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Discussion > ASA policy is to let Green orgs/biz get away with false claims, it seems

The Advertising Standards Organisation has bold radio adverts about how it clamps down on false claims
"even on your own website, even on social media"
Yet even when they called Greenpeace out for Tube adverts saying wind is cheaper
all they got was a promise from GP that they wouldn't do it again
.. The same video still stands on their Facebook page and Twitter

Mar 26, 2018 at 12:17 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Likewise @Tomo is monitoring Ovo Energy's big advertising campaign "Renewable is Unstoppable"
and have the end tagline "100% Renewable Electricity"
... when this can only be an aspiration, cos Ovo customers get the same leccy as everyone else
And at times that means 100% NON-Renewable (cos solar/wind is off and biomass is not fully covering the gap, fossi fuels like gas/coal are)

They go for full page newspaper ads mocking Trump
The old ad had Trump suspended from a turbine blade gif graphic

Kleinefeldmaus points out it's the SUBSIDY COSTS that are Unstoppable
There are no unicorns to pay them so ultimately granny pays that subsidy cost of more solar/wind

Mar 26, 2018 at 12:28 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

This Saturday it was Trump on fire (ah burning in a Giant Sun )

On Twitter I see they have Trump with a golf club trying to smash a solar panel
This time there is both a graphic ..and a video with an actor playing Trump
I guess Ovo technique is them "playing the victim"

Mar 26, 2018 at 12:35 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Ovo also have a ProjectFear video ad , that mocks skeptics

Mar 26, 2018 at 12:37 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Mar 26, 2018 at 12:17 PM | stewgreen
There was only one Monopolies and Mergers Commission.
It got replaced.

Does the ASA lack the will, or ability to enforce through legal action, with appropriate fines, or custodial sentences for repeat offenders?

Mar 26, 2018 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I was tempted a while back to swap to OVO as they are able (?) to charge lower rates since they are *not* subjected to the same Green levies as the big boys.

I found their posturing insufferable so I pay the big boys.

The hiding of the green levies is unacceptable - since it isn't as I understand it a tax in law....- there is no legal obligation to pay ? The goons at Treasury / BEIS have threatened the big boys about exposing the scale of the subsidy snaffling - but in truth what can they do to them?

OVO are bad enough - Good Energy leave me simply fuming :-) ..... and browsing pitchfork catalogs.

It would be useful to map out how the Green levies are applied and use it to pester MPs....

As for 100% renewable - I'd like to compel OVO / Good Energy etc. to expose how well their 100% pious power scheme actually works - the onice should be on them to actually demonstrate their piousness - not to simply proclaim it.

Mar 26, 2018 at 1:34 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Can OVO, Good Energy, Ecotricity et al quantify the percentage of fossil fuelled energy that they use, or do they shut down their offices and other operations when the wind is not blowing on a cloudy day or nightime?

Mar 26, 2018 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

ASA lack power, even if they do understand it.

Mar 26, 2018 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


Overall the ASA is mostly a farce - I had a couple of dealings with them a few years back when the fat useless twat Baron Smiffy of Finchley was head trougher there as well as at The Environment Agency.

Although they have ruled on some stuff I appreciate - if they have actual teeth ... they apparently are loath to actually sink them into dishonest advertising gits. One gets the feeling it's all a bit cozy with the ad-men - lunches at The Ivy etc., etc.

Mar 26, 2018 at 6:02 PM | Registered Commentertomo

tomo, I think you meant FINSBURY, not Finchley,_Baron_Smith_of_Finsbury

"He is currently listed as the Chairman of the Task Force on Shale Gas."
I never knew there was a Task Force on Shale Gas

Mar 26, 2018 at 10:42 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@HarryPassfield wrote
For anyone who remembers me reporting OVO to the ASA a few weeks back
- when they ran full-page ads in the DT etc to claim that their customers could now be using 100% renewable energy
(with the small print claiming that was through renewable certificates,
not by actually only getting renewable energy delivered).

Well, the ASA has kindly replied by rejecting my complaint, which they even reinterpreted to make it seem I was complaining that users would not know they had received renewable certificates
(I complained that it was impossible to take delivery of solely renewable energy), thus:

“Your complaint
I understand that you consider the claim for “Renewable is Unstoppable, Switch to 100% renewable electricity” to be misleading, because electricity is supplied through the national grid which uses a variety of fuels to generate electricity
.... and consumers will not be able to confirm they have been given renewable certificates for their energy.
(That was not HP's complaint, maybe they are doing a generic answer to multiple complaints)

We have looked into your complaint carefully and considered all the issues raised. On this occasion, our decision is that we will not be taking further action at this time.

Our rules
Advertising is considered to be misleading if it causes, or is likely to cause a consumer to make a decision they would not have otherwise taken. *

Our decision
The ASA has established a position that this claim is acceptable provided it is not used in a manner that implies direct supply to the consumer.
(they only cover that in the small print)
You can read more about our position on such claims here.
The ad makes no claims that renewable electricity is supplied direct to a consumer’s house.
We consider that consumers are likely to understand that electricity tends to come into their homes through connection with the national grid and that the advertiser supplies electricity to consumers through the same national grid but matches all of the electricity used by their customers over a year with the same amount of electricity from renewable sources.
(Em we engineers DO understand that matching, but I'd wager quite a lot of the public think their own electrons used come DIRECT from renewables )
We also note the footnote to the page which states that OVO will match electricity consumption with renewable certificates and understand that a renewable energy supplier must legally provide enough energy to the grid to satisfy the demand from their customers. **
We therefore consider that consumers are unlikely to interpret the ad as suggesting direct supply and, the claims surrounding renewable energy are likely to be justifiable and unlikely to materially mislead.
For these reasons, we will not be taking any further action on this occasion.”

@Stew says @HP I think they have a point if the ad does include small print
** #1 All the Twitter ads and all the Times/Mail adverts I recall had no small print

#2 It's not really fair to make such a big context correction only in the small print

* #3 Many people are expecting 100% renewable electricity, NOT that their leccy comes from a COAL power station down the road
If they read the small print they know Ovo have certificates to cover substitution
ie Most people don't live near a wind/solar plant so most of their physical electrons originate from gas/coal/nuclear/import/ and in a few locations biomass
Furthermore during a windless nights there might close to zero solar/wind on the entire grid
So Ovo are saying you are covered by general certs saying somewhere on the grid eg Drax biomass is being generated on your behalf,.

Mar 28, 2018 at 10:57 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@HP said FWIW I have replied to the ASA thus:

Thank you for your response to my complaint to the ASA.
I’m sorry to see that it has been rejected.
But as I see you have re-defined my complaint to say that I considered consumers ‘will not be able to confirm they have been given renewable certificates for their energy’, I am not surprised.
That was not the nub of my complaint.
My original complaint was that OVO were promising users 100% renewable energy.
That is a misleading statement and one that is incorrect as a matter of fact.
They have used the get-out that they do this by purchasing RCs on behalf of their consumers so that they, and not the consumer, can account for renewable energy.
Meanwhile, their consumers do not get to use 100% renewable energy.
That is the grossly misleading point I was trying to make.

I urge you to take the full-page advertising by OVO at its face value and see if it really does fit the ASA guidelines.
In my opinion, it is not ‘honest and truthful’.

Mar 28, 2018 at 11:11 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

It's NOT exactly like saying "Stew's SUGAR FREE chocolate"
and then in small print saying "Your chocolate does contain sugar, but we've obtained non-sugar certificates from a fat kid in another city, whose agreed to reduce his sugar intake as a substitute"

It's more like saying "Stew's GUARANTEED weightloss programme"
..and then saying in the small print "You might NOT actually lose weight, but you know that, we mean on average the whole group will lose weight"

Mar 28, 2018 at 11:15 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen
Mar 29, 2018 at 9:56 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


I get splenetic at the thought of Chris Smith being paid £150k a year (for much less than a regular working week iirc) to be an ignorant pompous arse at the EA and then another fat fee for his ASA "work" - again iirc one of his things at the ASA was to "discuss things over lunch"....

Mar 29, 2018 at 10:04 PM | Registered Commentertomo

tomo, it is important to note that Chris Smith has made a great success out of doing nothing useful, apart from dining out on stories gained from dining out. This is now proving very lucrative, without him gaining weight.

Blair appointed him Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 2 May 1997 – 8 June 2001, which ties in with the BBC's downward shift. No one can remember what he did for Sport.

Mar 30, 2018 at 1:17 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Well done for trying, Stewgreen.
But as with so much in these areas, there are probable truths, and then there are assumed truths that fit the current political narrative.

As far as I can tell, disproving environmentalist claims/lies has been on the back foot for most of my life. You simply need a higher standard of proof than your opponents. Fair? No. But Ii guess that is always the way with people who want things to be better than that which the current dogma subscribes to.

Mar 31, 2018 at 7:03 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Re : Mar 28, 2018 at 10:57 PM Ovo's small print
I double checked about the small print, which I swore the Times full page ads didn’t have.
Actually it is there in tiny WHITE letters on a LIGHT-BLUE background
that breaks fairness rules surely.
tweeted a screenshot
- Likewise the small print also appears on the TV ad, but for so little time, you can’t read it

Apr 2, 2018 at 12:39 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Many believe that Elon Musk has already solved the renewable problem of intermittency. They've been April Fooled bigtime, and still the government money flows like Willie Wonka's chocolate river.

Oompah Loompahs know better, and power density, too, looms like Grandpa Joe's energy poverty.

Apr 2, 2018 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Apr 2, 2018 at 3:40 PM | kim
The Oompah Loompahs have yet to find the source of the Treacle River, so for the time being, the secret is safe

Apr 2, 2018 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Apr 2, 2018 at 12:39 AM | stewgreen


sort of.

Apr 2, 2018 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"It increasingly appears that insisting on 100 percent renewable sources—and disdaining others that don’t produce greenhouse gases, such as nuclear power and fossil-fuel plants with carbon-capture technology—is wastefully expensive and needlessly difficult.

In the latest piece of evidence, a study published Energy & Environmental Science determined that solar and wind energy alone could reliably meet about 80 percent of recent US annual electricity demand, but massive investments in energy storage and transmission would be needed to avoid major blackouts. Pushing to meet 100 percent of demand with these resources would require building a huge number of additional wind and solar farms—or expanding electricity storage to an extent that would be prohibitively expensive at current prices. Or some of both"

Apr 2, 2018 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Well are OVO 100% or not?
Cos Ovo's home page shows a normal price of 33% renewable and a higher price of 100%
which is strange cos as I said ALL electric corps are required to buy Renewable Obligation RO certs upto value of 47% this year

Apr 8, 2018 at 8:07 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Mhehed Zherting had a tweet discussion with the sales dept about how expensive they are
And their renewable claims.

Apr 8, 2018 at 8:10 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Apple turnedover

Nonsense, Pish And Tosh – Apple Claims To Run On 100% Renewable Energy

"Apple is claiming something which isn’t true, that the company now runs on 100% renewable energy. It’s not just not true, it’s nonsense, pish and or, to taste, tosh. No one at all has worked out how to run a 24/7 energy system purely upon renewables. At least, not one that delivers reasonable amounts of power as and when desired. The claim that anyone has is thus a serious misstatement of the truth. It also underplays the difficulties we’ve got in getting the economy to a non-emitting energy system. Assuming, of course, that we even want to do that."

Is it possible to calculate the amount of unreliable renewables that are claimed to be being used, at times when almost nothing is being produced?

Are more Unreliable electrons being "sold" than can exist?

Apr 10, 2018 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie