Green Electricity Watch report tells over 100,000 people \You Now Have the Power to Change\

February 25, 2002

A unique coalition of nine of the nation's leading environment groups will send over 100,000 members, supporters and subscribers information on where to buy the most sustainable 'green' electricity products.

Green electricity watch said the first of its independent surveys and rankings of electricity retailers, titled "you now have the power to change",
would put the consumer at the forefront of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and comes as electricity retailers in NSW and Victoria begin to compete for market share in the new fully contestable retail market. gew said it was essential that consumers had sound independent advice on the range of 'green' products. gew also welcomed the endorsement of the australian consumers' association.

The rankings identified origin energy's green earth plus, a 100% wind product, as the nation's market leader; while txu's enviroenergy, australian inland energy and water's green energy, and origin's green earth scored a 'beyond compliance' rating. gew said that nsw retailers had scored disappointingly, with only the small australian inland energy and water's product exceeding the national green power standards, considered a baseline for the survey. eight other nsw, act wa, victoria and tasmanian retailers failed to demonstrate more than compliance.

jeff angel, director,
total environment centre:

"environment groups around the country have taken a new and important step into consumer advocacy with the green electricity watch product rankings. surveys continue to demonstrate the public's concern about australia's unsustainable greenhouse gas emissions and the release of this report will drive a response at the retail level. coupled with good regulation, the consumer can play a vital role in forcing the energy sector away from the old polluting fossil fuel era into a growing and lucrative sustainable energy generation - at little or no extra cost." mr angel said.

kathy ridge, executive officer,
nature conservation council of nsw (ncc):

"green electricity is the fastest growing industry sector in the country with enormous investment and export potential. ncc wants consumers to know that by choosing a genuine green energy product they will be boosting jobs and investment in regional areas, and helping make nsw the national leader in sustainable energy technology. retailers in nsw will need to deliver more green electricity products if they are going to differentiate themselves in a competitive market." ms ridge said.

norm crothers,
australian consumers' association:

"the australian consumers' association welcomes this report. it is essential the consumers have independent advice about the best electricity products in view of the serious threat of man-made climate change and the problems consumers will have with discerning
between the claims of various retailers. we will ensure our subscribers are well aware of the survey." mr crothers said.

about the green electricity watch product rankings:

the rankings in the report are based on answers supplied by the retailers themselves. compliance with the national green power accreditation scheme was considered a minimum requirement with additional weight given to companies who exceeded this benchmark and who incorporated good demand management programs into their products. failure on the part of retailers to rule out the use of electricity generated using native forest biomass scored against them, as did other biomass schemes without adequate sustainability guidelines.

at present interstate competition is very limited so nsw consumers for example will not be able to buy the market leader product from origin.
however, this is expected to change in coming months and green electricity watch will issue further advice at this time.

for further information contact:

jeff angel,
total environment centre
ph: (02) 9299 5690

kathryn ridge,
nature conservation council of nsw
mob: 0438 899 774

norm crothers,
australian consumer association
ph: (02) 9577 3399

adam young
nature conservation council of nsw
mob: 0421 048 301