The Guardian

‘Pale green’ tariffs


The collapse of Bulb Energy follows the steady decline in its promises to customers. Britain’s fastest growing energy supplier set itself apart as a challenger to big energy firms by claiming to offer better service and energy that was cheaper and greener.

But was Bulb Energy as green as it claimed? It promised to supply 100% renewable electricit­y to customers, and to offset the carbon emissions of its gas. However, less than 5% of the green power it supplied to homes was sourced directly from renewable energy projects last year, and it did not own any generating assets, such as wind or solar farms.

The rest of the energy was bought from the UK’s wholesale electricit­y market alongside “renewable energy certificat­es” – which have been criticised in recent years for letting companies “greenwash” their tariffs.

The certificat­es are issued to renewable energy projects for every megawatt-hour of clean power they generate. But a loophole means they can be sold separately from the green electricit­y itself so suppliers can use the cheap certificat­es to market their tariffs as 100% renewable without supporting clean energy.

The energy regulator has set out plans to clamp down on “pale green” energy tariffs. And a government review plans to take aim at firms which claim to sell renewable energy without buying from renewable energy projects.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom