Green energy is surprisingly unpopular

Green energy is surprisingly unpopular

Green energy is surprisingly unpopular

Last week we launched the MSE Big Winter Switch Event – a collective switch where we’ve used the huge user base of this site to negotiate what are mostly cheaper than the cheapest energy tariffs. While all the deals are hot, by far the hottest compared to its peers is the Green Tariff, yet while the event as a whole has been an enormous success, shockingly few have gone green – even though the differential between doing so and getting the cheapest non-green deal is much narrower than normal.

And this is despite the fact the deal coincides with the BBC leading its news programmes with a report on the increasing threat of global warming on the world’s resources.

The definition of green tariffs is a little tricky – and there are many different shades of green available. Some commit to a proportion of your fuel coming from green sources, others promise that 100% of your energy will be renewable. New proposals by the regulator Ofgem say that green tariffs must offer an environmental benefit over and above just supplying renewable energy – see more info on how we picked the Green Winner.

Before I tell you quite how few people went green, I want to set out the price numbers.

All the prices below are the average for someone with typical usage, paying by direct debit, with dual fuel – there are small regional variations.

It’s worth noting that someone on a standard tariff from one of the big six energy companies would be paying £1,180 a year.

Green Tariffs
MSE Big Switch Event Winner: Green Star Energy Collective Fix:


Next cheapest that fits new green criteria:


As you can see, normally most people would pay a premium to switch to get a green tariff, here you save substantially compared to a standard tariff, and it’s fixed for one year (do a comparison to find how much it’d cost you).

And it’s also only just over £100 more than the cheapest non-green tariff.  To contrast, here’s our non-green winner (which is also a 12 month fix).

Cheapest Tariffs
MSE Big Switch Event Winner: Eon 12mth Fix: £950/yr + 1,500 Eon points (convertible to 1,500 tesco points)
Next cheapest supplier on open market:


Yet staggeringly, of the many thousands of switchers we’ve had so far in our collective switch, only 0.36% of people who’ve switched have gone green.

I’m really surprised by that. We are MoneySavingExpert, so I wasn’t expecting more than 5% to go for it, but the number that did is far smaller than I expected, especially as the tariff is so competitive.  It seems strange as we often get many users lobbying us to include even more of the cheapest ethical and green choices within our guides than we do (we do it in quite a few already).  Yet in truth, very few people seem to be choosing to go that way.