Need to fix ‘green electricity’ markets for consumers

BEUC NEWS - 12.01.2017

BEUC has issued a new set of policy recommendations to fix ‘green electricity’ markets so that they deliver what consumers expect. At least 15 million households are estimated to have signed up to a tariff where the electricity has been marketed as ‘green’. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that consumers’ money is not necessarily used to support renewable power plants. It often remains unclear what they are paying for and there is little understanding of what the ‘green’ in these electricity tariffs actually is.

Current EU legislation leaves the door wide open for misleading offers. To avoid greenwashing, BEUC recommends that national regulators establish binding rules for all market participants, including for instance a sustainability ranking of market participants carried out by an independent body, or a national label for market participants who meet green quality standards.

The EU is currently working on legislation that will overhaul much of the electricity market’s rules and has an opportunity to correct problems of transparency and clarity around ‘green electricity’ tariffs. According to European Commission research, almost 50% of consumers would be prepared to pay more for their electricity if they knew it supported investments in new renewable power plants.

Our position paper A green electricity market that works for consumers is available here.