Press release:

Busting the green myth: Eco-tariffs surge into best buy tables as four in ten households are prepared to go green

  • 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[1]
  • The number of environmentally friendly tariffs has increased by a third in the same period[2], with 57 now available following years of investment in renewable energy generation
  • Four in ten (38%) households would now consider a green tariff[3] – but roughly the same proportion (42%) believe they are the most expensive[4]
  • 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[5].

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[1]. This savings figure has risen from £233 this time last year[1]. The number of environmentally friendly tariffs has also ballooned, with 57 now available to choose from – an increase of 21 since summer 2017[2].

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[6]. 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[3]. This is an increase of 10% from last year[3]. 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[4], rising to over half (58%) among those who said they are less likely to consider switching to a green deal[7].

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[5].

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[7]. 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[7].

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[8]. 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[9].

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[10], price remains the most important factor for people when looking to switch supplier (84%)[11]. 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%)[11].

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[12].

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[6]. 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[5] 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.”

— ends —

Notes to editors

Research was conducted online by Opinium between 9th and 13th March 2018, among 2,007 UK bill payers.

  1. On 17 August 2018, the average cost of the top 10 cheapest green energy deals was £940. The average big 6 SVT on 17 August 2018 was £1,213. £1,213 – £940 = £273. The average cost of the top 10 cheapest green energy deals on 17 August 2017 was £883. The average big 6 SVT on 17 August 2017 was £1,116. £1,116 – £883 = £233.
  2. Source: uSwitch data. On 17 August 2017, there were 36 green deals available. On 17 August 2018, there were 57 green deals available. Refers to dual fuel tariffs.
  3. When asked ‘are you more or less likely to choose a renewable energy tariff than you were three years ago’, 38% of all respondents said yes. 28% of respondents answered yes in 2017.
  4. When asked ‘do you think renewable / green energy tariffs are more or less expensive than other energy tariffs’, 42% said ‘more expensive’.
  5. Average big 6 SVT is £1,213.

Best Buy Table, source uSwitch.com, correct as of 17 August 2018 (dual fuel tariffs, paying by monthly direct debit, based on average annual household consumption).

Supplier

Plan name Average bill size Green

Tariff type

Eversmart Energy Welcome home £853 N Variable
Outfox the Market Zapp! July Tariff (medium consumption) £859 Y Variable
Pure Planet 100% Green £872 Y Variable
Avro Energy Simple Energy £922 N Variable
Bulb Vari-Fair £923 Y Variable
Igloo Energy IGLOO PIONEER £930 N Variable
One Select Secure July 1 Year Fixed 2018 £938 N Fixed
Yorkshire Energy Green Puffin – Fixed £939 Y Fixed
Breeze Energy Breeze July 18 Fixed £944 N Fixed
People’s Energy The People’s Tariff £946 Y Variable
  1. 29% (95TWh) of the UK’s electricity came from renewable sources in 2017. Source: Ofgem ‘Promoting a sustainable energy future’ infographic, 31 July 2018
  2. When asked ‘why are you less likely to choose a green energy deal than you were three years ago’, 58% said ‘I tend to think green energy deals are still more/too expensive’, 30% said ‘I don’t trust/know green suppliers as well’ and 14% said ‘green deals aren’t very well publicised’.
  3. ON’s E.ON Clean Energy Fixed 1 Year v5 at £1,156 and npower’s Go Green Energy Fix July 2020 v2 at £1,148
  4. https://www.uswitch.com/media-centre/2018/02/challenger-suppliers-lead-pack-overall-satisfaction-falls-largest-ever-energy-customer-satisfaction-report/
  5. When asked ‘would you be prepared to pay a premium for a renewable energy tariff that helps the environment’, 21% said ‘yes, I’d be willing to pay up to £50 more per year, 6% said ‘yes, I’d be willing to pay £51-£100 more per year’ and 2% said ‘yes, I’d be willing to pay £101-150 more per year’. The mean amount of those who were prepared to pay more was £48.15.
  6. When asked ‘if you were switching energy supplier, which of the following factors would be most important to you’, 84% said ‘price’, 41% said ‘customer service’, 23% said ‘rewards/incentives’, 19% said ‘the environment’, 14% said ‘smart meter services’ and 6% said ‘a mobile app’.
  7. When asked ‘are you more or less likely to choose a renewable energy tariff than you were three years ago’, 70% of all respondents aged 18-24 said yes.

About us

Launched in September 2000, uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, broadband, TV services, mobiles and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, car and home insurance. Last year we saved UK consumers over £278 million on their energy bills alone.

Customers can sign up to an account that automatically monitors the energy market and notifies them when they can move to a cheaper tariff, while broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and identify the best deal for their postcode.

The multi award-winning 'Switching Made Simple' app allows customers to compare energy, broadband, credit card, mobile and SIM-only deals – and uSwitch also has a UK contact centre manned by energy and broadband experts. Customers can post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH to receive a free call back and be guided through the comparison process, or they can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details.

uSwitch is owned by ZPG, which operates some of the UK’s most trusted digital brands that help empower smarter property and household decisions including Zoopla, Money, PrimeLocation and SmartNewHomes.

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