Better Guide to UK Renewable Energy Supply

43.8% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK come from energy supply[1]. Of the energy consumed in the UK around 50% of energy is consumed in homes [2].

The decision we make about our energy supplier can make a difference to how our energy is produced. Increased demand will result in more renewable energy.

I have produced this guide to enthuse people to make the switch from non-renewable energy to 100% renewables. If we can get everyone to switch then we can create a Better Century where there are near-zero emissions from all homes.

Step 1: Find out what energy you’re using

You can check your energy bill to find out how much energy you’re using. You usually have an annual statement. I’ve placed an annual statement of both a previous gas and electricity supply below so you can figure out where to find it. In the statement I’ve looked at we’ve used 15,166 kWh in gas and 2,560 kWh in electricity.

Electric Bill

Gas Bill

As we move to an electricity economy increasingly we will see kWhs (kilowatt-hours) being used to determine the battery capacity in cars determining how far they can travel. We will also see a certain size kW (kilowatt) solar systems being installed. To learn more about kilowatts see this useful Wikipedia post.

Step 2: Research renewable energy suppliers

This is more tricky than you think so I’ve tried to simplify it for people. What I’ve never seen is a list of 100% renewable energy suppliers, so I’ve tried to pull this together so everyone knows what’s out there.

I’ve listed the renewable energy suppliers alongside an indicative cost for each. The figures are based on searching through uSwitch an Oxfordshire address using 5,000 kWhrs of electricity per annum and 15,000 kWhrs of gas with no economy 7 meters, but they indicative and hopefully helpfully to those people choosing an energy supplier.

The first thing I found out was that uSwitch could find a company to improve upon the cost of energy from Bulb, which is incredible, and right - renewable energy costs less to produce so it should cost less to the purchaser to buy it. You should also know that electricity costs change across the country (see this useful piece).

Here’s the analysis:

Electricity (5,000kWh/yr) Gas (15,000kWh/yr)
Bulb £752 £616[4]
SO ENERGY £755 £527
E.ON £763 £521[4]
Green Network Energy £784 £572
Co-op energy £796 £546
Pure Planet [1] £797 £542 [4]
Octopus Energy £808 £576 [4]
Tonik £830 £500 [4]
Bristol energy £841 £577
iSupply £850 £559
Green Star Energy £967 £698
British Gas £979 £718
Ecotricity [3] £1,020 £780 (14%)
Good Energy [3] £1,040 £852 (6%)

[3] Done through a search on their website using the same criteria.

[4] Don’t do single tariff plans so calculated from dual fuel minus cost of electric

(%) This is where I’ve found out how much of the gas is from renewable sources (e.g. biomethane from farms)

Step 3: Choosing a supplier

One thing I noticed when I was searching through uSwitch was that ‘green’ tariffs didn’t always match up with whether they provided 100% renewables. Be careful, click on further information or go to their website if you’re not sure.

The other thing I noticed was that sometimes prices were better through a search engine. I think it’s a good idea to check both methods and report back here depending on what you find out!

I also note that suppliers such as OVO Energy who have invested in a significant climate change advertising campaign, aren’t 100% renewable, only 33% of their energy comes from renewable sources. Check your supplier properly!

Cost may be king but how much a company is doing to produce renewables may also be important….

Many of the companies listed will just be buying renewable energy to sell it. Bulb is a good example of this as is probably other new suppliers such as Pure Planet, iSupply & Bristol Energy…

Those producing renewable energy include Good Energy, Ecotricity, E.ON and British Gas (to the best of my knowledge). These companies are probably using more of your funds to enhance renewable infrastructure.

What is renewable gas?

All companies I’ve listed offset the carbon emissions from the gas you consume, there are various ways of doing this which discussed here. Some companies guarantee a proportion of the gas they use comes from renewable gas (bracketed in the numbers above).

Renewable gas is captured methane from farms, sewage or can be created through combining gases. If you are using renewable gas then this is burning a greenhouse gas which would otherwise be emitted and is probably the future for zero-carbon gas.

Those suppliers buying that gas are helping improve the renewables infrastructure in our country.

Step 4: Switching supplier and getting support

Usually, this is where customer service counts so check out what people think about their customer experience, from the stories shared on Better Century, and ask some questions if you are feeling uncertain.

Also - a lot of these companies have referral deals so check out with any friends or even people on Better Century whether there is a referral code you could use so someone else may benefit.

Please share your stories of which supplier you’ve used and whether you feel it’s a good deal - help others make the switch to 100% renewable.

If you have any corrections to make to this guide please reply or edit this wiki post, that way we’ll co-create the Better Guide to Renewable Energy Suppliers.

[1] Data Sourced from 2018 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions Provisional Figures (196.6 MtCO2e from energy from the total 448.5 MtCO2e (excluding aviation and shipping)) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/790626/2018-provisional-emissions-statistics-report.pdf

[2] Extrapolated from the Energy Consumption in the UK July 2018 report https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/729317/Energy_Consumption_in_the_UK__ECUK__2018.pdf

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12 posts were merged into an existing topic: Topic of the Week (15th - 21st July): Better Energy - Choosing the Right Supplier

We use Bulb Energy who are 100% renewable for electric and gas. My wife (who organises this) says she still gets notifications from money saving expert energy saying there are cheaper deals for non renewable energy. We think the saving could be £20 a year.

We think that if we’re helping the transition to a better future it’s probably worthwhile tightening our belts in other places and as bulb aim to reduce the cost we hope they will stay as competitive as possible.

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Think they’re all pretty much renewable nowadays but very often via buying certificates which is a bit of a con. I quite like Good Energy and Pure Planet.

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We are with Bulb too. Haven’t had any problems customer service wise etc. We have also decided the small extra cost is something we are happy to pay.

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I’m trying to switch away from OVO due to costs, but will stick with 100% renewable. The problem I’m experiencing is that the smart meter installed via OVO is not supported but other suppliers as it’s 1/2 hourly unit - so I’m stuck paying too much. Anyone got any advice to share? Thanks

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Will keep my eye out for people who can help @Locky. Useful insight on Ovo

Hi @Locky. I’m with OVO too and they kept trying to push one of their smart meters on me. They kept saying that they would be rolling out new (V2) meters that were universally compatible and that existing V1 meters would get a “software update” that would make them universally compatible. As a software engineer myself, I am generally suspicious software updates so I had to repeatedly decline their offer. Reading your post makes me glad that I did. Thanks for that. :grin:

I’ve been in touch with them via Twitter (very responsive actually) and they have now updated my meter on the national database apparantly. They say that should sort transfer issues - but will take 2-3 weeks for some reason!

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Good to hear it resolved itself @Locky. Do share what happens when you transfer to your new energy provider. Would be good for others to hear what happens through the process.

I have used Ecotricity for around 5 years and they have been great. I have a prepaid meter and they were the only company who did not charge significantly higher rates for this, and I pay the same rate as everyone else.
They generate renewable power rather than just buying it in, and are responsible for many turbines around the country. They also actively oppose cracking.
They also provide many of the chargers for electric cars on the motorway network and give a 50% discount for their home energy customers. They also have a special package for EV customers.
An all round ethical company with great customer service, I recommend them highly

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We also use bulb, they are still cheaper than the big five energy providers and their customer service I would say is excellent. The app is easy to use and we’ve never had any problems, would 100% recommend.

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I switched to Bulb earlier this year too. In recent years I had been with both Ovo and Ecotricity (the latter because of their monopoly on EV charging at service stations). They were both getting expensive and someone recommended Bulb. Our bills have gone down a lot - that’s partly due to having PV panels installed at the beginning of the year, but it’s not just that. So far, I’m pretty happy with Bulb and have our FiT through them as well - just received our first payment this week (which is negligible due to the government cuts) so that all helps.

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We are with Octopus. They use half hour readings from our older smartmeter. The Go tariff is fabulous. We are in South coast and we pay 13.5p/kwh peak time and 5p/kwh night time (00:30-04:30). Standing charge is 25p i reckon. They offer a £50 credit for using referal links. I can post one if you need it. And yes they claim to have 100% renewable energy.

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This Which Guide has recently been released pointing to how green energy suppliers are. This is very topical for this guide

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