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Brits ‘confused about green energy’

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

A lack of understanding about green energy deals is stopping households switching to a more environmentally friendly fuel tariff, according to British Gas.

Research by the energy giant found that 15% of people believe that when switching to a green energy tariff, the energy itself is supplied from a different green network. In fact, the energy supplied arrives in the same way and through the same pipes and wires, but the supplier matches electricity or gas usage with the equivalent amount of renewable energy or offsets.

More than a quarter (28%) of those questioned said that if they understood more about where their energy was coming from, they would be more likely to go green. Almost one in four (23%) said that they find the jargon around green energy daunting.

The study of 2,000 people showed that while there were misunderstandings over tariffs and supply, half (49%) are interested in the sustainability credentials of the products they buy, with almost one in three interested in changing to a green tariff.

According to Ofgem’s Household Consumer Perception of the energy market survey, the importance of green energy tariffs for consumer choice increased from just 9% in 2019 to 19% this year.

While almost half (45%) of respondents stated they would change to a green tariff if it cost the same as their existing deal, it seems that sustainability is a more vital factor influencing younger customers’ purchasing behaviour.

More than one in five (21%) of 18 to 24-year-olds would be willing to pay a premium for sustainable energy, falling to just 7% of 45 to 54-year-olds.

When asked about the measures people would be willing to consider to be more ‘green’, one in four (25%) said they were thinking about buying an electric vehicle, installing a heat pump (12%), and researching how to offset their carbon footprint (20%).

However, the figures show that more than one in four (27%) don’t understand how carbon offsetting works. Almost one in three (32%) said they would find it easier to understand if these benefits were quantified better.

More than a quarter (26%) of those surveyed said they would rather buy and use sustainable energy generated in their local community, and two in five (39%) said they would be interested to find out how they could buy and use sustainable energy in their area.

James Rushen, group head of environment at Centrica, said: “It’s clear that until recently many people have not been thinking about where their energy comes from and this may have led to some misconceptions on supply when switching supplier and the sustainability of the energy itself.

“The good news is that we are starting to see growing interest in sustainable energy from our customers.”