by reducing carbon emissions. Our proposals would ensure that tariffs are transparent, offer additional environmental benefits and are independently verified”.

According to NCC research, despite almost two thirds of people claiming that they would consider switching to an energy provider that offers a greener tariff, only around one per cent has actually switched across with confusing levels of complexity being cited as a contributing factor.

Cassie Higgs, NCC Senior Policy Advocate, comments further: “It’s important that the new scheme ranks different green tariffs according to the amount of CO2 they save. A simple ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ mark will do little to encourage competition among suppliers to make their tariffs even greener.

“We urge the government, the energy regulator and the accreditation body to adopt a graded approach in finalising the new accreditation scheme. This will help make greener energy choices easier for consumers.”

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