Selecting a green energy tariff could soon be much simpler thanks to a new ratings scheme proposed today by energy regulator Ofgem.
If it goes ahead, the system, which is due to be implemented early next year, will be similar to the A to F classification used to measure the energy ratings of household appliances like washing machines and cookers.
For example, A would be for a zero emissions energy tariff, i.e., one that uses 0g/k Wh of carbon and B would be for a low carbon emissions tariff – up to 100g/k Wh. At the other end of the scale would be an F rating, which would represent a very high emissions tariff that uses more than 1000 g/k Wh of carbon.
The ratings system will not be mandatory, but those suppliers that do enter into the scheme will have all of their energy tariffs rated – not just the green ones.
Suppliers are legally required to source a percentage of their energy from renewable resources, but Ofgem says it wants customers to be aware of whether the ‘green energy’ tariff being supplied by a particular company is on offer because it has to be, or if the supplier is actually funding additional green energy on top of their legal obligation.
David Doulton, Director of Fair Investment Company - a financial comparison website which has a green energy comparison tool, says he welcomes the new proposals.
“Currently, there are no clear guidelines in place regarding green energy, so consumers find it difficult to work out what the environmental benefits of a particular energy deal are,” he said.
“This new green energy efficiency rating being proposed by Ofgem will provide a definition of what green energy actually is, and this will help consumers to better understand their own carbon footprint.
“At the moment there is no ‘green scale’ so dozens of tariffs can claim to be ‘green’, when in some cases, that claim is largely exaggerated. With this new approach, there will finally be a yardstick by which all energy products can be measured, and this will allow consumers to properly compare green energy tariffs, and pick the one that best fits their own needs.
“The new system should also encourage suppliers to offer more new green tariffs – the number of people actually signed up to a green tariff is less than 1%; hopefully this new rating system will boost this figure.”
While Mr Doulton is in support of the new system, he thinks it would be better if it was enforced rather than voluntary.
“It would be better if the rating system was compulsory for all suppliers; that way you would avoid the situation that may well arise, where some suppliers do comply and others don’t,” he said. “An obligatory scheme would make it much easier for the consumer to compare the green tariffs available.”
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