Green energy plans are a good choice if you want to be more environmentally friendly.
If you're one of the growing number of conscientious people who feels it is important to select a green energy plan then you may know that comparing just how green some energy plans really are can be quite challenging.
Green energy tariffs
It can be difficult to know which suppliers to trust, what kind of green energy you're getting and just how much good you're doing for the environment.
All energy suppliers get some of their electricity from renewable sources, and they publish the percentage (known as their fuel mix). You can find this information on our supplier pages. In the table below, you'll see some of the greenest plans currently on offer.
Use the table below to find a supplier who you feel measures up to your standards on green electricity, and then switch to their most competitive deal. You might not end up with either the cheapest or the greenest plan on the market, but it does mean that you can find a compromise that suits both your pocket and your ethics.
Having said that, it's worth noting that a green plan does not necessarily mean an expensive plan. In fact, some green plans compare very favourably with many of the big six's standard plan. So you could switch to a green plan and make a saving at the same time!
Reduced green choices
Towards the end of July 2013, five of the big six - EDF Energy, E.ON, npower, SSE and Scottish Power – announced that they would no longer be offering green energy tariffs to UK customers. Part of the reason for this is Ofgem's push for a 'Simpler, Clearer, Fairer' energy market. The latter forced energy suppliers to limit the number of plans on offer to four (for both gas and electricity). As a result the number of plans approved by the Green Energy Certification Scheme (more information below) fell significantly.
Whilst these developments have severely restricted the number of green energy plans available to consumers, a number of energy suppliers continue to offer environmentally friendly tariffs. Small suppliers in particular have stepped into the 'green void' left by the big six.
Ofgem's investigation into green plans
In July 2014, energy regulator Ofgem expressed its dismay that many plans labelled as 'green' by energy suppliers were not certified. The regulator has since demanded more transparency in the area.
Speaking on the topic, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch, Ann Robinson said: “It’s important that consumers know what they’re buying. Some tariffs are advertised as being green when in fact only a fraction of the energy is renewable. These tariffs are often more expensive than the cheapest on the market, so it’s vital that consumers have the right information before making a decision.
“Ofgem’s proposals to increase transparency in the market are welcome news for consumers and a step in the right direction, helping customers to make an informed and confident choice.”
Dual fuel green energy plans
It is worth noting that there are other suppliers which offer green energy plans, however, in this table we have focussed on those which provide dual fuel plans.You can find a full list of 'green' tariffs on the market by running an energy comparison and filtering the results table by "Green and environmental plans."
* The percentage of overall fuel mix from renewable energy sources.
Last updated July 2014.
Switching to a Green Energy plan
Just like normal gas and electricity tariffs, some green tariffs are cheaper than others. Some suppliers, including new kid on the block Ovo, have tried to make their renewable energy plans more affordable.
We incorporate green dual fuel plans in our results table, just pop your postcode into the box below. You can see a full list of all the green energy plans approved by the Green Energy Certification Scheme so you know which ones to look out for.
You can also compare prices on green electricity tariffs with uSwitch - just put in all your details as normal, and when you get to the results page, select the 'Green electricity' tab.
Doing a comparison will also help you to see the difference between the cheapest overall plan and the cheapest green plan, so you can judge whether or not you can afford the difference.
Remember that you can split the difference too, by opting for a green electricity plan, and offsetting the expense with the cheapest gas deal you can get. Unlike electricity, gas can't be produced from renewable sources like solar or hydro, so your conscience can remain relatively clear.
However, you will miss out on things like the dual fuel discount, which can knock a reasonable amount off your bill.
Green Energy Certification Scheme
It's possible to check how 'green' your energy plan is, with the help of the independent Green Energy Certification Scheme (GECS). It is worth noting that since 2013, a number of plans which were certified under the GECS have been axed.
To help you make an informed choice of green energy plan, the Green Energy Certification Scheme gives a green energy plan a stamp of approval if it meets certain standards, so you can be confident in your choice of green plan.
The Green Energy Certification Scheme independently checks that the electricity you use comes from a renewable source and that the energy supplier is going above and beyond the existing regulatory obligations to deliver additional environmental benefits as part of the plan.
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