Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Green Electricity: Advising the customer

electric metre

There are currently many different green electricity products on the market, each of different make-up and underlying philosophy. Due to the complex nature of national renewable energy policy, there are currently many different ways that a product can claim to be 'green'. Some products source their electrcity from 100% renewables, others do not but contribute money into an environmental fund. Naturally, consumers are confused, and susceptable to exaggerated claims, misleading use of statistics and occasionally mis-selling.

We believe that a Code of Practice is required to define exactly what qualifies as 'green electricity', and to ensure that all suppliers provide clear and accurate information on electricity bills and in advertising materials. The electrcity regulator is unwilling to take on such a role, so the ECI have undertaken a scoping study looking at the possible implementation of a voluntary Code of Practice instead. This study draws on the experience of other countries and applies these lessons to the UK policy landscape. We suggest a four-star rating of different products, which most rewards those products that are 100% renewable sourced and go above and beyond Government obligations. We also recommend a format for an advisory board and its operation, to ensure that the clarity, consistency and consumer confidence in the green electricity sector.

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