Greenwashing on electricity tariffsWhat is Greenwashing and why should I care?


Greenwashing Fact or Fiction

The government launched a consultation on 16 August to explore the extent of ‘greenwashing’ in the retail energy sector.

This comes amid concerns that energy suppliers could be overstating the environmental benefits of their green electricity tariffs and greenwashing right under our noses.

Over half of all new electricity tariffs are badged as ‘green’ or ‘100% renewable’ and 9mn households are now on green tariffs.

Currently, energy suppliers can market tariffs as ‘green’ if they have purchased enough Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs) to cover the electricity consumed by customers on that tariff.

What is greenwashing – Some critics state this is a form of ‘greenwashing’, as the electricity from the wholesale market will be a mixture of fossil fuels, low carbon, and renewable energy.

62% of customers say their purchasing decisions are influenced by how ‘eco-friendly’ a tariff is, but 75% think suppliers should be transparent and open about their tariffs, including how much of their renewable energy is purchased from other suppliers.

In the December 2020 Energy White Paper, the government committed to working with the industry to “ensure customers are provided with more transparent and accurate information on carbon content when they are choosing their energy services and products”.

This call for evidence, which closes on 6 December, marks its first step to understand the challenges in this area, and seeks views on:

> The extent to which annualised retrospective renewable energy matching under the current framework acts as a barrier to transparency.
> How the best framework could be adapted to enable a customer’s choice to drive additional investment in low carbon electricity generation.
> The types of interventions which may help to achieve greater transparency in the framework and avoid green washing.
> The role of other forms of low carbon power in future framework developments.
> Opportunities for innovation that can accommodate flexibility technologies in the future framework.

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