We'll be offering you the chance to switch for a three week period in April following Earth Hour, with special tariffs available during this time.
Want to know a bit more detail about green energy tariffs and how the switching process works?
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can I speak to if I need help?
If you have a question that isn’t answered here, email the Big Clean Switch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can phone them on 0800 249 4770.
What is ‘renewable electricity’?
The main renewable electricity sources are:
• Wind power
• Solar power (the power of the sun)
• Hydro power (capturing the energy of our rivers as they carry water to the sea)
• Bioenergy (converting plants into ‘biofuel’ that can burned to generate electricity)
• Tidal and wave power (using the movement of our oceans to generate electricity).
Why is renewable electricity a good thing?
Traditionally, electricity has been generated by burning fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas. Generating power in this way causes air pollution and releases gases like carbon dioxide that contribute to climate change, so there is global agreement that we need to massively reduce our dependency on them. In contrast, renewable electricity sources have much lower climate change impacts.
What is ‘clean electricity’?
‘Clean electricity’ is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘renewable electricity’. Renewable electricity is considered ‘clean’ because it has a much smaller impact on our climate, and also because most renewable electricity sources have very low impacts in relation to air pollution.
Isn’t renewable electricity expensive?
Far from it. As more and more renewable energy generation has been installed around the world, the costs of building and installing the equipment have fallen. In 2016, new renewable electricity generation projects all over the world were coming in at prices well below both fossil fuel and nuclear options, and this is expected to be the norm by 2022. At the moment a typical home can save over £300 a year by switching to the cheapest green energy tariff. Depending on where you are in the country, the cheapest green tariff is within around £30-£40 a year of the very cheapest tariff on the market.
Who is Big Clean Switch?
Big Clean Switch is part of Brakkn Ltd, a ‘profit with purpose’ company that aims to accelerate take-up of renewable electricity by making it easy for homes and businesses to switch to green energy providers.
Who can I switch my energy to?
Big Clean Switch offer a growing panel of vetted suppliers, so you can choose the right tariff for you, all at a competitive price.
What happens at the end of the three week exclusive tariff window? Can I still switch?
Yes, the WWF page will remain open for you to switch through for the foreseeable future. Certain tariffs may not be available though after the three week period is over at the end of April.
About 100% renewable tariffs
Doesn’t all electricity come from the National Grid? How do 100% renewable electricity tariffs work?
When you’re on a renewable electricity tariff, your supplier promises that, however much electricity you use in your home, the same amount of renewable electricity will be put into the National Grid. The more this happens, the cleaner the Grid will get. Because you’re still getting your electricity from the National Grid, there’s no need for engineers’ visits and no disruption to your supply when you switch.
Is there a risk that I’ll lose power when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow?
No – you’ll still get your electricity from the National Grid, which manages the UK’s electricity supply to ensure everyone always has enough power.
Can I get clean gas as well as electricity?
By replacing fossil fuels with energy from the sun, wind and water, we can generate clean electricity without the pollution and carbon emissions. Gas is unfortunately much harder to replace, because we’re directly burning a fossil fuel, rather than using it to generate a different form of power, but it is possible to generate gas from plant crops (including food waste). Although this is still a fossil fuel, it has lower carbon emissions, providing the crops used are replaced (because plants absorb carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas – from the air). However, so far, this lower carbon gas still makes up a very small proportion of the gas used by UK homes, so very few suppliers offer ‘100% renewable gas’ in the same way as you can get 100% renewable electricity. If they do, will be shown on the Big Clean Switch website in the tariff description.
Is it easy to switch?
Absolutely. Once the tariff is live, just pop in a few details about your energy use on the Big Clean Switch website to get a tailored quote. If you like what you see, it takes a few more minutes to sign up. Then just sit back and relax – no need to contact your old supplier and no need for engineers’ visits.
How does switching supplier work?
The word ‘supplier’ is actually a bit misleading, because most people’s electricity is supplied by the National Grid. The companies you pay for your electricity and gas should really be called ‘sellers’, because that’s all they do – they sell the energy in the Grid to you. That means that no matter who sells us the energy, it still comes from the Grid. No interruptions of supply, no visits from engineers – just a different name on your bills.
When will the switch actually take place?
Once you’ve completed your switching application with the Big Clean Switch, we’ll send your details to your new supplier. Submitting your application also starts a 14 day cooling off period, during which you are free to change your mind and cancel your switch. In practice, most of the suppliers we work with don’t charge leaving penalties, which means you’re free to leave them at any time if you choose.
During this 14 day period, your new supplier will contact your current supplier to let them know you’re moving, make sure your account is in order, and set a date for the switch (which they’ll then tell you about). This is typically about three weeks from the date of your switch application. On that day, you’ll stop paying your old company for your energy (they’ll send you a final bill up to that date), and start paying the new one. You may be asked to submit a meter reading on that day, too.
Will I get the same quality of customer service?
All the suppliers available through the Big Clean Switch have been vetted to make sure their customer service and environmental credentials are up to scratch. That’s why, in the unlikely event you have a problem that you can’t resolve with your new supplier, Big Clean Switch promise to take it up with them on your behalf.
Will I be charged for switching?
No, switching is free. Big Clean Switch is funded from commission paid by suppliers. This doesn’t affect the price of the tariffs we offer (which are the same as the ones you’d find on suppliers’ own websites, other than where we’ve negotiated an even better deal).
What’s the difference between a fixed rate tariff and a variable tariff?
You may have noticed that they come in two types – ‘fixed’ or ‘variable’. What’s the difference?
When you sign up to a fixed tariff, the amount you’re charged for a unit of energy will stay the same for a set period (usually a year). The total amount you pay could still go up or down depending on how much energy you use.
If you leave a fixed tariff before the end of that set period, some suppliers may charge you a penalty fee, which will be added to your final bill. And when you come to the end of a fixed tariff, you’ll usually role onto the suppliers’ most expensive variable tariff, so remember to switch again before this happens.
When you’re on a variable rate tariff, your supplier can increase or decrease the amount they charge you for a unit of energy, providing they give you advanced warning. Unlike fixed tariffs, there’s no charge for leaving a variable tariff, so if the price does change, you’re free to go elsewhere.
Which is right for you?
If you want the certainty of knowing that the price of the energy you’re buying won’t change for a set period, opt for a fixed tariff. If you don’t mind uncertainty (and remember prices can go down as well as up) and would rather not have to switch at the end of every fixed term deal, then a variable rate may be better for you.
Do I need to contact my old supplier to let them know I’m switching?
No. We’ll let your new supplier know that you want to switch to them, and they’ll contact your old supplier for you. If your old supplier confirms that the account isn’t in arrears, your new supplier will then confirm the switch date with you.
Do I have to pay to leave my current supplier?
If your current supplier has promised to keep the price you pay for a unit of electricity the same for a certain period (known as a ‘fixed tariff’), then they may charge you a penalty for leaving them before the end of that time (usually a year, although some fixed tariffs last longer). However, switching may still be worth your while if the savings outweigh the penalty. If you think an early-leaving charge might apply to you, give us a ring on 0800 249 4770 and we can talk you through the options.
I’ve never heard of the suppliers on your site. Can I trust them?
It’s understandable to be concerned about switching to a company you’ve never heard of, but in fact most renewable energy suppliers are leading the way when it comes to customer service. Smaller suppliers in general make up a growing part of the UK energy market, in part because they’re often much better at looking after their customers. We vet the suppliers listed on the Big Clean Switch to make sure their customer service is up to scratch before listing them, and because we’re so confident in them, we make a simple promise to all our users: if you have a problem that you can’t resolve directly with your new supplier, we’ll take it up with them on your behalf.
I rent my home. Does that mean I can’t switch supplier?
If you pay the energy bills, then it’s your choice – if you want cleaner, cheaper energy, you can have it! If your landlord pays the energy bills, then why not ask them if they’ll switch (and let them know they could save money in the process)?
I have a smart meter with my current supplier. Can I still switch?
Yes you can, although you will probably lose some of the functionality, which will mean you having to provide meter readings manually again. Most suppliers are now rolling out a new generation of smart meters which will allow you to switch providers without this happening – you can ask your new supplier to install one of these. If you’re concerned about losing smart meter functionality, it’s best to take a note of the make and model of your smart meter and call your preferred new supplier to check with them whether they’ll be able to support it.
I’m on a fixed term tariff. Can I switch early?
You may incur a penalty for leaving your existing contract early, but with many homes saving hundreds of pounds a year by switching, you may still be better off switching now. If you’d rather wait, don’t worry – Big Clean Switch’s switching site will stay open so you can switch at a time that suits you.
I have (or am thinking about getting) solar panels – can I still switch?
Yes, absolutely. When you first install solar panels, the chances are you’ll buy your electricity from the same supplier who agrees to purchase your surplus solar energy through the Feed In Tariff. However, the Feed In Tariff agreement and the supply agreement are separate, and independent of one another, which means you are free to switch your supply to a different provider in exactly the same way as a house without solar panels. Your Feed In Tariff arrangement will remain unchanged.