Around 90% of customers in the UK are with one of the “Big Six” energy suppliers and a third of all customers are on a standard variable tariff. This is an indefinite contract and the most expensive way possible to buy the exact same gas and electricity that everyone else is using.
To put it another way: staying loyal has no added benefits to you, the bill-payer, and your energy bills just go up and up.
Save money on electricity and gas
“Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want."
- Anna Lappe
Most people end up saving money when they switch their suppliers. According to Moneysupermarket.com customers could save up to £300 per year by switching their energy company. But most people still do not switch despite all the benefits.
Switching energy suppliers is simple
Often people are worried about the hassle of switching. But here’s the good news:as customers, we’re protected under consumer regulation. So switching is made easy and we’ll never have our power cut off for simply switching provider. The Energy Switch Guarantee (ESG), a voluntary industry commitment ensures switching is simple, speedy and safe.
Green switching has:
· No supply disruptions
· No paperwork
· No engineer visits
· No time consuming issues
· Just financial savings, better customer care and better environment
So what is a renewable electricity tariff?
Put simply, when you choose a renewable electricity tariff, your supplier ensures that the same amount of electricity you use in your home is put into the grid from renewable sources.
The more people who buy this green energy as opposed to brown electricity, the greater the demand and so the more renewable energy projects will be built to meet it. This way clean will replace dirty and gas and coal will be burnt at power plants. Which in turn means less global warming.
There really isn’t a downside. You’re making a positive choice to support clean energy production in the UK, and of course, you should also save money every year. What’s more, you’ll be part of a growing movement. Over 10 million households are considering switching to a green energy tariff in order to reduce their carbon.
Buying green electricity is a great way to support renewable energy projects in the UK and reduce your carbon footprint. An equivalent amount of green energy certificates from sources such as wind, hydro and solar power will be bought to match the exact amount of power used in your home. But a word of warning: not all green energy is equal as this handy infographic from regen explains:
(infographic by Frankie Mayo for Regen)
The carbon free option: Green Gas
Eight out of 10 homes in Britain rely on gas to fuel our boilers to heat our homes and hot water. So gas has an incredibly important role in keeping our homes warm.
Unfortunately, only 1% of gas in the network currently comes from renewable resources. The overwhelming majority comes from fossil fuel gas, called methane. Some of this comes from the North Sea, and the majority of the UK’s gas is imported from Norway, with more shipped from Qatar and supplied by other European countries. That is why insulating your home to save energy helps to reduce your carbon footprint.
But wouldn’t it be great to have sources of gas that are free from carbon and produced right here in the UK?
Encouraging new sources of renewable gas is essential. And we are moving in that direction. Already in many parts of the country, the waste food in your kitchen and from supermarkets is used to make green gas. Anaerobic digesters are able to convert waste products like food compost into biogas. This is a fantastic way to decarbonise heat.
Meanwhile scientists are working on using hydrogen (from water electrolysis) in the national gas grid, and one Bristol energy company is now turning human poo into green gas! Obviously, the raw materials to create green gas are pretty abundant, so there’s no excuse not to change our habits and move away from fossil fuels.
Low carbon energy works
Low carbon electricity sources now provide half of all electricity generated in the UK. The claims that the lights would go out and prices would increase astronomically have proved untrue. In fact, innovation and mass production have resulted in prices plummeting across all clean energy solutions.
The cost of generating power from offshore wind farms halved in just two years.Solar panels costs have fallen 80% since 2008.Electric vehicle battery costs have fallen by 70% since 2010 and the price of energy efficient lightbulbs has fallen 80% since 2010.
These extraordinary advances in technology and price reductions mean it is now cheaper to produce renewable energy than it is to burn fossil fuels in power stations. The extra benefits are cleaner air, lower energy bills, reduced carbon emissions, greater energy security, improved GDP and high quality jobs. What’s not to like?
Ready to switch?
A growing number of companies can provide greener gas and 100% renewable electricity to your home for less money, and with friendly and efficient customer service. If you’re ready to switch you can find a run-down of some of the UK’s greener options here.
Featured image: Meghan Schiereck at Unsplash