Utilities giant npower has been slammed by environmental charities for admitting that it cannot switch all of its customers to green tariffs because it does not have the capacity. Npower says that it has the facility to supply just 2% of customers with renewable energy.
Despite the shortfall of supply, the company is planning to launch a major TV campaign to push its green tariff, Juice. It will be part of £20m it spends this year on ads, its cricket sponsorship and product innovations.
The energy company currently supplies around 54,000 of its 6.4 million customers with a green tariff but the extent of its renewable resources only give it the provision to supply 100,000 in total.
Npower director of customer marketing Kevin Peake says even though a “small” amount of npower’s customers have signed up to the company’s green tariff, “we are still the market leaders. Consumers are not as interested in green as people think they are.”
An npower spokesman adds: “The energy market does not need to supply all consumers with green energy. The Government target says by 2020, 20% of all energy should come from renewable resources.”
But Mary Taylor, an energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, criticises the company for “greenwash”. She adds: “There needs to be more transparency.”
Peake says that making sure energy is available is a “long-term investment” and even one nuclear power station can cost up to £800m. He adds that energy companies are applying for planning permission “left, right and centre”.
Npower will be spending £100m this year on the Government’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT).