Environmentally focused customers misled by energy firms

6th Feb 2020

As global attention increasingly focuses on climate change, more and more UK consumers are signing up to ‘green’ energy firms, which offer energy from supposedly renewable sources, that are often also more affordable.

In August 2019, a Telegraph Money report revealed that some deals marketed as 100% renewable could in fact get as little as 3.7% of their energy from renewable sources. The rest, it said, could be produced by burning fossil fuels or purchasing a ‘Rego’ certificate, which would allow the supplier to claim the tariff is green.

Customers who signed up to these so-called ‘green’ tariffs are understandably frustrated and concerned, both because their energy isn’t necessarily coming from as many renewable sources as they thought, and because they were being misled by their suppliers.

In its new Decarbonisation Action Plan – designed to support the government’s net-zero carbon target – industry regulator Ofgem has said it may take action against firms that mislead consumers by ‘green-washing’ (the practice of conveying false information about a company’s green practices).

“It is critical that consumers can trust that tariffs marketed as green will in fact make the expected positive impact for the planet, for example by stipulating additional investment in renewable generation,” said Ofgem.

The regulator added: “We are aware of growing concerns about ‘green-washing’, where the environmental impact of a particular tariff or supplier is overstated. We expect suppliers to be transparent about what constitutes a ‘green tariff’ and we will undertake work to ensure that consumers are not misled.”

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