‘Green’ tariffs must go beyond legal obligation

The UK's electricity watchdog has published new guidelines in an attempt to clear up consumer confusion over the credibility of claims concerning green tariffs offered by energy companies.

Ofgem’s guidelines will be used to inform an independent accreditation scheme which will rate the environmental credentials of competing tariffs.

The relative ‘greenness’ of different tariffs has always been a subject of some debate, with some offering electricity from renewable sources while others promise to invest in clean energy R&D.

Layers of legislation have further muddied the waters, with energy companies now legally obliged to make environmental concessions whether or not they wish to.

At the foundation of the new scheme will be a stipulation that only those tariffs that go beyond a company’s legal obligations will be allowed to make claims to be environmentally friendly.

The big six energy suppliers and Good Energy have signed up to the guidelines so far and

Ofgem welcomes their participation.

Ofgem has now asked them to start work immediately on setting up an accreditation scheme that will enable householders and small business customers to easily compare green offerings based on the carbon emissions they reduce.

The scheme should be up and running by the summer.

Sam Bond

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