Fitness model, blogger and social media consultant Flora Beverley shares her experience switching to a green energy provider and examines the different options available in the UK.
There are lots of ways we can limit our impact on the environment at home, from reducing our meat consumption, to dressing more ethically and even moving our money to an ethical bank. And now as the temperatures start to drop and many of us start thinking about turning our heating on, it’s also the perfect time to consider changing your energy provider in order to live a little greener – while potentially saving some money on your tariff at the same time.
Traditional energy suppliers rely primarily on non-renewable resources, such as oil, coal and gas, which are major contributors to climate change through the release of CO2. By switching to a renewable energy that is generated by natural sources such as solar, water and wind, you can help to fight harmful levels of air pollution. And it seems that more and more households are making this switch – just last week it was announced that the amount of renewable electricity used by UK households had overtaken fossil fuels for the first time, with British coal plants shutting down ahead of the 2025 ban.
But when it comes to actually changing energy provider, as I decided to do earlier this year, the whole process can be a bit of a minefield. For me, changing energy company appeared complicated, not least because of the myriad of tariffs and providers available (known to confuse the consumer into paying more than they have to), and the fact that some providers don’t provide to certain locations.
After doing some research I ended up switching to an eco-friendly provider and it took me two minutes via a short online form. I’m yet to see if it gets more complicated down the line, but right now I’m extremely satisfied (and feeling slightly smug), considering my previous switch took hours of phone conversations.
To make it easier for you to switch to a more eco-friendly energy company, I’ve compiled some of the most popular on the market. All of these companies supply 100% renewable electricity, so you can rest assured that whichever you choose, you’ll be doing plenty of good!
Green Network Energy
Green Network Energy was started in 2003 to offer energy such as wind, biogas and solar at an affordable rate. They now invest in renewable technology such as a photovoltaic car park and a biomass plant that produces energy from vegetable materials. An Eco-Age partner for the Green Carpet Fashion Awards, Green Network Energy offers dedicated 100% renewable energy tariffs in Europe, making them a great choice for households that are trying to cut their carbon consumption.
Best for: Renewable energy investment and family tariffs.
Bulb energy was one of the most popular energy providers with my followers when I was doing research for this piece. It’s a fast-growing company that promises to make energy ‘simpler, cheaper and greener’. It rates higher than any of the Big 6 energy companies in terms of customer satisfaction, and 95% of customers have joined in the last two years, showing its increasing popularity. It’s also a B Corp.
Best for: All round customer satisfaction, and you get a referral credit for referring friends and family.
The only company that fared better than Bulb on customer complaints was Octopus. This innovative company invests in sustainable tech, including tariffs that allow customers to run their homes off their electric car’s power during peak energy times, removing some pressure off the national grid. Unlike Bulb, Octopus offers a variety of tariffs, which are some of the cheapest in the UK.
Best for: Innovation and cheap tariffs.
OVO Energy has recently published its first sustainability strategy, including plans to reach net-zero carbon operations by 2030 (20 years ahead of the government deadline). This, partnered with the ambition to halve customers’ total carbon footprint by 2030, make it an appealing option for anyone interested in the environment.
OVO currently has 1.5 million consumers across the UK and is looking to expand (in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C trajectory, of course).
Best for: Making a political statement
Good energy was the first dedicated 100% renewable electricity supplier in the UK, with all of its energy being sourced from solar, wind, hydro power and biofuel from British energy generators. Reviews online appear to be middling, although still better than the big six energy providers. All the above companies provide renewable electricity, but Good Energy was the first to also supply carbon neutral gas.
Best for: Clean gas and ethics
It is important to remember that whenever you switch to green energy, a certain amount of energy from the grid is still used to fill gaps in the supply of renewable energy. However, a proportion of what you pay will be matched by the equivalent amount of energy being fed into the national grid from renewable sources, with the result being a much cleaner way to get energy.
Hopefully this shortlist will help you find a way to lower your environmental impact, and hopefully your bills too!
Find out how to go green at home.
Read more about green energy and why to switch.
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