Green tariffs under fire … again

A clamber of quangoey energy/green groups – Energy Watch, the National Consumer Council, the Renewable Energy Association and the Energy Saving Trust – have written to Defra to suggest that electricity suppliers be required to provide information on the fuel mix used in each of their customers’ tariff. Their issue is that green tariffs are not transparent.

The real issue with green tariffs is that most suppliers allocate, or ‘match’, their renewable generators with green tariff customers. Because the suppliers purchase or generate a proportion of their electricity from renewables regardless of the tariffs their customers are on, they are able undertake this ‘matching’ exercise without building any new renewable capacity.

Mandatory disclosure of individual fuel mixes would not address this issue (and in fact wouldn’t really make much sense, given that electricity is delivered through a shared grid). Disclosure for the supplier as a whole would, and it would also make green tariffs unworkable. This might not be a bad option. A better option still would be to regulate green tariffs (or clearly accredit them, if regulation is not feasible) so that they must deliver extra investment in new generators.

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