A big new campaign is challenging people in and around Oxford to become leaders in support for clean renewable energy. The Oxford Big Clean Switch has been launched to make it easy for us all to switch to green energy tariffs. Over 70% of people in the UK are 'very' or 'fairly' concerned about climate change. Yet just 2.5% of homes buy their electricity from a 'green supplier', even though the costs are now similar or even cheaper (1).
The Oxford Big Clean Switch is being launched by local environmental groups working with the national Big Clean Switch programme. It's one of the first community-led projects in the UK. The project has a website - www.bigcleanswitch.org/oxford - where residents can compare the price of different renewable tariffs. It takes less than 10 minutes to get a quote and switch.
For an average home in Oxford, the cheapest green tariffs available through the campaign are now within £35 to £45 of the very cheapest tariffs on the market, and up to £300 cheaper than the average standard tariff with one of the country's Big Six suppliers (2).
We want Oxford to be the place where more people use green energy than anywhere else. We have a high level of renewable energy generation with over 30 schools across the county and a growing number of businesses installing solar power systems. Let's build on that by using more renewable power as well.
Switching to renewable electricity is critical if we're to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, but most people don't realise it could also save them money. Now is the time to make the change. Visit the website and see what is on offer.
Alison Hill of Low Carbon Oxford North
The campaign does not promote any single company and offers a choice of tariffs from six different companies. If you like your quote, completing the switch application just takes another few minutes. After that, just sit back and relax - you don't even need to contact your old supplier. Your switch should go live about three weeks later (you'll just need to provide a meter reading to your new supplier at that point).
The project will also raise funds for local environmental projects. The groups running the project will give out the money received as commission as grants to community groups.
What is a clean tariff?
When you're on a clean tariff, your supplier promises to match the amount of electricity you use by putting the same amount of renewable electricity into the National Grid. The more renewable electricity that goes into the Grid, the greener it gets.
Which sources of energy are covered by a clean tariff?
Big Clean Switch uses 'clean' energy as shorthand for power from renewable sources - sun, wind, water (river dams, tidal or wave power) and biofuels (such as gas released by rotting food or energy crops). The environmental impact is less clear with some forms of biofuels, so these are excluded from the tariffs available through the Big Clean Switch. You can find out more on the website
What kind of savings may be available?
1. A typical saving of c.£300 was calculated on 6 February 2018 by comparing an average usage dual fuel household on a Big Six Standard Variable Tariff (£1,135) with the cheapest dual fuel tariff supplying 100% renewable electricity available through the Big Clean Switch website (£834). All prices are for a single rate meter paying by monthly direct debit, with prices averaged across all regions of England, Scotland and Wales. Average usage as defined by Ofgem is 12,000 kWh pa of gas and 3,100 kWh pa of electricity.
2. The cheapest open market tariff for an Oxfordshire postcode on 13 February 2018 was £802 a year for a medium consumption dual fuel household on a single rate meter paying by monthly direct debit. This compares with £844 a year for the cheapest comparable tariff available through the Oxford Big Clean Switch.