Energy companies are misleading customers with a “greenwash” by claiming to sell renewable electricity but not directly buying any power from wind and solar farms and other renewable sources, according to the Which? consumer group. It found that companies were buying certificates costing as little as 30p per megawatt-hour that allow them to claim their electricity was “100 per cent renewable”. A supplier could spend less than a £1 a year buying certificates to cover the 3.1 MWh consumed annually by the average customer and then state that their tariff was 100 per cent renewable. The certificates, called renewable energy guarantees of origin (Regos), are administered by Ofgem, the energy regulator, and issued to generators for every MWh of renewable electricity they produce. The certificates are traded on the open market and suppliers can buy them without buying the renewable electricity that they certify. Which? said that several companies including Green Star Energy, Ovo, Pure Planet, Robin Hood Energy and Yorkshire Energy all sold “100 per cent renewable” electricity tariffs which were “solely backed up” by Regos and not by generating renewable energy themselves or having contracts to buy it directly from generators. The misleading green tariffs tend to be cheaper than those offered by companies which support the expansion of renewable energy by investing directly in it. Which? identified two companies, Ecotricity and Good Energy, which it said were genuinely green because “they generate or have contracts with generators to buy enough renewable electricity to match their customers’ usage”. Customers who want to be sure their energy supplier is helping to reduce emissions should look for a company that has invested in its own renewable energy sites. They should ask if the company has any contracts, known as power purchase agreements, to buy electricity directly from renewable generators. Truly green companies also tend to buy all their electricity from renewable sources, rather than just a low percentage to sell to the fraction of their customers who care enough to pay more for it. Companies are obliged to disclose to their customers the mix of fuels used to generate the electricity they supply annually.
Times 27th Sept 2019 read more »
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FT 26th Sept 2019 read more »
Energy Voice 27th Sept 2019 read more »