Green energy suppliers Ecotricity and Good Energy are set to lock horns over who has the greenest power – and not for the first time.
The independent energy firms both own generation as well as supply businesses and generate their power largely through wind and solar, although neither has enough generating capacity to supply all of their customers from their own assets.
They both also supply gas, which, while called green, is actually around 94-95% fossil-derived natural gas.
Both firms have solid renewables credentials and Ecotricity is the larger of the two. But Good Energy is not happy that the Advertising Standards Authority has given Ecotricity the green light to call itself the UK’s greenest energy supplier – and has vowed to take action.
The ASA examined the claims after electric car and battery manufacturer Tesla wrote to challenge them. Yesterday, it put Ecotricity in the clear, after investigating its advert under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.33 (Comparisons with identifiable competitors), 11.1, 11.2, 11.3 and 11.7 (Environmental claims), but not finding it in breach.
So Ecotricity can carry on claiming it is the UK’s greenest energy supplier.
However, Good Energy said today it would challenge the ruling.
“We’re surprised and disappointed by this ruling and intend to challenge it,” said managing director David Brooks.
“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”.”
The company pointed out that it also supplies green gas, which was a point of contention in the Ecotricity claim. Good Energy said its biomethane content was 6%, whereas Ecotricity told the ASA its gas mix contained 5% derived from biofuels.
The two firms have previous. In 2009, Ecotricity boss Dale Vince and Good Energy chief Juliet Davenport exchanged views on whether Good Energy was fulfilling its promises to retire Renewable Obligation Certificates (Rocs). Vince had claimed it was not, with Davenport issuing a detailed rebuttal.
Ecotricity was not immediately available to provide comment on the new challenge to its claims.