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Uswitch launches 'first of its kind' green tariff accreditation

USWITCH LAUNCHES ‘FIRST OF ITS KIND’ GREEN TARIFF ACCREDITATION AS HALF OF BRITS ADMIT THEY’RE CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT GREEN ACTUALLY IS

  • Despite valuing the importance of ‘green’ tariffs, over half of Brits (52%) feel confused about what the term actually means[1]

  • Nine million households currently have a ‘green’ deal with their energy supplier[2] - but over a quarter (29%) think a green tariff means that the energy directly provided to their home is 100% renewable[3], and a further 42% just don’t know at all[3]

  • Confusing information and ‘jargon’ stopped a quarter of consumers from choosing a green tariff when they last switched suppliers[4]

  • Uswitch.com has launched a first of its kind Uswitch Green Accreditation for green tariffs, to help consumers understand the different approaches suppliers are taking on renewable energy tariffs

  • The Green Accreditation will demystify and show the differences how far suppliers go to support renewable generation, considering industry processes such as REGOS, PPAs and investment into future renewable generation

  • Four Good Energy tariffs (SVT Electricity, Good to Fix Electricity, SVT Gas and Good to Fix Gas) have been named as the first tariffs to be classified as Gold, with more tariffs from other suppliers to be announced soon.

A third (33%) of households — nine million — now have a ‘green’ tariff from their energy supplier[2], but more than half (52%) are confused about what actually makes up these deals[1], reveals new research by Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service.

There are dozens of green energy tariffs available to consumers, and nine of the top deals are currently classed as ‘green’. In fact, three quarters of consumers (76%) say using energy from renewable sources is an important factor when choosing a deal[5].

However, many consumers are confused about what ‘green’ really means. 17% of people don’t believe that wind power is green, while 7% wrongly consider that burning gas is[6] — and more than a third of households (36%) are not sure if they are on a green tariff or not[2]. 

Despite UK homes receiving the same energy mix (unless households are solar powered or connected directly to a generator) more than a quarter of households (29%) wrongly believe that a green tariff means the power supplied to their home is 100% renewable[3]. 

A quarter of consumers (25%) also say ‘jargon’ and ‘confusing information’ stopped them from choosing a green deal last time they switched energy suppliers[4], while another 9% said they don’t believe that green tariffs are better for the environment[4].

To tackle the confusion and help consumers navigate easier between different tariffs classed as "green", Uswitch is launching a first of its kind, independently verified accreditation scheme for renewable tariffs. The Uswitch Green Accreditation will categorise tariffs into ‘bronze’, ‘silver’ and ‘gold’ — splitting the tariffs up depending on the level of renewable energy suppliers directly buy and the level of investment they are making to support the growth of renewable energy. 

Four Good Energy tariffs (SVT Electricity, Good to Fix Electricity, SVT Gas and Good to Fix Gas) have been named as the first tariffs to be classified as Gold, with more tariffs from other suppliers to be announced soon.

A panel of independent experts has verified the criteria that the tariffs are being assessed against, and in particular is seeking to recognise standout examples of best practice from suppliers. The panel will review the criteria annually, to ensure it reflects current market conditions, making sure customers can always trust they are choosing a tariff that reflects best practice at the time.

Panel members include Maxine Frerk, an associate at the charity Sustainability First, Dr Jeff Hardy, a non-executive director at Public Power Solutions and senior research fellow at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College, and Rosie McGlynn, director at Mentone Energy Consultancy. 

Other members include Dr Matthew Hannon, a senior lecturer at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship within the University of Stratchlyde's Business School whose research examines the policy and market conditions necessary to accelerate low-carbon energy technology, Chris Welby, trustee of Severn Wye Energy Agency, chaired by Uswitch.com’s head of regulation Richard Neudegg. 

What each classification means: 

ClassificationWhat it means
BronzeBronze Standard Green tariffs provide electricity that is matched with renewable generation certificates (REGOs). Suppliers can buy these certificates from renewable energy generators and they show how much renewable electricity has been put on the grid.
SilverSilver Standard Green accreditation is given to tariffs that include 42.9% of electricity bought directly from renewable generators via so-called Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). The number is based on the proportion of renewable energy generated in 2020. Dual fuel tariffs that have slightly less electricity purchased via PPAs (around 32.9%) can still reach Silver Standard if they include some green gas (biomethane) in the gas mix and/or offset the gas consumed through schemes that can be traced to specific carbon offset projects, following a world-class quality standard.
GoldGold Standard tariffs will provide 100% of renewable electricity from PPAs and 10% of green gas. These tariffs will also provide a meaningful contribution towards increasing and/or promoting renewable energy, for example investing into future renewable generation, such as wind or solar and market innovations that help promote renewable uptake. The independent panel has reviewed these tariffs and handpicked the ones that can truly be called market leading in their environmental credentials.

The Uswitch Green Accreditation will give consumers more transparency when they choose an energy tariff - and help them make more informed choices easier.

Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at Uswitch.com, comments: “Green tariffs are increasingly in demand from those who want to do their bit for the environment, but it’s clear that there’s a vast gulf between the perception and the reality of what makes up these deals.

“Our accreditation system is an industry first, and will make it easier for consumers to make an informed choice when selecting a green energy deal, based on where the energy actually comes from and how much the tariff contributes towards renewable energy in future.

“It’s evident that confusion in the renewables space has been brewing for some time and we want to be on the front foot to help consumers identify the varying levels of green that are being presented to them.”

Find out more about the Green Accreditation here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Ross Stebbing
Phone: 07827 836 709
Email: ross.stebbing@rvu.co.uk
Twitter: @UswitchPR

Notes to editors
Research conducted online by Opinium, 16 to 19 March 2021, among 2,000 adults, weighted to be nationally representative.
1. Respondents were asked ‘Do you feel confused by what a green tariff actually means?’ 52% of energy bill-payers said ‘yes’.
2. Respondents were asked ‘Are you on a green tariff?’ 33% said ‘yes’. 33% of 27,600,000 UK households = 9.1 million UK households are on a green tariff. 36% said ‘don’t know’.
3. Respondents were asked ‘Does a green tariff mean that the energy provided to your home is 100% renewable?’ 29% said ‘Yes’. 42% said ‘don’t know’.
4. Respondents were asked ‘What stopped you from choosing a green tariff last time you changed supplier? Please select all that apply’ 14% of people said ‘I don’t understand the jargon involved in green tariffs’. 11% of people said ‘Information about the tariff is confusing’. 22% ticked one of these statements. 9% said ‘I don’t trust that green tariffs are better for the environment’.
5. Respondents were asked ‘How important is using energy from renewable resources when choosing your tariff?’ 27% said ‘very important’ and 49% said ‘somewhat important’. 27% + 49% = 76% of respondents said using renewables is important.
6, Respondents were asked ‘Which of the following energy sources do you consider "green"? Please select all that apply’ 7% said ‘gas’. 83% said wind. 100% - 83% = 17% of people do not consider wind power ‘green’. 

About Uswitch - saving you money for 20 years

Uswitch is the UK’s top comparison website for home services switching. We’ve saved consumers £2.5 billion off their energy bills since we launched in September 2000, and also help people find a better deal on their broadband, mobile and TV.

Uswitch is part of RVU, a global group of online brands with a mission to empower consumers to make more confident home services, insurance and financial decisions.

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