Energy suppliers that do not generate or directly source green energy risk mislead customers by claiming they are “100 per cent renewable”, according to a report from Which. The consumer group said it is concerned that many suppliers are claiming to be green while doing little to support additional renewable energy supply.
Suppliers are “greenwashing” by purchasing certificates from companies that generate renewable electricity, which allow them to claim they provide zero-carbon energy, even though much of the power they actually supply may comes from fossil fuels, Which? has argued.
Green Star Energy, Ovo Energy, Pure Planet, Robin Hood Energy, So Energy, Tonik Energy and Yorkshire Energy all sell “100 per cent renewable” electricity tariffs but do not generate any renewable energy themselves or buy any directly. Instead they buy Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificates, whose purpose is to prove to the final customer that a given share of energy was produced from renewable sources. The average household uses a little over 3MWh of electricity per year, meaning suppliers can buy the certificates to match this usage for only around £1.55 per customer and claim a tariff is “100 per cent renewable”.
Richard Headland at Which? said: “As consumers grow ever-more environmentally-conscious, it’s concerning that some suppliers appear to be ‘greenwashing’ their energy tariffs, which could risk misleading customers..."