Switching to a green energy supplier is a great step you can take to tackle climate change, and it could benefit your budget too. It really couldn’t be simpler and with new advances in green energy innovation, there are plenty of providers to choose from. Here’s how.
1. Find a green energy supplier
There’s nothing to lose and a lot to gain by looking around at what deals are on the market. There are also many switching sites on the web that will compare how much money you could save. But if you’re using a price comparison site, make sure you filter your results if you want to go green, as well as saving money. Some sources suggest this could be £150 per year while moneysupermarket.com suggests it could be as much as £300.
Changing energy supplier could save you up to £300 a year
We strongly advise you to shop around and find the best fit for you. But here are some companies you might like to look into if you’re planning on switching to green.
As "the UK's biggest green supplier", Bulb supplies 100% green electricity from solar, wind and hydro. They also supply 100% carbon neutral gas - 10% of which is produced from renewable sources such as food and farm waste and 90% of which is offset by carbon reduction projects.
Co-op Energy (now owned by Octopus Energy) offers 100% green electricity and 25% green gas - “one of the highest green gas percentages in the UK at 25%”. Co-op energy also boasts being the “UK’s only tariff powered by 100% community-generated electricity”. Check out their Community Tariff to find out more.
Ecotricity’s claim to fame is that they’re “Britain’s greenest energy company” - but not just because they offer 100% green electricity and frack-free gas. Ecotricity is the only UK energy supplier approved by the Vegan Society and their business model means they turn “bills into mills” - using their profits to create more green energy for the grid. They also boast a simple one-price tariff.
Good Energy offers 100% renewable electricity. They also offer carbon neutral gas: 6% comes from biogas (biomethane) and the rest is offset against verified carbon reduction schemes in Nepal, Malawi and Vietnam.
Green Energy UK offers 100% renewable electricity and 100% green gas made from animal slurry. They have a customer promise which you can download and have signed up to the Which? guide "No selling, just installing" promise, which means their smart meter installers are not on sales-related commission and will not upsell during an installation.
Octopus offers 100% renewable energy and claims competitive prices. They also offer the option to offset your gas although at present it’s not green gas. Octopus Investments, which funds the company, is Britain’s biggest investor in solar power and Octopus Electric Vehicles supplies both electric cars and chargers.
A word of warning...
Some suppliers bill themselves as green energy providers, but they don't actually sell green electricity. Instead, the electricity they sell is backed by renewables certificates, known as REGOs (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin), and not bought directly from wind or solar farms. So while these suppliers - some of which include Ovo Energy and Pure Planet - are technically 'greener' than the usual Big Six, they're not the preferred green choice.
It's worth getting your head around how green energy really works, and making sure the supplier you choose is really doing everything they seem to be for our environment. Here's a handy infographic to explain energy tariffs: green, brown and something in between.
(infographic by Frankie Mayo for Regen)
2. Switching energy supplier in 5 easy steps
So much for the "who"; now here's the "how". Once you know who you want to switch to:
- Dig out your energy bills for gas and electric to identify your tariff and consumption.
- Call your new preferred supplier, who will take a note of your personal details (postcode, payment method), information from your bill or statement and meter readings.
- They will then contact your old supplier and manage the whole process so you don’t have to.
- Take the "final" readings for your gas (m3) and electric (kWh) consumption along with the the meter numbers for both.
- Your old supplier will calculate your final bill with them. This whole process may take a few weeks, but once you pay this bill, you're no longer involved with the old supplier. So you can cancel any old direct debits and simply enjoy cheaper, and hopefully greener electricity and gas from your new supplier.
That’s it. That’s all it takes to have a potential £300 extra in your pocket a year. You can save money and support clean energy, and you’ll hardly notice it happening.
Want to generate your own power directly? Find out more about going solar powered.
Featured image: Zbynek Burival, Unsplash
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