Switching energy suppliers is starting to return after a two-year hiatus due to a lack of competition and sky-high bills across the board.
The average household energy bill should fall by around £150 from this month (from £2,074 a year to £1,923 a year), and fixed deals are slowly coming onto the market again.
This means the option to go greener with your energy is also back on the cards.
Bear in mind that in the current state of the market, going greener on energy is unlikely to mean cheaper. But, if you’re keen to green your home and help create a cleaner and more sustainable energy system in the UK, there are trusted suppliers worth considering.
Here are our top five.
Ecotricity guarantees electricity that is certified green (made from solar, hydro and wind power) and also certified vegan – this means that none of its biomass contains animal products. Its gas is a mix of carbon-neutralised natural gas and a smaller amount of sustainable green gas, made using biomethane from grass cuttings.
The company, an Ethical Consumer ‘Best Buy’ for green energy, continues to push the clean energy envelope by investing its profits into building new forms of green energy. It has no shareholders so reinvests the money from your bills rather than paying it out as dividends. Ecotricity has a growing network of sun and wind mills and is in the process of building green gas mills across the UK. It guarantees that its energy will not be greenwashed.
In July 2023, Ecotricity became the first energy company to call for a halt on deep sea mining.
Ecotricity won’t claim to be your cheapest option, but it does aim to be the greenest, saying: “We set our prices at a level that allows us to do our job of building new sources of green energy – as we seek to end the use of fossil fuels in the energy sector.”
The website has a Carbon Footprint Calculator, helping its customers to assess their impact on the planet and improve it by making small changes to their lifestyle.
Ecotricity will soon be inviting its customers to join a ‘smart grid’ scheme, which it says could both save you money and ensure that more renewable energy is being used across the whole grid.
100Green (formerly Green Energy UK/GEUK) was one of the UK’s very first green electricity providers when it entered the market in 2001 and it has made great green strides since then. It is currently the only UK provider to supply both 100 per cent renewable electricity and 100 per cent green gas to all its customers – hence the name.
100Green generates electricity from solar, wind and hydro power while its gas is generated through Anaerobic Digestion from farm, food and landfill waste. Every kWh of green gas is certified as green and can be traced back to where it was generated.
The company says it is as proud of its customer service as it is of its green credentials: it has 4.1 out of five stars based on 1,150 reviews on TrustPilot. However, while 100Green’s sustainable credentials do truly stand-out from its peers, you can expect to pay more for your tariff than you would with other providers.
Another old favourite in the green energy market, Good Energy matches 100 per cent of the electricity its customers use over a year with power it buys from around 1700 independent renewable generators. It says it buys renewable certificates together with the power they relate to for a fair price, which creates a supportive environment that encourages more independent generators to enter the market.
The way it sources power has been recognised as being genuinely green. Which? placed Good Energy joint top of its table of eco energy providers, it’s another Ethical Consumer ‘Best Buy’ and all its energy tariffs are Uswitch Gold accredited.
Around 10 per cent of its gas is renewable biogas generated in the UK. The remainder of its carbon footprint is offset through schemes including installing biogas digesters in India and China that enable farmers to use animal waste to generate clean fuel.
Octopus Energy Generation is one of Europe’s largest investors in renewable power, managing 300+ UK green energy producers (mostly solar and wind farms). Last year, this was enough to power over 1.2 million homes. It plans on making that 50 million homes worldwide by 2027. Its customers are happy too, giving it 4.8 stars out of five star on Trustpilot from 148,000 reviews.
Octopus buys renewable energy directly from more than 190 producers in the UK via contracts called ‘Power Purchase Agreements’, or PPAs. It has also started buying its own green energy generators and now has two wind turbines: one in East Yorkshire and one in South Wales. Through the Octopus Fan Club, communities who live closest to its #1 Fan and #2 Fan get their power up to 50 per cent cheaper when the wind picks up.
It says its Super Green tariff is fully carbon neutral, offering 100 per cent renewable electricity and full carbon offsets for gas. Octopus’ Smart Green tariffs reward you for moving your energy consumption to the “greenest” times of the day. Octopus is particularly popular with electric vehicle owners – one in six customers with electric vehicles are also Octopus Energy customers.
Last year Octopus partnered with Lloyds Banking Group (which sadly doesn’t have good green credentials) to offer heat pump installation.
It’s also worth noting that in April 2020, Friends of the Earth decided to stop its endorsement of Octopus after the energy firm accepted investment from Australian energy company Origin. Origin has been involved in coal power generation and fracking.
Founded in 2015, So Energy is a small green electricity-only supplier with the ethos ‘simplicity, honesty and great value’. In 2021, it joined forces with green Irish energy company ESB Energy.
So Energy has pledged that its fixed rate tariffs will always be among the best value offered by any supplier. It is the only supplier of renewable electricity that gives customers the chance to vote on how it is sourced. You can vote on hydro, solar, wind or biomass, and SO Energy will base the percentage it buys from each source for the following year on the results.
If you’d like to find out more about the above providers, a Which? membership gives you access to in-depth, expert reviews, ‘Best Buys’ and ‘Don’t Buys.’
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