Every year we publish what we think is a compelling statistic – the amount of money each electricity company in the UK spends building new sources of green electricity. We express this number as £ per customer because we think that has most relevance for people. In effect it tells you how much from your electricity bill is spent by your power company building new green power sources.
In my opinion it’s a statistic that gets to the heart of the issues, cuts through the greenwash and spin of the Big Six and the small independents – it’s The Measure to me, of whether your deeds match your words.
This weekend we published the fifth annual League Table of UK electricity companies, ranked by this spending measure, and with it a five year average.
The five year average adds a new perspective. We can all have good and bad years and so one year in isolation needs to be viewed with a little caution or wider knowledge.
But five years is five years.
It makes interesting reading. The Big Six are averaging less than £30 per customer per year on new green build – the relevance of that is that the Renewables Obligation places an obligation on all power companies to increase by roughly 1% per year their proportion of green electricity – and that 1% should cost roughly £30 per customer.
So these guys that spend tens of millions on their TV adverts and the like to convince us all that they are really green, and who offer 100% green tariffs (often at a premium) to a few customers – are actually falling to meet their tiny legal minimum targets. That’s the big thing I see from the stats.
And the small indie sector is actually worse – Green Energy and Good Energy may call themselves Green and Good, but they spend nothing at all, make no contribution to new green sources of power.
And Centrica ‘hit back’ apparently. Their defence..? That Ecotricity wasn’t taking into account their promises of what they might do in the future. Damn right we’re not.
Promises are adding hot air to the environment not taking it away… 🙂
The Big Six seek to deceive us all with their marketing. The number of windmills they have in their adverts are inversely proportional to the number they have in the real world. And the small guys are actually worse.
I know that some people criticise this measure (£ per customer), but I don’t think there’s a better way to measure things. My logic goes like this.
We can’t fight climate change or create energy independence for the UK unless we build new sources of green electricity. The UK has about 5% today and needs say 50% ASAP. Electricity companies must take responsibility for that, they supply the stuff. We all use it so we have responsibility too.
It’s little use to a consumer of electricity (looking to choose the right company to be with) to quote the vague promises of future spend. Or the total spending in one year, because companies vary in size.
How much gets spent on behalf of each customer or in effect from each bill is a bang on way to represent the change that you can bring with your electricity bill, by switching to company X ,Y or Z. It empowers and cuts through the crap.
It’s actually an equal measure for companies of all sizes. And it can also be used to measure performance against the minimum legal targets.
The Big Six whinge when we use it – but guess what, two of them use it themselves. Scottish Power recently claimed to spend more per customer than any other ‘major supplier’ and Powergen did the same a few years ago.
In both cases they exclude Ecotricity from their ‘claims’ – they like the £ per customer, as long as it’s only between the big six.