By Titania Krimpas
Switching energy supplier – can you really make a difference?
Often when talking to people about Climate Change, a feeling of helplessness descends – ‘Can I really do anything as an individual that makes a difference?’ Well one of the single most impactful steps we can take as individuals and families is to switch energy to a clean/green energy company.
After a bit of advice and a few suggestions from the Ethical Consumer website I ended up switching to Good Energy. I was delighted that my direct debit for gas and electricity is only £1 per month more than it was previously (I was already on a low tariff). The process has been smooth and it’s important to me to be able to contribute to reducing C02 emissions in such a simple, direct way. According to Good Energy, a customer saves 745kg of C02 annually.
When choosing to switch your energy supplier for environmental reasons, these are things to look out for: Firstly, what percentage of renewable energy the company you are considering supplies, and whether they are responsible for building new sources of green energy. Two companies currently championed by The Ethical Consumer, based on these principles, are Good Energy and Ecotricity. These both own wind farms and other forms of generation of green energy and supply it to their customers. Other recommended companies for cleaner energy are: Green Energy UK, Bristol Energy, Bulb Energy and Pure Planet.
Two things to avoid when switching are companies who currently still invest in fracking (such as EDF and British Gas), and those that rely on coal and nuclear for the majority of their energy. This may change over coming months so checking up to date information is important.
The good news is that many people worldwide are switching and that wind and solar make up half of all the investment in new electricity generation capacity. Currently renewables generate nearly a quarter of global electricity, and this is rising. And Britain is a world leader in offshore wind energy. A walk along the coast of Norfolk or Lincolnshire can show us the huge wind farms that stretch along our eastern coast and provide us with large amounts of clean energy.
So, energy switching is easy and it is something you can do that really makes a difference to your carbon footprint. Many people end up saving when they switch supplier; especially if they’ve been with one of the larger suppliers for a long time.
If you are struggling to pay your energy bills during lockdown SELCE (South East London Community Energy) have a scheme that may be able to help you. Call on 0808 169 1779. Email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Some websites to consult when considering switching are: www.ethicalconsumer.org – their Energy Section has an in-depth guide to 20 suppliers covering electricity, biogas, green tariffs, and renewable energy. www.onehome.org.uk
If you’ve already switched and are considering taking further steps to reduce your domestic energy consumption, installing SOLAR PANELS, could also help save significantly on your electricity bills. (Average users in London save £180 per year). If you use a lot of electricity in your home (appliances such as washing machines, dish-washers, food mixers, kettles, irons, hair-dryers and hot water), it’s worth considering investing in solar panels to reduce your costs and environmental impact.
People often think that solar panels only work efficiently in hot countries but actually London has plenty of sunlight for solar panels and the milder weather is ideal in preserving the panels over time.
For more affordable solar, take a look at the Lewisham council scheme Solar Together, a group buying scheme which reduces the initial costs of installing solar panels significantly by connecting up different households and purchasing the panels at a reduced price, via Lewisham Council. You can register for free without obligation, by 23 March 2021. You’ll need to have your electricity bills to hand when you fill in the initial questionnaire, and you need to own your own home. You’ll have a survey to find out what system is suitable for you, but typically you’ll pay around £3000 – £5000 for an average home
The link for Lewisham residents is: https://solartogether.co.uk/lewisham/home#
Please also look at their FAQ’s at: https://solartogether.co.uk/lewisham/faq
If you’d like some further information on what is most suitable for your home, have a look at:
https://www.greenmatch.co.uk/solar-energy/solar-panels This site covers how solar panels work, the possible cost of installation and procedures, the most effective models, and how to reduce your carbon footprint while earning money by selling surplus energy back to the national grid.