The end of the status quo?

With green energy becoming increasingly mainstream, more choice than ever before and tariffs that match or often better the traditional ‘big six’ energy companies in the UK, there are many reasons to make the switch.

According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, as of March 2018, around one third of the UK’s energy comes from renewables. But new research highlighted in The Guardian in October 2019 suggests that the UK is now crossing the 40% mark, meaning that renewable energy sources overtook fossil fuels in the UK for the first time ever during the previous quarter.

Below are our top five renewable energy providers…

What is renewable energy?

Renewable (or green) energy typically means electricity generated by sources including wind, solar, hydro, biomass and geothermal energy, as opposed to fossil fuel (e.g. coal) or nuclear powered stations. If you are with a renewable energy provider, for every kilowatt of energy you use in your home they will ensure that an equivalent amount of energy is added to the National Grid from renewable sources.

When it comes to gas, ‘green gas’ (also known as Biomethane) is renewable gas generated through the anaerobic digestion of biodegradable organic materials including manure, human sewage and food waste. According to green energy supplier Ecotricity, it may be possible to produce 97% of the gas we need in the UK from grass by 2035. Green grass into green gas!

Why make the switch to renewable energy?

According to consumer experts Which?, many green energy providers dramatically outperform their larger rivals when it comes to customer service as well as value.

According to Which?, “59% of Big Six customers rate their supplier good or excellent value for money, compared with 72% of medium firms’ customers, and 81% of customers of small companies.

While in some cases, your switching fees may be refunded by the supplier you are moving to, this won’t always be the case. It’s worth nothing that if you apply to leave your old energy provider within 49 days of the end of your contract, they are not allowed to charge you any exit fees.

Most renewable energy suppliers will also offer a quick and easy (and typically incentivised) switching service and have a great mobile app and/or website.

You may have a better chance to support a British company and home-grown renewable energy producers. You will also be supporting innovation and job creation in the country’s booming renewables sector, all of which is good news for the economy.

And, of course, it’s far better for our planet!

How much better is renewable energy?

According to Ofgem, a typical UK home with medium energy usage uses 3,100 KWh of electricity every year and 12,00 kWh of gas, resulting in the production of 3.4 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) annually. According to green energy supplier Bulb, switching to renewable energy and the environmental saving it provides is “similar to planting 1,770 trees!”

Opting for green energy is generally described as one of the ‘high impact’ changes we can all make, alongside the likes of flying or driving far less. The potential to make a difference is huge.

Our top 5 renewable energy suppliers

  1. Bulb
    The switch takes under a minute online and it’s simple and straightforward. There is a single and easy to understand tariff and an easy to use website allows you to check on your bills or get in touch. Unlike some suppliers, Bulb will refund any switching fees your existing provider charges and also give you a £50 welcome credit (via this link). Rated 5* by Which? for customer service and value for money and ranked above all of the traditional ‘big six’ providers. It is because of the latter factor and due to the fact that Bulb both refunds switching fees and provides a joining credit that they come out on top. Read our interview with the founders of Bulb.
  2. Octopus Energy
    Again, it’s quick and easy to switch online . Octopus Energy has received an impressive string of 5* ratings from Which? and is currently their top rated energy provider. There are a few options when it comes to tariffs so a little more thinking to be done and Octopus Energy won’t refund any switching fees incurred. The website is easy to use and with this link you will enjoy a £50 credit upon joining. Through a series of deals, the company has picked up the customers of other providers, including M&S Energy, Gen4U and Co-operative Energy in the past year.
     
  3. Ecotricity
    The first company to offer ‘green electricity’ made from renewable sources, Ecotricty completes Which?’s top 10 list and is rated 5* for customer service. The company claims to offer ‘vegan energy’, meaning that “no animals or animal by-products are involved in the production of its electricity and gas.” Ecotricity doesn’t offer a joining incentive or refund any switching fees your existing supplier my charge but it does have a range of tarrifs. As you’d expect, switching is simple and quick and the mobile app and website are easy to use.
  4. Tonik
    Switching to Tonik is also quick and easy and the mobile app and website are user friendly. They offer a range of tariffs but don’t provide a joining incentive or refund any switching fees you may incur. Which? awards Tonik top ratings for customer service and value for money.
  5. So Energy
    A fairly new green energy provider, So Energy is placed joint second by Which? and is top rated for value for money. The company only attracts a 4* rating for customer service so this coupled with its relatively unproven newness sees So Energy making up our top five. Switching is quick and easy and the mobile app and website are pretty good but no joining incentive or refunded switching fees are offered.

You can find us on Facebook by searching for Plastic Free Home or at http://www.facebook.com/plasticfreehomeuk.

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