Conscientious homeowners and businesses looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint have been advised for quite a few years now to switch to LED and energy saving light bulbs, install cavity wall insulation and consider installing solar panels. But what about the energy we consume? How do we know that’s environmentally-friendly?
Well, that’s what the Green Energy Certification Scheme (GECS) was all about. The Green Energy Certification Scheme was launched in 2010 but, despite its best intentions, it was a complete an utter failure. At the time of writing (2016), there are no energy suppliers in the United Kingdom offering an energy tariff recognised by the Scheme; the last supplier to do so was Good Energy, but they dropped their ‘green certification’ in 2014. But there’s a very good reason for this. On April 2 2015, it was announced that the Scheme had closed to new customers. So for all intents and purposes, the Green Energy Certification Scheme is now redundant.
Related: What is the ECO programme?
What was the The Green Energy Certification Scheme ? The Green Energy Certification Scheme was an independent scheme that energy suppliers could sign up to in order to have their energy tariffs certified ‘green’. So-called ‘green tariffs’ could only be offered by energy suppliers who delivered additional environmental benefits and another criteria was that electricity must have been matched with a renewable source. In addition to this, for a tariff to be ‘Certified Green Energy’, the tariff had to be audited by an independent 3rd party. Suppliers couldn’t audit themselves, thus ensuring the credibility of the Scheme. However, success wasn’t to be.
The Scheme launched with the support of all the big six, however most dropped the Scheme after only a year, and some just a few months. Domestic tariffs there were certified green by the Scheme included the GoGreen tariff from E.ON, the Sustainable Energy tariff from British Gas, the Simply Green tariff from Scottish Power and the Juice tariff from npower. The tariff with the highest renewable energy source mix was the Oplan from Scottish Hydro, SWALEC and Southern Electric with a 15% mix. The only small business tariff was the EasyGreen tariff from E.ON, with a 6.6% mix.
And so, GECS had all the best intentions and it started out life with a bang, getting all the big six on board. But success wasn’t to be. Today, the website still exists, however no ‘Certified Green Tariffs’ do. The good news is energy suppliers haven’t forgotten about their environmental commitments, and all the big six now have a higher renewable energy mix than ever before.