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Should you switch to a green energy supplier?

Find out if you could save with a green energy tariff, plus Ecotricity and Good Energy compared

If you’re looking for a renewable energy company, the choice is growing. There are now more than 10 green energy suppliers, plus others offering specific renewable tariffs. Three of the top 10 companies in our annual energy customer survey supply 100% renewable electricity.

We ask thousands of energy customers about their supplier each year to find out what they really think of their energy company. Ecotricity came sixth out of 23 energy firms included in our survey, while Green Star Energy finished eighth and Good Energy tenth.

But although all three suppliers finished in the top half of the table, they fared better in 2016 – when Ecotricity achieved second place and Good Energy third place.

So can you get a good deal with a green energy supplier, as well as receiving the customer service you deserve? Read on to find out about green energy suppliers and what they can offer you.

Use our independent switching site, Which? Switch, to compare gas and electricity deals and find out how much a renewable energy tariff would cost you. 

Is renewable energy expensive?

Energy tariffs from firms offering renewable energy are often among the priciest. For example, Ecotricity offers one dual-fuel deal and it’s the second most expensive tariff on the market (on average across the UK). It costs £1,221 and is £350 dearer than the cheapest UK-wide deal available.

But it’s only £35 pricier than Npower’s standard tariff (currently the most expensive standard tariff from a Big Six energy firm).

However, you don’t have to pay a premium for greener energy. The cheapest tariff from a firm that says it supplies only 100% renewable electricity (Tonik) costs £881; £340 cheaper than Ecotricity.

And while most of the big energy companies are raising the price of their standard tariffs, Bulb has just cut its price by 3% from 24 April.

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Ecotricity, Green Star Energy and Good Energy

Ecotricity and Good Energy both offer 100% renewable electricity, generated from wind turbines, solar panels and hydro, plus some green gas made from breaking down organic matter.

Green Star Energy sources 100% of its energy from renewable sources, mainly hydro, although it’s not a generator.

While their green credentials bring these green energy suppliers together, the feedback of their customers helps set them apart.

Ecotricity

Ecotricity’s customers consider its bills to be excellent, and it also scored well for customer service, value for money and helping customers save energy. It also gets few complaints, and customers are happy with how it handles them.

Green Star Energy

Green Star Energy’s customers also praised its bills, but it was the slowest firm to answer the phone in our snapshot call-waiting investigation last year. It kept us waiting almost a quarter of an hour on average when calling customer services before we could speak to a human. The fastest supplier, Ebico, took just 21 seconds on average for us to speak with a person.

Good Energy

Good Energy slipped from second place in 2016 to 10th place this year in our energy customer survey. Although it scored as well as Ecotricity for customer service and complaints handling, its customers were less impressed with its bills, being value for money or helping them save energy. It’s still well-liked by its customers, just not as much as the top-scoring companies.

We surveyed 8,917 members of the public online in September and October 2016 about their energy firms. Ovo Energy was ranked the best supplier for the second year running.

See all of the best and worst energy companies.

Other renewable energy firms

Ecotricity, Good Energy and Green Star Energy aren’t the only energy suppliers offering renewable energy. Those listed below only offer tariffs with 100% renewable electricity:

  • Green Energy’s tariffs are 100% green electricity and 100% green gas, as of 1 April 2017.
  • Bulb has one tariff supplied by 100% renewable electricity and 10% renewable gas, made from pig waste.
  • Fischer Energy buys renewable electricity from Danish wind farms and offers one tariff.
  • LoCO2’s tariffs are powered by 100% renewable electricity and 10% green gas from biomethane. Its parent company operates several hydropower stations.
  • Tonik Energy supplies only 100% renewable electricity tariffs.

Octopus Energy’s parent company funds solar sites, wind generation and anaerobic digestion plants, and one of its tariffs – Super Green Octopus – is backed by 100% renewable electricity.

Regardless of the energy firm you buy from, the electricity and gas you use at home is identical. The suppliers match your use over a year with electricity sourced from renewables. Find out more about small energy firms in our small energy brands guide.

(Pricing data from Energylinx. Based on a dual-fuel medium user (who uses Ofgem averages of 12,500kWh gas and 3,100kWh electricity per year), paying by monthly direct debit, with paperless billing. Prices are averaged across the UK and correct at 23 April 2017.)

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