A new scheme to show consumers if "green" electricity tariffs from energy suppliers are really delivering environmental benefits has been launched today.

The "green energy certified" label will only be given to firms that genuinely provide environmentally-friendly schemes over and above their obligations.

The certification scheme will implement guidelines from energy regulator Ofgem about what green tariffs should include and the evidence needed to back them up.

In the past, consumers paying for the green tariffs may have been simply supporting suppliers in meeting existing Government requirements to boost renewable energy and improve energy efficiency.

To be certified under the scheme, suppliers will have to demonstrate to an independent panel of experts their schemes are in addition to obligations.

Demonstrate cuts

They will have to show their tariffs result in a reduction of a minimum amount of carbon dioxide emissions.

Sarah Harrison, of Ofgem, says: "Our guidelines and the new independently-applied label will help give consumers peace of mind that when they buy a green electricity deal it will bring an additional benefit."

The independent panel's chairwoman, Solitaire Townsend, says: "Only 2% of Britons currently buy green energy, but I hope a trustworthy label will convince many more to go green."

Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF-UK, says: "For far too long, green tariffs have been a swamp of misleading and confusing claims and have done little or nothing to drive forward new renewable energy schemes.

"We hope the new scheme will be implemented robustly, and begin to give consumers some assurance that by choosing a green tariff they are making a difference."

Further reading/Key links

Slash energy costs: Cheap Gas & Electricity
Your rights: Fight Energy Direct Debits