Monday, May 08, 2006

Watch out for RSPB Energy

The Low Carbon Kid has just found out he's been deceived by Scottish and Southern Electricity utility company for the last six years. All this time he had ben told he was on a green electricity tarriff when he was not.

Furthermore the tarriff is not even 100% green.

SSE says on their web site: "At Scottish and Southern Energy we care about the environment and have become the UK’s largest generator of renewables.... Electricity from RSPB Energy is produced from renewable sources, including hydro-power and wind power, which do not create harmful emissions. The electricity is matched to output from renewable sources fed into the network."

It says also that RSPB will get £10 when you sign up for the tarriff plus £5 for each year thereafter.

This double benefit, plus the price - no different from 'brown' electricity - is why we joined the scheme in February 2000.

But now we find that due to a bureaucratic error, we haven't been on the scheme after all, even though leaflets etc. were sent when we signed up for the domestic account confirming we had done so. What alerted me to check was that there was no mention of the green tarriff on my bill.

All this time we thought we were getting green electricity from the Scottish hydro plants - and we weren't. Also, that RSPB was receiving donations of £10 when we switched our electricity supply plus £5 for each additional year since, as the web site claimed.

The call centre operator has apologised and said SSE will recompense RSPB.

However during the conversation she also said there's no difference between the electricity supplied by RSPB Energy and normal SE electricity. It is all 90% renewable due to the hydro plants the company owns.

This account of the mix is not true and I am going to investigate what the supply mix actually is. Meanwhile the RSPB Energy web page clearly gives the impression that all the electricity supplied under the tarriff is green.

If you buy RSPB Energy, you're advised to check yourself that you're really getting what you think you're paying for.

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