Fake green electricity claims: Firms must ditch the lies and step up for the environment

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Around nine million households are on tariffs branded “100 percent renewable”. But utility firms are free to market them as “green” even if some of the energy they supply to customers still comes from fossil fuels.

They can do this by buying “renewable energy guarantees of origin certificates” to offset the use of fossil fuels. Each certificate promises a similar amount of green energy will be produced.

Companies are not compelled to reveal how much of their energy is based on the purchase of certificates versus electricity directly from renewable sources, like solar and wind farms.

Now ministers want greater transparency from suppliers. Energy minister 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.” 

Nearly two thirds of people in the UK say their fuel decisions are influenced by how eco-friendly an energy tariff is, according to a recent YouGov poll for Scottish Power and Good Energy.

Three quarters also believe suppliers should be open and transparent about tariffs.

Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at USwitch said: “Transparency is key to bring consumers on the journey to net-zero.

“Households want to do their bit to help the environment, so it’s vital to make it as simple as possible to pick the tariffs that actually help to support renewable energy.”

This newspaper is campaigning for the environment with its Green Britain Needs You crusade.

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