Green utility Good Energy has said it intends to challenge an Advertising Standards Authority ruling which said rival supplier Ecotricity was within its right to claim it offered Britain’s ‘greenest tariffs’.
Yesterday the advertising regulator responded to a complaint made by litium-ion battery giant Tesla Motors which challenged claims made in Ecotricity advertising that said it supplied “the greenest electricity” in Britain.
Tesla challenged that those claims were misleading and could not be substantiated, seemingly reigniting a long-standing feud between the two companies originally stemming from the Electric Highways dispute, which was settled out of court last year.
Ecotricity responded to the complaint citing accepted methodology within the company’s fuel mix disclosure, which energy regulator Ofgem requires to be published each year. The disclosures are used to calculate an average CO2 emission per kilowatt hour of electricity supplied.
Evidence submitted to the ASA by Ecotricity claimed that its fuel mix disclosure showed that energy it supplied generated 10.7 grams of CO2 per kWh, whereas its closest competitor, Good Energy, offered electricity at 18.2g/kWh. These figures, Ecotricity said, substantiated its claims.
Having reviewed the submitted evidence, the ASA ruled in favour of Ecotricity and decided not to uphold Tesla’s complaint.
“We considered Ecotricity had demonstrated that its electricity and green gas had the least impact on the environment compared to their competitors. Therefore, we concluded the claims that they supplied the greenest energy in Britain had been substantiated and was not misleading. Therefore, the claims did not breach the Code,” the judgement stated.
Good Energy has this morning stated its surprise and disappointment at the ruling and confirmed it intends to challenge it.
“The ASA appears to have based its decision purely on data provided by Ecotricity without considering whether that data represents an objective view. Obviously, the criteria Ecotricity has chosen to measure itself against other companies has been selected to suit Ecotricity. We don’t think the ASA has considered what it calls ‘suitable comparative data’ before reaching its conclusions.
“Since we started over 15 years ago, Good Energy has only ever provided 100% renewable electricity. We’re the only company which has never included fossil fuels in our ‘fuel mix’,” David Brooks, managing director at Good Energy, said.
As an increasing number of large corporates adopt renewable-based energy tariffs to meet emissions reductions targets there has been considerable debate over what constitutes a green tariff and just how ‘green’ some tariffs are.
Last year Ofgem tightened regulations originally released in 2010 regarding green tariffs which made it mandatory for suppliers to provide evidence over energy sourcing, invest in sustainable technologies and be entirely transparent over their fuel mix disclosure.