Originally Posted by Gwyndy
I emailed the journalist, and said "Are you saying that when Pure Planet say "Our energy is 100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon offset gas"
and "We only source our electricity from sun, wind and water. Last year, our electricity mix was 52% wind and 48% sun" they are lying?"
She replied "Not so much that they are lying - which I think may be too strong. Just that they don't have a direct relationship with renewable energy producers, they simply buy certificates proving renewable energy has been added to the grid. This is legal, but I don't think many consumers would know about this secondary market that allows suppliers the right to buy a green label for their deals.
So essentially, my understanding is that they have matched all the energy they supply to customers with certificates proving that same amount of renewable energy has been produced. They just haven't produced it themselves."
I replied "Thanks for getting back to me, much appreciated.
You mentioned Bulb and Ecotricity very positively – but their web statements look almost identical to Pure Planet. How does the consumer distinguish?
100% of our electricity comes from renewable sources, and every year we need to let the regulator know where this comes from. Alongside every unit of renewable electricity we purchase is a snazzily named Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificate. These certificates allow Ofgem to verify the source of every supplier's electricity. https://bulb.co.uk/fuelmix/
Ecotricity say “we generate around a quarter of the green electricity we supply ourselves through our own growing fleet of green energy parks, and the rest we buy from other green generators.”
Pure Planet’s fuel mix is identical to Bulb and Ecotricity http://electricityinfo.org/supplier-fuel-mix/#tabletop
Pure Planet certainly don’t add on a charge for being green, they are almost the cheapest around…"
She replied "The point is not that Pure Planet charge extra - moreover the reason they can deliver 'green' energy cheaply is because they can buy cheap certificates. It is more expensive to be truly green.
With bulb there was a bit of editing going on with my piece that I was unaware of but it deserves SOME praise because it derives some gas from renewable sources, rather than just offsetting and has a direct relationship with renewable generators in a way that many other 'green' tariff providers don't. Though it will still partake in purchasing Regos.
Ecotricity is on another level in that it is directly involved in the generation of renewable energy. That is why it is likely to be more expensive - because it is directly trying to address the problem rather than simply purchasing certificates.
A fuel mix can help show the companies that at least try to source renewable energy, but unfortunately will not tell customers the whole picture. So in fact it is very difficult for consumers to distinguish - that was our reason for highlighting this complication in the market."
Does this get us any further?