Datamonitor forced into U-turn over British Gas

Global research group Datamonitor has been forced to retract a report it published in July that claimed British Gas was not as green as the company had claimed to be. Its retreat comes as the Centrica-owned utility rolls out two new green tariffs and announces its “British Gas Green Fund”.

British Gas forced Datamonitor to retract an analyst’s comment as part of its Market Share Monitor Q2 2007, which showed British Gas’s calculations on its carbon intensity were misleading as it was based on its own emissions from generation, rather than its customer base. The comment said British Gas has 5.65 million domestic electricity consumers, but that self-generated power would meet the demand of less than 3.8 million of those. However, Datamonitor has been forced to admit there were errors in the comments and has retracted its findings.

Had the report been correct, it would have pushed rivals such as EDF Energy and Npower ahead of BG in terms of “green-ness” – an increasingly important issue in the fight for customers in the utility sector. Just this week BG and Npower have rolled out products and campaigns that aim to tap into UK consumers’ new-found ecological consciences.

BG has launched two green energy tariffs this week. It says Zero Carbon will be the greenest tariff available on the domestic market while Future Energy is a lower cost “light green” option.

A spokeswoman says the new precuts go beyond those offered by rivals as they are not using energy that is already green as part of energy companies’ renewal obligations, which this year stand at 7.9%. She says that BG’s tariff will mean around 20% of energy is from certifiable green resources.

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