Green Energy UK response

A few weeks ago I wrote an article giving my reasons for moving our electricity supplier from Green Energy UK to Good Energy.  Green Energy UK coincidentally got in touch with me the next day to ask if I would like to use them in our new office.  I declined, pointing them in the direction of this blog.

This week Doug Stewart, CEO of Green Energy UK got in touch to put me straight on a few things. Read his email here…

Doug’s email:


I am obviously sorry to have lost you as a customer and am pleased to note that there was no negative experience that had caused the switch.

Fiona brought your comments and blog to my attention and while I am sure she will reply to the blog, I was moved to write to you and enclose the last newsletter that I fear may not have got to your desk.

In it we were at pains to point out that all the energy we have been buying for the last two years is green, we buy no brown energy either through our PPAs (Power purchase agreements) or on the markets. And 70% of the energy in PPAs is from generators who were not in existence when we started the business, so we address the supply side of the equation as well as the demand.

All the energy we buy is green, some pale some deep but all green. And we only supply electricity not gas. The article on page 1 and 8 of the newsletter give the reasons and thinking behind that and I wanted to assure you that we too put our money where our ethics and values are.

The 2006/7 renewable obligation was 6.7% and our pale tariff had 20% renewable and 80% green in it, so it makes a significant difference. We like to think it offers a green option to a wider and broader church of consumers rather than being a soft option – any difference is a start!

I hope you can take the time to read the highlighted pages of the newsletter and would like to thank you for your support while you were a customer.

We would welcome you back if you ever feel the need to change.

Kind regards,


Doug Stewart, CEO
green energy UK plc

Essentially Green Energy UK’s “pale tariff” has 20% renewable energy, not the 10% I asserted, and 13% higher than their statutory obligations. Furthermore the remaining 80% is what Doug describes as “pale green” electricity.

If, like me, you’re a bit confused by the term “pale green”, the newsletter tells us (eventually) that this means the electricity comes from Combined Heat and Power (CHP) stations. These are coal or gas powered stations that make use of any excess heat to heat local homes and businesses : a much greener way of burning fossil fuels. I think “pale green” is a slightly misleading description of this : they are after all, still burning fossil fuel. However, as far as I can make out, the Green Energy UK “pale green” tariff produces less than half the amount of CO2 per kwh than normal tariffs.

Doug also points out that they are investing in renewable energy suppliers and that 70% of their suppliers are in existence as a direct result of investment or demand from GEUK.

So it seems that my figures were a bit out, and certainly GEUK’s “pale tariffs” are not faking-it as many “green tariffs” are. GEUK also seem to be making great strides to increase the percentage of renewable electricity that they provide.

In a ‘My Electricity Provider is Greener Than Yours’ slanging match I think I’ll still win with Good Energy, but maybe I wrote this lot off a little too quickly. I certainly can’t fault their (ex) customer service.

I’m feeling really bad about myself again.

One Comment

  1. Posted 25 March 2008 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Since writing this my friend who first pointed out that all was not as it seems with green energy tariffs, has got back to me with this tit bit:

    “The issue is that while the energy may be 100% Green, they can sell on the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) to other “dirty” suppliers to enable them to fulfil their obligation. Therefore, they charge a premium to customers for the green tariff and then sell on the certificate to other suppliers. Only if they retire the ROCs voluntarily can they really say they increasing the requirement for green. However, doing this would double your energy bill.”

    All very confusing but if both Green Energy and Good Energy are selling their ROCs to dirty suppliers, then all they are doing is shifting the demand from one supplier to another and not increasing it at all. I think I’ll ask them… watch this space.

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