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Best Green Energy Suppliers

green electricity suppliers

Looking for the best renewable energy suppliers? Read on.

I’ve been doing a bit of research into the best green energy suppliers lately, as we’d like to switch to a renewable supplier.  As well as finding out about each company, I also wanted to find out who would be the cheapest supplier for my region.  

We’re not rich by any means. We both work for charities, me part-time. We also have colossal child care bills on top of our mortgage and everything else.  As such, I always assumed that we couldn’t afford to switch to a green energy supplier.  I was pleasantly surprised by some of the quotes. Switching to a 100% renewable electricity supply could only end up costing us an extra £12 a year – just £1.09 a month!

What Is Renewable Electricity?

Before I get into the green energy suppliers, firstly, I just wanted to help understand a little bit about electricity.  

When you switch to a green energy supplier, the electricity that comes into your home still comes from the national grid.  It doesn’t affect the actual power. The power in your home will not be 100% green.  

The one thing it does affect is where the electricity on the national grid comes from. If you have a 100% renewable tariff your supplier has to match the power you have used by putting the same amount of renewable energy back into the national grid.  

Therefore, by taking a few minutes out to switch to a green energy supplier you’re making a big difference to the environment without changing your behaviour.

best green energy suppliers uk

The Best Green Energy Suppliers

Please note all quotes are based on the average household consumption of  3200kw per year. It’s also based on my region (Southern Scotland).  Prices will vary from region to region so this aims to be a very rough guide.  Prices do go up and down so do check with each supplier for an accurate quote for your region.

Good Energy

Good Energy Electricity is currently the greenest UK electricity supplier. They source their electricity purely from UK renewables. These being solar power, wind power, and hydropower.  They also score the highest in the Ethical Consumer guide to green energy companies, with a score of 15.5 out of 20.

They have one “Good Energy” tariff (available as a standard rate or an Economy 7 rate). This is 100% renewable and comes with a pledge from Good Energy saying that it will “invest in renewable heat generation projects that will benefit local communities“, as an additional environmental commitment.

Prices vary depending on what part of the country you live in. From a 15.48p standing charge a day if you live in the East Midlands, rising to 21.09p if you live in the north of Scotland. Therefore, it’s worth checking out the tariff to see how you would fare.  I was quoted a standing charge of 19.2p a day and a 14.94p unit cost, coming in at £548.16 a year.   They do offer a reduced gas unit rate if you also switch your gas supply to Good Energy too.

Green Energy

Green Energy is a competitively priced green energy supplier, who says its prices are competitive not only within the green market but also the entire utility industry.  

They say they want to challenge the idea that ‘being green’ is about making the extra effort and paying extra.  They want people to stop talking about green energy as an ‘alternative’ as it makes sense for everyone.  It’s almost like they read Moral Fibres or something!

The Tarrifs

Again, price varies by region and by tariff.  This is where I feel they fall down. Good Energy has one straightforward tariff. However, Green Energy has three different tariffs – unhelpfully named “Tap”, “Still” and “Sparkling”.

This means nothing to me in terms of electricity.  It’s a bit confusing, to say the least, especially on a page headed as “simple tariffs”.  It’s so confusing that they’ve made a video to explain the difference between the tariffs, which speaks volumes about how hard it is to understand.  

From what I can gather, Sparkling is 100% renewable energy; Still is low-cost green energy and Tap is, well, to be honest, I’m not really sure.  It’s the cheapest but I’m not sure if it’s green or not.  I’m also not sure what the difference is between “100% renewable” and “low-cost green energy”. It’s just a bit too greenwash for my liking.

Their Electricity

On the plus side, their electricity comes from a variety of natural sources. They score 15 out of 20 from Ethical Consumer for their ethics. And they also allow all of their customers to become shareholders for free. Therefore, Green Energy is definitely worth investigating if you can get your head around the jargon.

For 100% renewable electricity I was quoted a 27.39p standing charge per day; and 15.02p per unit, coming in at £580.61 per year.  Sadly their quote didn’t live up to the hype. It was the most expensive quote I received, with a difference of £77. 97 between this and the lowest quote.

renewable energy suppliers uk

Ovo

Ovo is a relatively new company, formed in 2009.  They offer a 100% renewable electricity plan, but they don’t produce the energy: they buy it from other companies.  

They say “we take our energy from the National Grid, so we can’t guarantee that what ends up in your home will be totally green. But if you go with our 100% renewable electricity plan, what we can guarantee is that for every unit you buy from us, we’ll buy one back that’s 100% renewable – and comes with Ofgem’s Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificate“.  This is fair enough, based on the fact that all energy comes from the national grid anyway.

For 100% renewable power my quote was a standing charge of 28.77p a day and a unit rate of 13.41p, and was estimated to come in at £504 per year.  Scoring 13.5 out of 20 from Ethical Consumer, they score a bit less than some of the others, but not by a significant amount.

Ecotricity

Ecotricity source their energy from the wind, sun, and sea.  I don’t know much about their past, other than I think at some point they have dealings in coal and nuclear.  However, they are now actively investing in installing and developing new renewable options. And in August 2013 they switched to offering a 100% green electricity tariff.  They seem to be going from strength to strength.

I found their site to be very professional and straightforward. They have only one tariff – 100% green electricity -which I found refreshingly simple after getting all confused over at Green Energy!  

As usual, the price varies across the country. I was quoted a standing charge of 32.88p a day and a unit rate of 13.66p, working out at £557 per year.  They score slightly less from Ethical Consumer than the others – 13 out of 20, again, not a significant amount of difference.

The Green Energy Suppliers Cost Comparison

To sum everything up I’ve made a little run-down of the rates, based on my quotes. This means you can see who the cheapest green energy suppliers are, and how it compares to a standard non-renewable rate:

best green electricity supplier uk

So as you can see switching to a green energy supplier like Ovo could only end up costing us £11 more a year. A paltry £1.09 a month more than our current rate.  If I reduced my chocolate habit by one bar a month it would cost us nothing more than we already pay to switch to a greener supply.

Are you with any of these green energy suppliers?  I’d love to hear your opinions on them and your experiences with them.  Or are you considering switching?

ps: if you enjoyed this post you might enjoy my series on easy energy-saving tips!

ps: I am not affiliated with any of these companies, so this post is completely unbiased.

Health & Beauty, Home, Home and Garden, Life & Style

What Can Coconut Oil Be Used For? Here Are 21 Ideas!

coconut oil uses around the home

Are you wondering what can coconut oil be used for? Well, wonder no more – here are 21 clever ideas!

I keep a large jar of coconut oil for cooking and baking. However, I keep hearing more and more about how there are so many uses for the stuff beyond just for culinary purposes.

 Then I came across this amazing illustration by Californian artist Yumi Sakugawa for WonderHowTo, and all I can say is wow!  There are so many uses for coconut oil – 21 in fact – for around the home that I just hadn’t realised.

what can coconut oil be used for?

For example, did you know one of the many uses for coconut oil is as a natural alternative to using WD40?  I need to tell my dad this as you rarely see him without a can in his hand!  You can also use it as a shaving cream; to condition your hair; to help heal newly tattooed skin, and as a natural polish for wooden furniture.  It can even help get rid of head lice naturally. Mind blown!

21 Uses for Coconut Oil

Check out the full guide to have your mind blown too.

coconut oil uses

And here’s a text-based version if you are using a web reader:

Coconut Oil Uses Around The Home

  • lubricate your guitar strings
  • remove gum from hair, shoes, or your carpet
  • general substitute for WD-40 spray – use on squeaky door hinges, or stuck zippers.
  • polish your wood furniture – place a small amount of oil on a rag and rub.
  • maintain your wooden chopping board – when it starts looking dull, rub oil into the surface, making sure it’s clean and dry first.
  • need an oil to season your cast iron skillet? Use coconut oil.

Pets

  • want to give your beloved dog or cat a daily health boost? Add a teaspoon of oil to their water dish every day.

Health

  • get rid of head lice by rubbing coconut oil into your scalp. Leave it on overnight and rinse off in the morning.
  • treat skin irritations such as eczema, nappy rash, sunburn, poison ivy rash, minor cut, etc.
  • take a spoonful of oil every day. It can help as an energy boost, help relieve indigestion, and more.
  • ear infection? Add a few drops of warmed oil directly into your ear.
  • to prevent bloody noses during dry weather, line the inside of your nose with coconut oil.
  • take advantage of coconut oil’s antifungal, antibacterial properties to treat athlete’s foot, thrush, ringworm, and more.

Body & Beauty

  • clean out your mascara brush
  • use the oil as a general skin moisturiser/shaving cream replacement.
  • DIY hair conditioner for damaged or unruly hair.
  • make some DIY deodorant. Mix 1/4 cup bicarbonate of soda with 1/4 cup cornflour then add 3 tablespoons of oil. Apply on underarms.
  • apply to newly tattooed skin to help heal the skin.
  • want whiter teeth? For some people, oil pulling (swishing coconut oil in your mouth and spitting it out every day) has helped with gum health and whiter teeth.

Food

  • Add it to your toast, porridge, popcorn, tea, etc, for extra flavour.
  • baking something? You can replace butter/vegetable oil with coconut oil.
  • you can saute/roast your food in coconut oil to give it a nuanced coconut flavour.

Are you as surprised as me at some of these uses for coconut oil?!  If you’re on Pinterest this is definitely a good one to pin so you can always keep it close to hand! I’ve not tested out these tips, nor can I verify them, so do proceed with caution though.

If you’re looking for cheap coconut oil, the cheapest I found was this 470ml Biona organic virgin coconut oil* for £7.99 at Holland & Barrett.  470ml should last you for quite some time, as you only need a little at a time.

My Top Coconut Oil Tips

A quick note: despite the name, coconut oil is solid.  I find the best way to scoop it out is to place a metal spoon in hot water, and then scoop out what you need.   

If you’re using coconut oil for skincare purposes, then warming it in your hands is generally enough to liquefy it. For other applications, you can scoop some out of the jar, place it in a bowl, and microwave it in 10-second increments until it’s melted.  In warm weather, you might find it’s pliable enough not to require warming.

And if you liked this post, do check out my guide to surprising uses for vinegar.