In the mix

Electricity companies now have to tell their customers exactly where their power is coming from, and the carbon dioxide and nuclear waste produced, writes John Haven

In October last year it was made compulsory that UK electricity suppliers
provide customers with the details of the mix of fuels used to produce the electricity they supply, along with information on the corresponding carbon dioxide emissions and nuclear waste produced.

It has been difficult for consumers to find out which fuel sources are used to generate the electricity supplied to their homes.

People have been left in the dark about whether they are buying electricity generated at nuclear power stations or coal-fired power stations.

Now, if they receive a bill, consumers need to be informed at least once per year about where the electricity companies obtain their electricity.

The bill must show the share of electricity generated by coal, natural gas, nuclear, renewable and other energy sources.

Environmental information also needs to be made available, showing carbon dioxide emissions (in grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour) and radioactive waste generated (in grams per kilowatt hour). Consumers are familiar with seeing ingredients and nutritional values on food packaging. Now it is mandatory for all electricity suppliers to label their products with a list of 'ingredients' (the fuel mix) and their nutritional value (the carbon emissions and nuclear waste).

The ElectricityInfo website (www.electricityinfo.org) enables consumers to compare the fuel mix, emissions and waste information for their electricity suppliers with those of other suppliers. In addition, consumers can visit Green Electricity Marketplace (www.greenelectricity.org) if they want to find out about the options available for them to choose a green tariff, which is based on electricity generated by renewable energy sources.

"Consumers are now able to make an informed choice about how their electricity is generated," says Director of Green Electricity Marketplace, Dr John Green.

"Hundreds of thousands of people across the country will be making it known that they do not want to purchase electricity from nuclear power or power stations that are causing global warming, when there are clean alternatives that in many cases will be no more expensive," he adds.
· See Ofgem's Fuel Mix Disclosure by Suppliers in UK at www.ofgem.gov.uk
· UK rules on fuel mix disclosure are available at www.dti.gov.uk

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