Welcome to the 2015 Green Electricity Guide, the only independent, unbiased ranking of the environmental performance of all retailers selling electricity to Australian households.

The Electricity Sector

The electricity sector is the largest source of greenhouse emissions in Australia. 87 per cent of our electricity still comes from coal and gas fired power stations. The rest comes from renewables: mostly hydro and wind but also from an increasing amount of rooftop solar.

By switching from a retailer that invests its money in fossil fuels to one that generates energy from renewables, you are voting with your wallet and sending a signal to Australian energy companies that you want them to get serious about tackling climate change.

Some smaller, newer companies are also investing in local renewables and helping customers to reduce their consumption and increase their energy efficiency with innovative products and apps.

Renewables

We rank retailers on the emissions intensity of the power stations they own, their investments in and policy positions on renewable energy, fossil fuels and burning native forests for electricity, their deals for solar consumers and how well they support additional investment in renewables through the GreenPower products they offer you.

This year we have also added their promotion of energy efficiency and their transparency and sustainability reporting.

The Dirty Three

Origin Energy, EnergyAustralia and AGL currently provide electricity to over three quarters of Australian households. ‘The Dirty Three’ sometimes market themselves as environmentally conscious, but their ‘green’ initiatives are small compared to their investments in coal and gas generation.

These companies also actively undermined Australia’s Renewable Energy Target. Recently, AGL and Origin have made positive noises about getting out of coal-fired electricity in the long term, but we think they could be doing much more, and sooner.

We’re showing you electricity suppliers in

8.6

Melbourne-based Australian retail arm of New Zealand-based public company, Meridian Energy. Meridian owns two wind farms in Australia which generate more energy than Powershop currently sells to customers. Powershop currently supplies around 50,000 customers in Victoria and NSW and has developed innovative ways to market to consumers and to communicate with them.

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Owns only renewable assets (via parent company), with emissions intensity of zero

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Public positions against coal and CSG and supported maintaining current RET

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Highest GreenPower sales (relative to total sales) and large proportion of GreenPower customers on 100% equivalent

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Solar export price(s) slightly above state average(s) and provides equitable solar offers

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Energy efficiency information not comprehensively provided on website

Element Scores

Emissions Intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

8.5

Relatively small, privately owned, Melbourne-based retailer selling energy in Victoria, NSW, Southeast Queensland and South Australia. US solar company Sunpower is one of their shareholders. Diamond owns two mid-scale biogas power plants and is involved with other renewable projects.

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Owns only renewable assets, with emissions intensity of zero

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Price of 100% GreenPower power slightly cheaper than average

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Large proportion of GreenPower customers on 100% GreenPower equivalent

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Solar export price(s) slightly above state average(s) and provides equitable solar offers

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Public positions against coal, CSG and burning native forest wood waste, and supported expansion of the RET

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

6.9

Owned by Hydro Tasmania, which is Australia’s largest owner of renewable energy generation. As well as hydro power stations, Hydro Tasmania owns one large gas peaking plant (which barely operated during 2014-15), has minority shareholdings in three wind farms and is building mostly renewable energy offgrid power systems on King and Flinders Islands to reduce their reliance on diesel generators. Sells energy in NSW,Victoria and South Australia.

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Owns mostly renewable assets (via parent company), with emissions intensity close to zero

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Reports sustainability information against GRI guidelines (via parent company) and provides information on sustainability targets and performance

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Markets general offer as “renewable” in direct competition with GreenPower, despite not being an accredited renewable energy product.

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GreenPower only available in combination with Momentum's standing offer, which is substantially more expensive than Momentum's current market offers, making price of 100% GreenPower second most expensive

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

6.5

Wholly owned by the Tasmanian Government, and is the only retailer in that state. Does not own any power stations.

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Owns only renewable assets (via parent company), with emissions intensity close to zero

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Solar export price(s) slightly better than state average(s) and provides equitable solar offers

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Large proportion of GreenPower customers on 100% GreenPower equivalent

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Extremely small proportion of GreenPower sales relative to total retail sales

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

6.0

Owned by Snowy Hydro, which is in turn owned by the NSW,Victorian and Commonwealth governments.The parent company owns large hydro power stations but also two gas peaking plants. Has more than 540,000 customers in Victoria, South Australia and NSW.

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Owns mostly renewable assets (via parent company), with emissions intensity close to zero

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Price of 100% GreenPower power cheaper than average

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All GreenPower customers are on 100% GreenPower

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Solar export price(s) slightly better than state average(s) and provides equitable solar offers

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Potential for standard product to mislead consumers that they are purchasing 100% renewable energy

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Supported weakening of the RET (via parent company)

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

5.9

Now owned by Snowy Hydro, so (like Red Energy) it is effectively owned by the NSW,Victorian and Commonwealth governments.The parent company owns large hydro power stations but also two gas peaking plants. Has over half a million customers. Sells energy in the eastern mainland states and South Australia.

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Owns mostly renewable assets (via parent company), with emissions intensity close to zero

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Solar export price(s) slightly better than state average(s) and provides equitable solar offers

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Energy efficiency information is very accessible to customers on website and reasonably comprehensive

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Only offers 10% GreenPower, and GreenPower sales make up very small proportion of total retail sales

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Does not publish sustainability information in formal reports, and does not provide information on targets and performance on website.

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

5.8

Jointly owned by Icon Water (formerly ACTEW Water, owned the ACT Government,) and AGL Energy via subsidiary companies. Only operates in the ACT and nearby areas of NSW. Does not own power stations of its own, but parent company AGL does. See AGL for more detail.

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Solar export price(s) slightly better than state average(s) and provides equitable solar offers

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Comprehensive and accessible energy efficiency products and information available to customers via website

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Investments in coal power stations and CSG (via parent company), with emissions intensity at NEM averge

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Price of 100% GreenPower power noticeably more expensive than average

Element Scores

Emissions Intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

5.7

Publicly listed company and Australia’s biggest electricity retailer with over 4.3 million customers. Origin owns one large black coal and several gas plants, as well as investments in wind and solar farms and hydropower. Sells energy in the eastern mainland states and South Australia. Although in 2014 it advocated for a reduction in the Renewable Energy Target, Origin committed in 2015 to exiting its coal investments and to no further investments in coal in the 2030s. Also committed to all seven of the We Mean Business corporate climate change goals, although the 100 per cent renewable energy pledge covered only the company’s office operations, not its power plants. Meanwhile Origin is the eighth biggest greenhouse polluter in Australia.

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Lowest cost of 100% GreenPower across all retailers in the 2015 Guide

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Solar export price(s) slightly better than state average(s) and provides equitable solar offers

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Comprehensive and accessible energy efficiency products and information available to customers via website

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Very low proportion of GreenPower customers on 100% GreenPower equivalent

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

5.1

Publicly listed company and Australia’s second largest electricity retailer. Has invested extensively in wind farms and large solar plants. However, AGL also recently invested heavily in gas, is expanding its CSG investments, and in 2014 bought up large coal-fired power stations. In 2014 AGL made ambiguous public statements suggesting it did not support maintaining the then current Renewable Energy Target. However, in 2015 AGL committed to closing all existing conventional, coal-fired plants by 2050 and to not acquire or provide financing for new conventional coal-fired plants. In the meantime it is the single largest emitter of carbon pollution in Australia. Sells energy in the eastern mainland states and South Australia.

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Owns and currently developing new renewable energy generation

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Reports sustainability information against GRI guidelines and provides information on sustainability targets and performance

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Price of 100% GreenPower power slightly cheaper than average

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Offers to solar customers substantially more expensive than offers to non- solar customers

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Investments in coal power stations and CSG, with emissions intensity close to NEM average, plus did not support maintaining the RET

Element Scores

Emissions Intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

4.9

Foreign-owned private company and third largest electricity retailer in Australia. Owns coal plants in Victoria and NSW, part-owns one wind farm and is involved with other wind farm projects. It is the second biggest carbon polluter in Australia – thanks to its coal plants in Victoria and NSW – and has the highest emissions intensity (carbon pollution per unit of energy generated) of the big three retailers. It was a major financial beneficiary of the end of the former federal government’s carbon price in 2014 and argued for the Renewable Energy Target to be reduced. It has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2050 (based on 1990 levels), which is a start but inadequate in view of the implications of climate science. Sells energy in the eastern mainland states and South Australia.

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Owns and currently developing new renewable energy generation

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Reports sustainability information against GRI guidelines and provides information on sustainability targets and performance

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Price of 100% GreenPower power slightly cheaper than average

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Comprehensive and accessible energy efficiency products and information available to customers via website

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Offers to solar customers substantially more expensive than offers to nonsolar customers

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Investments in coal power stations and CSG, and emissions intensity above NEM average

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Supported weakening of the RET

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

4.9

Privately owned, part of the M2 Group. Does not own any power stations. Retails in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland.

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Solar export price(s) below state average(s) and slightly more expensive solar offers compared to non-solar offers

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Provides only basic energy efficency information to customers via website

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

4.7

Small private company retailing in Victoria, NSW and Southeast Queensland. Does not own any power stations.

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Supported expansion of the RET

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Does not offer same discounts on GreenPower tariffs, resulting in high cost of GreenPower

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Low proportion of GreenPower sales (relative to total retail sales)

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Solar export price(s) somewhat above state average(s) but solar offers substantially more expensive than non-solar offers

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Publically promotes CSG as important to Australia's energy mix

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Does not report sustainability information in any form

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

4.7

Subsidiary ofAGL selling electricity to customers in NSW,Queensland,SouthAustralia andVictoria. Has mostly business customers. Does not own any power stations.Where no separate data is available it is treated as the same as AGL, so info below only shows results where they differ from AGL’s.

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Currently owns and developing new renewable energy generation (via parent company)

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Reports sustainability information against GRI guidelines (via parent company) and provides information on sustainability

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Investments in coal power stations and CSG (via parent company) and did not support maintaining the RET

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Low proportion of GreenPower sales (relative to total retail sales)

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Solar export price(s) somewhat above state average(s) but solar offers substantially more expensive than non-solar offers

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

4.6

Retail arm of Queensland regional and rural electricity network, so owned by the Queensland Government. Services around 700,000 customers outside the south east of the state. For many people living in these areas Ergon is the only electricity retailer option. It owns one medium size gas fired power station and 33 smaller stand-alone power stations in remote areas, most of which are diesel fueled or hybrids (diesel plus gas and/or renewables).

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Supported weakening of the RET

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

4.1

Wholly owned by the Northern Territory Government and the sole electricity retailer in the Territory. Owns a number of power stations, almost all of them using fossil fuels.

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Solar export prices substantially better than national average and solar offer equitable with non-solar offer

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Does not offer GreenPower

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Does not report sustainability information in any form

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

4.1

Owned by the IFM Australian Infrastructure Fund, which is owned by Australian non-profit super funds. Mostly a generator with small retail operations in Victoria and South Australia. Owns seven wind farms and several hydro plants.Affiliated company Ecogen Holdings own two large gas power stations. Suffered financially in recent years due to policy uncertainty around renewable energy.

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Owns mostly renewable assets, with very low emissions intensity

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Supported maintaining current RET

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Does not offer anything to solar customers

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Does not currently offer GreenPower to residential customers

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Does not provide energy efficiency information or products/services to customers via website

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
Greenpower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

3.6

New, small, privately owned Melbourne-based retailer with no ownership of power stations.

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Solar export price(s) somewhat above state average(s) but solar offers substantially more expensive than non-solar offers

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Does not offer GreenPower

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Only basic energy efficiency information provided on website and not easily accessible

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Does not report sustainability information in any form

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

3.5

New, small retailer owned by Tel.Pacific. Operating in NSW and Victoria. No ownership of power stations.

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Does not report sustainability information in any form.

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Does not offer GreenPower

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

2.9

Owned by GDF Suez (France), one of the largest energy companies in the world. Services about 500,000 customers in NSW, Queensland,Victoria and South Australia. GDF Suez owns brown coal and gas power stations including Hazelwood, the most emissions intensive power station in Australia.This makes GDF Suez the fifth largest carbon polluter in Australia. GDF Suez also part- owns one wind farm.

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Only offers 10% GreenPower

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Does not offer same discounts on GreenPower tariffs, resulting in extremely high cost of GreenPower

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Solar export price(s) below state average(s) and slightly more expensive solar offers than non-solar offers

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Investments in coal power stations and CSG, and emissions intensity well above NEM average, highest in 2015 GEG

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Supported weakening of the RET (via parent company)

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

1.9

New, small, privately owned Melbourne-based retailer with no ownership of power stations.

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Does not offer GreenPower

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Does not make offers to solar customers

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Does not report sustainability information in any form

Element Scores

Emissions intensity
Renewable energy
GreenPower
Solar offers
Fossil fuels
Energy efficiency
Transparency

Note that these are the raw scores out of 10 for each sub‐criterion, which are then weighted to produce the element scores and final overall score (see Fact Sheet)

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve thought about the questions you might have, and tackled them in the frequently asked questions section. We hope they help! If you’ve got a question we haven’t addressed, please get in touch via the contact form.

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The Total Environment Centre and Greenpeace Australia Pacific are providing this information to assist consumers with their choices and to assist advocacy efforts to create a greener, more sustainable energy system. We do not endorse any particular retailer. Both organisations do not receive any corporate funding from energy providers.

Greenpeace does not accept money from any corporations or Governments. Retailers wishing to use this information in their advertising are advised to contact The Total Environment Centre or Greenpeace Australia Pacific before doing so.

This project was funded by Energy Consumers Australia as part of its grants process for consumer advocacy projects and research projects for the benefit of consumers of electricity and natural gas. The views expressed in this document do not necessarily reflect the views of Energy Consumers Australia.

The information on this website was current on 11 November 2015 and does not reflect any changes in company ownership, assets, offers, public policy positions, etc made after that date.