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UK Government to tighten electricity 'greenwashing' rules

The government is to review how energy retailers market ‘green’ electricity tariffs to consumers, amid concerns that some are overstating how environmentally friendly their products are.

Some 9mn British households are now on green tariffs, with over half of all new electricity tariffs launched now badged as ‘100% renewable or ‘green’.

The announcement, by Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, follows a campaign by suppliers ScottishPower and Good Energy.

The review will explore the extent of ‘greenwashing’ in the retail energy sector, whether the current system is suitably transparent and whether the rules around what can be called a green tariff remain fit for purpose. Energy companies are currently able to market tariffs as green even if some of the energy they supply to customers comes from fossil fuels, as long as this is offset by purchasing enough Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin certificates to cover their customer base.

Options being explored include looking at whether the system around these certificates needs to be smarter, as well as whether suppliers need to provide clearer information to households about their green tariffs, including type of renewable energy used, where the renewable power was generated and when.

The government is also publishing a separate call for evidence on third-party intermediaries in the retail energy market, such as price comparison sites, auto-switching services, and non-domestic brokers. Around half of households are said to use intermediaries when engaging with the energy market. They currently operate outside of the retail market rules, and ministers will seek views on whether a general regulatory framework is needed.

News Item details

Journal title: Energy World

Countries: UK -

Subjects: Electricity markets Energy consumption Energy markets

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