- Green deals are now among the cheapest on the market – the ten cheapest eco-tariffs could save homes an average of £273, up £40 from this time last year
- The number of environmentally friendly tariffs has increased by a third in the same period, with 57 now available following years of investment in renewable energy generation
- Four in ten (38%) households would now consider a green tariff – but roughly the same proportion (42%) believe they are the most expensive
- Five of the cheapest 10 tariffs currently available are eco-friendly – all of which are at least £267 cheaper than the average big six standard variable tariff.
Going green has never been more affordable or so widely available, with renewable energy tariffs now among the cheapest on the market, according to uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching site. The ten cheapest eco-tariffs could save homes an average of £273 if switching from a big six standard tariff. This savings figure has risen from £233 this time last year. The number of environmentally friendly tariffs has also ballooned, with 57 now available to choose from – an increase of 21 since summer 2017.
Renewable electricity and bio-gas are now more plentiful and cheaper as green sources make up an ever-increasing proportion of the UK’s energy mix. This has led to competitive pricing and a greater choice of eco-tariffs as more challenger brands seek to differentiate themselves by promoting their environmentally-friendly credentials.
The result has been to turn more consumers on to eco-friendly deals, with new research revealing that nearly four in ten households (38%) would consider switching to a green energy tariff. This is an increase of 10% from last year. These are tariffs that, for every unit of electricity used, the same amount is produced and put back into the grid from a renewable source such as wind or solar power, with some tariffs also sourcing some of their gas from renewable sources.
But despite this shift in consumer attitudes, there are still some common misconceptions among energy customers: over four in ten (42%) believe that green energy tariffs are more expensive than other energy tariffs, rising to over half (58%) among those who said they are less likely to consider switching to a green deal.
However, consumers can now help the environment and their wallets at the same time. The cheapest green energy tariff available today comes in at just £859 per year, a whopping £278 cheaper than the average big six plan and £354 less than the average price of a big six standard variable tariff.
Of those yet to be convinced of the merits of going green, nearly a third (30%) say that they wouldn’t switch due to a lack of trust of green suppliers when compared to better-known companies. Meanwhile, 14% of this group wouldn’t opt for a green tariff on the basis that they don’t know enough about them – suggesting that some energy companies could do more to help promote these deals.
But with two of the big six suppliers – E.ON and npower – now offering a green tariff, that is cheaper than their standard plans, as well as other well-known suppliers such as Co-op providing environmentally friendly deals, there is plenty of choice across the supplier spectrum, whether customers are most interested in helping the planet or saving money. In fact, four of the top ten suppliers in this year’s uSwitch Customer Service Report currently have at least one environmentally-friendly deal available, including winners Octopus and runners-up Bulb.
Despite the fact that over a quarter of consumers (29%) would be prepared to pay an average premium of almost £50 for a tariff that helps the environment, price remains the most important factor for people when looking to switch supplier (84%). This is followed by customer service (41%) and rewards/incentives (23%). However, the environment (19%) still ranks above smart meter services (14%) and a mobile app (6%).
Amongst 18-24 year olds, who will live for longer with the effects of climate change or other environmental damage, an impressive seven in ten (70%) would consider choosing an environmentally-friendly deal.
Shona Eyre, uSwitch.com energy expert, says: “Sustainable living is increasingly important to consumers. With green energy tariffs now featuring heavily in the best-buy tables, planet-friendly deals are no longer an expensive luxury for those who can afford to pay for their principles. Whether it’s using less energy around the home or choosing a green energy deal, these are small changes that make a big difference – both environmentally and financially.
“Huge investment in sustainable gas and electricity has led to almost a third of the UK’s electricity coming from renewable sources. As more suppliers differentiate themselves by focusing on the environment, green tariffs are becoming much more widespread and much cheaper.
“Customers still languishing on the most expensive Standard Variable Tariffs from the big six could save over £260 by switching to a renewable energy deal.This is why it’s so important that policy changes like the energy price cap don’t undermine this expansion by deterring consumers from switching and suppliers from innovating.”