Green energy tariffs
If you're planning on buying a green energy tariff, you'll now have greater certainty that the deal you've chosen offers clear environmental benefits.
Since April 1, 2015, Ofgem has imposed rules which require providers to prove that tariffs marketed as 'green' are actually environmentally friendly.
How green tariffs work
Green tariffs usually - but not always - cost more than standard energy tariffs.
There are two main ways in which they work.
Some green tariffs involve you paying a premium to pay into a fund which will be used to support new renewable energy technologies or environmental schemes.
You therefore receive your energy supply in the same way you would if you were on a standard tariff, but you know that you've contributing to a greener future.
The other way green tariffs work is by your supplier agreeing match some of all of the electricity you buy with generation of renewable sources energy.
This renewable energy might come from wind farms or hydroelectric power stations.
You might decide that a green tariff is worth the extra cost because you're keen to help the environment.
What Ofgem's new rules mean
Previously it's been difficult to work out whether a tariff is genuinely green and offers real environmental benefits.
The new Ofgem rules are designed to ensure that energy suppliers prove the green tariffs they offer provide the benefits they claim they do.
There are three main principles that green tariffs now have to follow. They must be:
Transparent: Providers must clearly state if a green tariff doesn't offer any environmental benefit other than those already paid for by customers through taxation, or through costs embedded in energy bills. Suppliers must publish an annual report showing how the tariff the customer has signed up for are providing environmental benefits.
Clear on environment benefits: Suppliers must prove that environmental benefits happen because consumers have chosen a particular tariff, and are not due to subsidies.
Provide evidence of supply: Providers have to show evidence which proves where the electricity supplied by a particular tariff comes from. They must show certificates which offer 'Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin'.
Other ways to support the environment
Choosing a green tariff isn't the only way you can show your support for the environment.
You might be able to use renewable energy sources, such as solar energy, to generate your electricity.
If you do this, you might qualify for payments under the government's Feed-in Tariff scheme. This pays you for any electricity you generate and use, and for any unused power that you export to the National Grid.
You can find out more able different sources of renewable energy in our guide to green energy.
You can also support the environment by conserving energy wherever possible. Energy-saving measures include insulating your property, plugging drafts, installing double-glazing and turning your heating thermostat down.
Whenever you are buying electrical items, look for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo, as the more energy efficient they are the lower your bills will be.
Your energy supplier may offer grants to help you install energy-saving measures at a reduced cost, or even for free. This is because energy firms have targets set by the government to get their customers to improve the energy efficiency of their home.
†10% of customers could save up to £670. MoneySuperMarket Data, May 2016