If you like the idea of doing your bit for the world by choosing an environmentally-friendly energy supplier, then Good Energy could be the ideal choice.
It does work out more expensive overall than any of the bigger suppliers, but in return you can enjoy basking in the glow of knowing you are being good to te world. The question is, how does it measure up in other areas, such as customer service and extra benefits? We've taken a look.
Founded in 1999, Good Energy was the UK’s first dedicated 100% renewable-electricity supplier. All Good Energy’s electricity is sourced from solar, wind and hydro power from British energy generators.
It sources more than half of its electricity from wind farms and owns some solar and wind sites, including Delabole Wind Farm in Cornwall, Woolbridge Solar Park in Dorset, and Hampole Wind Farm in Yorkshire. It’s also invested in the planned Tidal Lagoon in Swansea Bay. Since 2013, Good Energy has worked with the National Trust to develop its renewable energy projects. These include the hydro turbines at Hafod y Porth in Snowdonia and a waterwheel at Aberdulais Falls, South Wales.
Based in Chippenham, Wiltshire, Good Energy is still a pretty small supplier with about 200,000 domestic and business customers across the UK. It claims that switching to Good Energy could cut your carbon footprint by up to 50%.
Good Energy isn’t a cheap supplier and, by becoming a customer, you could end up paying £200 to £300 more than you would if you were to buy a best-buy tariff from another energy supplier. Good Energy’s big selling point is using 100% renewable energy, but it’s not the only supplier to offer this and ‘green’ tariffs from other suppliers may well be cheaper.
Good Energy increased its prices by an average of 7% in January 2018, with bills for a typical household rising by around £80 per year.
Good Energy offers simple and straightforward tariffs – but there’s not a great deal of choice. You can enter your details on the Good Energy website to see the tariffs you’ll be eligible for, and the unit costs. It charges different rates depending on whereabouts in the country you live.
Customers can pay by monthly or quarterly direct debit, or on receipt of the bill. There’s also the option to pay your Good Energy bill in Bristol Pounds – a paper and digital currency set up to support Bristol’s independent businesses.
Good Energy’s electricity-only tariff – Good Energy Standard – uses 100% renewable electricity sourced purely from UK renewables such as Cornish sunshine, Scottish wind and Welsh rain.
Good Energy also offers a multi-rate tariff for customers with Economy 7. Economy 7 systems have one meter with two rates: one for daytime use and the other for the energy used overnight. Economy 7 tariffs are usually used by households with electric storage heaters, which you can heat up during the off-peak, overnight rate. However, this tends to be an expensive way to heat your home.
Good Energy has a tariff specifically for electric vehicle drivers. Electric vehicle drivers use an average of about 5,500 units of electricity a year, compared to 3,100 units for households without an electric vehicle.
Good Energy claims its EV-tariff will save EV drivers £76 a year compared to the standard tariffs of the Big Six providers’ (British Gas, SSE, Scottish Power, Eon, EDF Energy and nPower). However, this doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best available deal for electric vehicle drivers – it’s always best to shop around.
Good Energy’s Gas+ Dual Fuel tariff offers 100% renewable electricity and ‘green gas’ (more on this later). It’s a variable rate tariff so the price you pay per unit may change if Good Energy increases or decreases its prices. On the plus side, you’re not tied in for a minimum term and there are no exit fees if you decide to leave.
The standing charge and unit charge for electricity on this tariff varies depending on where you live – customers in Scotland generally pay the most and those in the south of England the least. Gas prices are the same regardless of where you live.
The government introduced the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme in April 2010 and Good Energy has since become one of the UK's largest FIT providers. Not all energy suppliers are members of the scheme, although all the big suppliers are obliged to join.
Under FITs, you could be paid for the electricity you generate if you install an eligible system such as solar photovoltaic (also known as ‘solar PV’), a wind turbine, hydro, or micro CHP (combined heat and power) technology.
Good Energy came joint 19th place out of 31 energy companies rated by members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey 2018. It’s quite a fall from grace: it was placed second in 2016 and 10th place in 2017. On the plus side, Good Energy’s mid-table result meant it beat all the Big Six firms. Although the number of complaints about Good Energy haven’t increased over the past couple of years, some people have complained about bills not matching meter readings, higher-than-expected direct debits, and website problems.
In comparison, data from Ofgem shows that the number of complaints Good Energy receives has fallen significantly since 2014 when it was among the worst performers out of the small supplier segment. In general, Good Energy is now in the top half of its segment when it comes to resolving complaints by the end of the next working day.
You’ll struggle to find an energy supplier with more impressive green credentials than Good Energy. The company’s electricity is sourced from 100% certified renewable methods including solar, wind, hydroelectric and bio fuels. It uses a system that guarantees that, over one year, every unit used by its customers is matched by a unit sourced from a renewable source. This means it supplies 100% renewable electricity, compared to the UK average of just 24.2%. It doesn’t use fossil fuels, nuclear fuel or carbon.
About 6% of Good Energy’s “Green Gas” comes from biomethane – gas produced in the UK from organic matter like manure and sewage. To make its gas totally carbon neutral, Good Energy ensures that gas emissions are balanced through verified carbon-reduction schemes that support local communities in Malawi, Vietnam and Nepal.
Good Energy introduced a direct debit discount on 1 March 2018. Customers paying by direct debit save around £15 per fuel per year, and hence around £30 if you have a dual fuel tariff. Good Energy also has a deal with BT which emables BT customers moving home, and BT’s UK staff and pensioners, to qualify for discounts of up to £130 a year.
However, Good Energy doesn’t offer the Warm Home Discount. This is a one-off payment of £140 from the government towards your energy bill which you can get if you’re on a low income or claim certain benefits.
Good Energy give the National Trust £40 each year for each customer. Customers also receive a free visit to a National Trust property.
All energy suppliers in the UK are fitting customers’ homes with smart meters between now and 2020. Smart meters automatically send meter readings through to your supplier on a half-hourly, daily or monthly basis. That means you won’t need to remember to send a reading or wait for a meter reader to visit. Smart meters make it easy to monitor your usage and make lifestyle changes to bring your bills down.
Good Energy won’t be installing smart meters until late 2018 at which point it will start rolling out the SMETS2 (second generation) meters. This type of meter is compatible with all energy suppliers and makes it easier if you decide to switch later on.
There are two ways you can switch your dual fuel or electricity supply to Good Energy. You can either use a price comparison website or contact Good Energy directly. As with all energy suppliers there’s a 14-day cooling-off period in which you can change your mind without penalty.
A price comparison compares all the energy tariffs on the market for you. Good Energy accepts switchers from price comparison sites – not all small energy suppliers do.
Using a price comparison site is easy. You enter your details, including your current supplier and tariff, then choose the supplier you’d like to switch to. The price comparison site should tell you how much you’ll save by switching. It will also do all the legwork for you – contacting both Good Energy and your old supplier to arrange the changeover.
You need to complete an online sign-up form or contact Good Energy by phone and it will then start the process of switching your supply. When you sign up you can request your payments to be made using direct debit. Once this is complete, you’ll be sent a copy of your contract.
Good Energy will get in touch with your current supplier and let them know you’re leaving. It will then let you know the exact date your supply will be transferred – it usually takes about three weeks to complete the switch. On your switch date, you’ll need to send Good Energy a meter reading. Good Energy will then pass this on to your old supplier so it can issue your final bill.
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