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Calls for action against misleading ‘green’ energy claims by fuel giants

Consumer groups last night called for action to be taken against Britain's household energy suppliers who make misleading and confusing environmental claims. Companies such as British Gas, ScottishPower, and Scottish and Southern Energy entice customers to sign up to their services by claiming that, by paying or agreeing to "a green tariff", they are giving something back to the environment. In return for signing up to a "green tariff" energy plan, the supplier will either plant a tree or obtain energy from renewable sources. In some cases the tariffs cost nothing, but in other cases there can be a £10 to £20 a year surcharge. The National Consumer Council (NCC) and the consumer watchdog, energywatch, called on Britain's household energy suppliers to be more honest and upfront about their green tariff plans. They have also called on the government and energy service regulatory body Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) to make sure all their environmental claims are independently audited.

Consumer groups last night called for action to be taken against Britain's household energy suppliers who make misleading and confusing environmental claims.

Companies such as British Gas, ScottishPower, and Scottish and Southern Energy entice customers to sign up to their services by claiming that, by paying or agreeing to "a green tariff", they are giving something back to the environment.

In return for signing up to a "green tariff" energy plan, the supplier will either plant a tree or obtain energy from renewable sources. In some cases the tariffs cost nothing, but in other cases there can be a 10 to 20 a year surcharge. The National Consumer Council (NCC) and the consumer watchdog, energywatch, called on Britain's household energy suppliers to be more honest and upfront about their green tariff plans.

They have also called on the government and energy service regulatory body Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) to make sure all their environmental claims are independently audited.

The call came as NCC published an investigation into the environmental credentials of green tariffs on offer. Their research showed that, while many consumers were happy to pay a premium for green energy, most green... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Consumer groups last night called for action to be taken against Britain's household energy suppliers who make misleading and confusing environmental claims.

Companies such as British Gas, ScottishPower, and Scottish and Southern Energy entice customers to sign up to their services by claiming that, by paying or agreeing to "a green tariff", they are giving something back to the environment.

In return for signing up to a "green tariff" energy plan, the supplier will either plant a tree or obtain energy from renewable sources. In some cases the tariffs cost nothing, but in other cases there can be a £10 to £20 a year surcharge. The National Consumer Council (NCC) and the consumer watchdog, energywatch, called on Britain's household energy suppliers to be more honest and upfront about their green tariff plans.

They have also called on the government and energy service regulatory body Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) to make sure all their environmental claims are independently audited.

The call came as NCC published an investigation into the environmental credentials of green tariffs on offer. Their research showed that, while many consumers were happy to pay a premium for green energy, most green tariffs did not attain the benefits claimed.

The 10 companies covered in the report are British Gas, EBICo, Ecotricity, EDF Energy, Good Energy, Green Energy, npower, Powergen, Scottish and Southern Energy, and ScottishPower.

The NCC said it was not possible to compile a ranking because the plans were all so different and the claims made so complex. However, they believed the tariffs that deliver the least environmental benefits from the electricity they actually supply were green electricity from British Gas and Ecotricity.

No supplier made it clear that every household in Britain is already supporting renewable electricity to the tune of £7 a year through their normal bills.

Lord Larry Whitty, NCC's chairman said: "With consumers increasingly trying to do their bit for the environment, switching to a green tariff should be a simple way for them to make a difference. However, our investigation shows that it's too easy for consumers to be misled."

Meanwhile, British Gas's share of the UK gas market has fallen below 50% for the first time as customers switch to other suppliers, Ofgem said yesterday. The UK threw its residential power and gas markets open to competition in the mid 1990s.


Source: http://www.theherald.co.uk/...

DEC 14 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/6314-calls-for-action-against-misleading-green-energy-claims-by-fuel-giants
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