UK gets first "green electricity" scheme

Voluntary supplement on domestic power bills to be spent on developing renewables

UK electricity supplier Eastern Electricity today unveiled Britain's first "green electricity" scheme. Under the scheme, domestic customers will be able to elect to pay 5% or 10% extra on their yearly bill. Eastern Electricity is promising to match the supplements itself up to a maximum of £1m (Ecu1.4m) over two years, and pay the combined total into an independent charitable trust which will support renewable energy projects and research. The company currently has some 3m domestic customers, concentrated in the English East Anglia region. When the UK electricity market is opened to full competition next year, consumers anywhere in the country will be able to switch to Eastern Electricity and join the scheme. Environmental group Friends of the Earth today welcomed the initiative as "forward-looking" and said that it would "set a precedent for the rest of the UK electricity sector to follow". Even if it does, it would take some time for the UK to catch up with other EU countries, such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, where a variety of direct and indirect electricity deals to support renewable energy are available to both commercial and domestic users.

Follow Up:
Eastern Electricity, tel: +44 1473 68 86 88.

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