ACCC takes stand on misleading ‘green’ electricity marketing

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) of its decision to impose strong sanctions against Energy Australia for promoting ‘green’ electricity products in a misleading manner.

‘The sanctions send a strong message to energy retailers that misleading or confusing marketing of green electricity products will not be tolerated,’ said Ms Robin Banks, CEO of PIAC.

In 2006 PIAC, on behalf of the Total Environment Centre, filed a complaint against energy retailers Energy Australia and Jack Green on the grounds that these companies had made misrepresentations about the percentage of accredited renewable energy offered in their products.

The ACCC’s announcement today set out the undertaking, made by Energy Australia, to place the misled customers on 100% GreenPower accredited electricity contracts. Energy Australia also agreed to produce a brochure that explains to consumers the difference between accredited and non-accredited green energy, as well as the environmental benefits attributed to these products.

‘An energy provider’s “green” credentials are becoming an increasingly important factor in a consumer’s choice of energy product,’ Ms Banks said. ‘Unfortunately there is still a lot of misinformation and confusion as to the contribution to the environment that consumers are making through purchasing green electricity products’.

Ms Banks said ‘whilst we commend the ACCC for taking a stance on this issue, we also commend Energy Australia for taking responsibility for its mistakes and seeking to educate consumers about green energy. The actions taken by these bodies will help enable energy consumers to make informed decisions about the type of energy they purchase, fostering a healthy competitive market’.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,

Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169

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