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Green-e Energy Marketing Compliance Review (Fall 2015)

Green-e Energy Marketing Compliance Review (Fall 2015)

Green-e Energy hosted a training webinar to go over the who, what, when, and where of Fall 2015 Marketing Compliance Review (MCR), which is a Green-e Energy program requirement for certified products sold to residential customers. This is an opportunity to brush up on the program’s marketing requirements, learn about the new version of the Code of Conduct, and to ask questions.
Reviewing this information is highly recommended for all Green-e Energy participants.

Transcript

  1. Marketing Compliance Review Training Webinar August 11, 2015 Sarah Busch,

    Green-e Program Associate Robin Quarrier, Chief Counsel __________________________________________________________________
  2. WEBINAR OUTLINE 1. MCR Process 2. New Version of the

    Code of Conduct 3. Hot Issues 4. Q&A
  3. THE MCR PROCESS Who submits…........Participants selling to residential customers *New

    Pilot MCR for Non-Residential Products What to submit.......all materials relating to the certified product *See Checklist When to submit……………………………………….by Monday, August 31 *Send submission to energy@green-e.org
  4. PILOT MCR FOR NON-RESIDENTIAL PRODUCTS A voluntary MCR for Multiple-Mix

    and Single-Mix Products sold to commercial customers. • Requests limited materials (PCLs and sales agreements) • Early compliance with the new version of the Code of Conduct • All products required to submit for MCR next year
  5. THE MCR PROCESS By August 1st August 31st Early Fall

    Mid Fall 1 Month Later Request for Materials MCR Materials Due 1st Staff Review Follow Up Forms Sent to Participants Completed Changes Due for Residential Products* 2nd Staff Review *Ask questions and complete all requested changes before the deadline.
  6. THE MCR PROCESS MCR Instructions: http://www.green-e.org/getcert_re_veri.shtml#mcr

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  10. New Version of the Code of Conduct Released July 24,

    2015 • All products must be in full compliance with the new version starting July 24, 2016. • Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 MCR, staff will offer Participants feedback according to both versions of the Code of Conduct.
  11. New Version of the Code of Conduct Highlights • New

    document organization • Calendar of Green-e deadlines • Use of Product Content Label template is required • Price Terms & Conditions template removed/not required • Utilities are no longer required to sent Historic PCL to customers that did not purchase the certified product (now only purchasers must receive HPCL) • New rules for social media marketing and utility marketing companies or partners • Updated Logo Language • Updated REC language (short and long) and new disclosure requirements
  12. New Version of the Code of Conduct New Version of

    the Code of Conduct http://www.green-e.org/getcert_re_stan.shtml#coc Upcoming Webinar: Recent Updates to the Code of Conduct September 2, 2015 Register on the CRS Events webpage, or https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8376611012582283265
  13. Hot Issues • Enrollment • Welcome Packet • Subscription Mechanism

    Requirements • Prospective & Historic Product Content Label • Verification Issues • Price Terms & Conditions • Call center requirements • Green-e Energy certified logo use • General marketing requirements
  14. ENROLLMENT Green-e Energy has requirements for every enrollment channel. •

    online • over-the-phone • in-person/door-to-door (warm and cold marketing) • material with subscription mechanism • electronic media
  15. ENROLLMENT Website Direct Mailer Door-to-Door Over-the- phone At enrollment NEW:

    Fully visible subscription mechanism requirements. Hyperlinks to PPCL and PTC. Subscription mechanism requirements Subscription mechanism requirements NEW: Call center language Within 60 days of enrollment Welcome Packet (PPCL + PTC) Welcome Packet (PPCL + PTC) Welcome Packet (PPCL + PTC) Welcome Packet (PPCL + PTC) Annually by August 1 (previously June 30) Historic PCL Historic PCL Historic PCL Historic PCL Automatic renewals: Deliver the updated Prospective PCL to customers by March 1.
  16. WELCOME PACKET Welcome packet must be delivered to customers within

    60 days of enrollment. 2015 Prospective Product Content Label Price, Terms & Conditions _____________________________ ___________________________________ ____________ ________________________________ _____________ _____________ _____________ ____________ __ _______________ __ ___________ _______________ ___________ ______________________ ___________ ______________________ ___________ ______________________ ___________ ______________________ ___________ ______________________ ___________ ______________________ ___________ ______________________ D D d Nice. Green-e Energy Certified New2 Renewables in [PRODUCT NAME] Generation Location Wind 50% TX Hydro 50% NY
  17. SUBSCRIPTION MECHANISM REQUIREMENTS Common Issues - Product mix (resource type

    and generation location) do not match Prospective PCL. - Company name unclear, changes or is missing. - Relationship to customer's default utility unclear. Requirements: 1. Resource mix 2. Geographic location 3. Price of certified product, month-to-month rate, other fees 4. Contact length 5. Fee for early termination (if applicable) 6. “Green-e Energy certified” Logo, with www.green-e.org or Green-e Energy logo language 7. For REC products: Short REC Disclosure Language
  18. PROSPECTIVE PRODUCT CONTENT LABEL Purpose: Shows customers the product offered

    (including resource type). Sample requirements: • Prospective Product Mix (resource type, proportion, and location) • Enrollment level options or selection (selection must be disclosed in PPCL or welcome packet) • For REC products: Short REC disclosure language with hyperlink to online Long REC disclosure language • Comparative mix • New Date Footnote New: Prospective PCL template required. Specific title required.: “[Year] Prospective Product Content Label” Prospective PCL must be updated annually by March 1. Common Issues - REC products: Omitting REC disclosure. - Electricity products: Listing states outside of the product’s region. Or, listing a region instead of specific states. - Use of “and” instead of “or.”
  19. Format cannot change.

  20. Short REC Disclosure Language “[Product Name] is a Renewable Energy

    Certificate (REC) product and does not contain electricity, which may be billed separately or by a separate company. A REC represents the environmental benefits of 1 megawatt hour (MWh) of renewable energy that can be paired with electricity. For more information, see [hyperlink to Participant webpage containing long REC disclosure language].” • Fully visible on Prospective Product Content Label • Fully visible on Historic Product Content Label • Fully visible on Price Terms & Conditions • Fully visible on all marketing materials with a subscription mechanism • Fully visible prior to online purchase • NEW: Links to online Long REC Disclosure Language REC PRODUCTS
  21. Long REC Disclosure Language “Your purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates

    (RECs) supports renewable electricity production in the region of generation. For every unit of renewable electricity generated, an equivalent amount of RECs is produced, and by purchasing and pairing RECs with your electricity service you are using and receiving the benefits of that renewable electricity. You will continue to receive a separate electricity bill from your utility for electricity service [if applicable]. Your REC purchase also helps build a market for renewable electricity. Increased demand for and generation of renewable electricity helps reduce conventional electricity generation in the region where the renewable electricity generator is located. It also has other local and global environmental benefits which may include emitting little or no regional air pollution or carbon dioxide. The RECs in [Product Name] are verified and certified by Green-e Energy, and [Company Name] is required to disclose the quantity, type and geographic source of each certificate. Please see the Product Content Label for this information. Green-e Energy also verifies that the renewable certificates are not sold more than once or claimed by more than one party. For information on Green-e Energy please visit its website, www.green-e.org.” NEW: Long REC language fully displayed on website, or a link on Participant website with a sentence such as the following: “For more information about Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), see: [hyperlink to Participant webpage containing long REC disclosure language].” REC PRODUCTS
  22. “For comparison, the current average mix of resources supplying [region

    or your electric utility] includes: Coal (x%), Nuclear (x%), Oil (x%), Natural Gas (x%), Hydroelectric (x%), and Other (x%).” - Utility Green Pricing Programs must disclose the resource mix that the customer would have otherwise received. - Use the most recently available data, and cite the year. - RECs reported in alternative mix must be retired. COMPARATIVE ELECTRICITY MIX
  23. HISTORIC PRODUCT CONTENT LABEL Purpose: Shows customers the actual proportion

    and location of resources that were delivered to (retired for) the customer. Sample requirements: • Resource type and proportion of the actual supply procured • Generation location (by state) of the actual supply procured • Sent electronically or by mail New: Historic PCL template required. (Specific title required.) Delivered to all customers that purchased the product in the previous year. Starting 2016, Historic PCL must be delivered by August 1. Upfront Historic PCL (one-time sales only). Common Issues - Historic product mix does not align with prospective product mix (verification issue). - Customers informed of the incorrect product mix. - REC products do not list specific states.
  24. VERIFICATION ISSUES & PCLs Green-e Energy program requirement: Supply must

    match marketing disclosures (sales) to ensure that the customer receives the product promised at enrollment. Common Issues • Mid-year changes to product mix impact the annual Green-e Energy Verification Audit. • Prospective PCL cannot advertise a more specific mix than the Historic PCL. • Prospective PCL cannot list resource type not included on the Historic PCL, and vice versa. • Can result in situations where a second Historic PCL must be sent to customers, a refund if offered, or replacement supply must be procured.
  25. 2014 Prospective/REC Product Wind 100% National 2014 Historic/REC Product Hydro

    50% New York Wind 50% Texas VERIFICATION ISSUES & PCLs Verification issue; a new resource type is added and proportions have varied beyond 4 percentage points.
  26. 2014 Prospective/REC Product Wind 100% Texas, Iowa, and Kansas 2014

    Historic/REC Product Wind 100% Texas Use of “and” promises to the customer that they will receive supply from all states listed on the Prospective PCL. Now there is a discrepancy because the customer is not delivered the product mix advertised in the Prospective PCL. VERIFICATION ISSUES & PCLs
  27. 2014 Prospective/REC Product Wind 100% Texas, Iowa, or Kansas 2014

    Historic/REC Product Wind 100% Texas When “or” is included in the Prospective PCL, the customer is given the impression that the product may be generated in any of the states listed. Now there is no issue with the Historic PCL because the customer is provided with a product generated within the location of states advertised in the Prospective PCL. VERIFICATION ISSUES & PCLs 2014 Prospective/REC Product Wind 100% Texas, Iowa, Kansas Use of commas only implies “or.” Green-e strongly recommends use of “or.”
  28. VERIFICATION ISSUES & PCLs 2014 Prospective/PJM Electricity Product Hydro 50%

    Pennsylvania, Virginia, or New Jersey Wind 50% Pennsylvania, or Ohio 2014 Historic/PJM Electricity Product Hydro 50% Virginia, New Jersey Wind 50% Pennsylvania Note: Changes in product mix impact your product’s annual Verification Audit and certification.
  29. VERIFICATION ISSUES & PCLs 2014 Prospective/PJM Electricity Product Hydro 50%

    Pennsylvania Virginia New Jersey Wind 50% Pennsylvania Ohio 2014 Historic/PJM Electricity Product Hydro 52% Virginia, New Jersey Wind 48% Pennsylvania NEW: Clarification in the Code of Conduct on substantial differences in supply Green-e Energy Code of Conduct, Section III.E A Green-e Energy Certified Product Mix Change worksheet is required for the following situations: 1. Proportion of renewable resources changes by greater than 4 percentage points 2. A change in geographic location of generation 3. A resource type is removed from or added to the supply Green-e Governance Board approval is required for changes greater than 10 percentage points.
  30. PRICE, TERMS & CONDITIONS Purpose: Clearly describes the customer’s responsibilities

    when purchasing the certified product. Sample requirements: • Cost of product, other fees • Rate structure (variable or fixed) • Contract length • How the customer will be billed • Fee for early termination • How to contact the company New: PTC template not required. Although, requirements must be disclosed clearly. Common Issues - REC products: Unclear to the customer that the certified product does not contain electricity. - Rate structure, contract length, or automatic renewal unclear.
  31. GREEN-E LOGO USE • Meet the color guidelines and other

    requirements of the Green-e Logo Use Guidelines. • On websites, should be a direct link to www.green-e.org. • Placement on a white background. • Use the “Green-e Energy certified” logo on PCL, PTC and, and only in association with the certified product. Place with green-e.org or Logo Language. • When marketing to end-use customers, do not refer to products as Green-e “certifiable” or “eligible”
  32. GREEN-E LOGO LANGUAGE [Product Name] is Green-e Energy certified, and

    meets environmental and consumer-protection standards set forth by the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions. Learn more at www.green-e.org. Requirement: Language must be present on the Historic PCL, Prospective PCL, Price, Terms and Conditions, and the Participant’s Web site.
  33. CALL CENTER ENROLLMENT NEW: Language for enrollment over-the-phone. Call centers

    much be able to provide all subscription mechanism requirements, and the following: For certified competitive electricity and green pricing electricity products: “We [or, Company Name] offer [Product Name]. It is made up of electricity generated from [list all resource type(s) found on Prospective Product Content Label] [power / energy] located in [insert names of states or region listed on Prospective Product Content Label]. Would you like to know more about [Product Name]?” For certified REC products: “We [or, Company Name] offer [Product Name]. It is made up of [list all resource type(s) found on Prospective Content Label] renewable energy certificates generated [“in the lower 48 US States,” or as specific as the names of the states listed on the Prospective Product Content Label]. [Product Name] does not contain electricity, which may be billed separately or by a separate company. Renewable electricity generation and use are tracked through RECs, and so by matching RECs with your electricity service you are using renewable electricity. Would you like to know more about [Product Name]?”
  34. Best Practices: CALL CENTERS • Provide customer service representatives with

    a cheat sheet about the certified product. • For REC products, clarify that changes on the bill will be in addition to charges for electricity service. • “Green-e Energy is a third-party certification program for the [product name] [product type] product.” • Point customers to resources such as Green-e.org if they seek more information about renewable energy, or the certification program. • The facilities that generate the product (renewable energy or product) became commercially operational in the last 15 years.
  35. CONTROL OVER MARKETING MATERIALS • Who is selling the customer

    this Green-e Energy Certified product? • Partner websites (may recommend products, however cannot sell a certified product if not a Participant in the program) • Green-e Logo may only be used in association with the certified product, and on materials created by the Participant.
  36. MATERIALS WITHOUT SUBSCRIPTION MECHANISMS • Marketing claims should align with

    the FTC Green Guides. • Use of “local” or “regional” requires disclosure of state in the Prospective PCL. • Broad statements about being the “first” renewable energy company/REC seller in X or to provide X must be accurate and backed up.
  37. Q&A

  38. UPCOMING WEBINARS Register for all webinars at CRS Events, www.resource-solutions.org/events

    Recent Updates to the Green-e Energy Code of Conduct September 2, 11AM PT/2PM ET Preventing Double Claims: Best Practices in Renewable Energy Marketing, Part 1 (for Green-e Participants) September 23, 11AM PT/2PM ET Preventing Double Claims: Best Practices in Renewable Energy Marketing, Part 2 (for Generators and project developers) September 30, 11AM PT/2PM ET Renewable Energy Markets Conference October 18-20, Washington DC www.renewablenergymarket.com
  39. 5 TAKEAWAYS 1. MCR submissions due August 31, 2015 for

    all products sold to residential customers 2. Submit all materials related to the certified product 3. Voluntary Pilot MCR for non-residential products 4. New version of the Code of Conduct available – all products must be in compliance starting July 24, 2016. 5. Throughout the year, your Green-e Energy Regional Representatives are available to review marketing materials.
  40. FOR MORE INFORMATION MCR Instructions and Checklist: http://www.green- e.org/getcert_re_veri.shtml#mcr Map

    of Green-e Energy Regional Representatives: http://www.green- e.org/images/Green-e-Reps-Map.png Robin Quarrier Chief Counsel Robin.quarrier@resource-solutions.org Sarah Busch Green-e Program Associate Sarah.busch@resource-solutions.org