Green energy tariffs under fireMany don't live up to their environmental claims

14 December 2006

 

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‘Green’ tariffs offered by many energy companies don't live up to their environmental claims, according to a report out today.

It says that even the best offers would only cut a typical household's carbon dioxide emissions by around 6 per cent.

The National Consumer Council report analysed green tariffs offered by 10 different energy companies and found that many suppliers were doing little more than meeting legal requirements.

None of them made clear to customers that every British household already pays around £7 per year to support renewable electricity via their normal electricity bills.

Scant information

The report added that consumers found it difficult to compare the different green tariffs because there is scant information available and no standardised format across the different companies.

Researchers found it particularly difficult to get straight answers about the green tariffs from the energy companies' call centre staff.

Even the best deals would only reduce CO2 emissions by an average 100kg per household per year - around 6 per cent of their total.

The National Consumer Council (NCC) and watchdog Energywatch are calling for a shake-up of the way green tariffs are marketed and sold.

Green tariffs

NCC Chairman Lord Larry Whitty said it was too easy for consumers to be misled on the issue of green energy.

He said: ‘They may think they are helping save the planet but it's not clear that they are.

‘That's why we're calling for a shake-up in how companies market and sell their green tariffs, and for them to offer bigger environmental benefits.’