Battle for green energy customers heats up

The battle for green energy customers seems to be heating up after Ecotricity complained about rival supplier Good Energy to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). It suggests competition for customers […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The battle for green energy customers seems to be heating up after Ecotricity complained about rival supplier Good Energy to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

It suggests competition for customers is increasingly being fought on an ethical basis, especially since many of the UK’s larger suppliers backing away from green energy tariffs.

Ecotricity – a supplier which uses its customers’ bills to pay for building new renewable energy projects – challenged whether Good Energy’s claim to be “the UK’s leading 100% renewable electricity supplier” on its website was misleading and could be substantiated.

The ASA upheld the challenge and ordered the ad must not appear in the same form again unless the claim could be substantiated.

When defending itself, Good Energy had argued it was the only company solely dedicated to sourcing 100% renewable electricity to replace the power used by its customers which comes from the grid, while other renewable suppliers offer some ‘non-green’ tariffs.

However the Authority ruled people might read the word “leading” as suggesting Good Energy has more customers than other firms with 100% renewable tariffs.

Ecotricity has just under 75,000 customers on the books while Good Energy, a younger supplier, has roughly 34,000.

In its ruling, the advertising regulator said: “To substantiate the claim, GE would need to provide comparative evidence which demonstrated that GE had more customers on its 100% renewable electricity tariff than their competitors. Because we had not seen such evidence, we concluded the claim was misleading.”

Juliet Davenport, CEO of Good Energy described the ruling as a “shame”.

She said: “Our track record shows that we have demonstrated significant leadership in our sector over the years, from green electricity accreditation to small scale renewable generation. It’s a shame therefore that within the strict description of the ASA we are not allowed to use the word “leading”.”