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Best renewable energy companies

Which are the best renewable energy companies to switch to?

Disclaimer: The information on this page was correct as of August 20, 2021.

With so many different energy suppliers to choose from, there’s no need to stay with the ‘Big Six’. In fact, why not save money and the environment with one of the 100% renewable energy companies that are on the rise? We’ve brought together a list of energy suppliers for you to compare and save. As always, we’ve got you covered.

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Who’s competing?

We’ve picked 5 of the many renewable energy companies to compare and stacked them up against each other to find the best 100% renewable energy provider.

Bulb

Bulb is one of the most recognised renewable energy providers at the moment. Since they started in 2015, they’ve provided 100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon-neutral gas to an impressive 1.6 million households across the UK.

More about Bulb

Octopus Energy

With 1.5 million customers having switched since 2016, Octopus Energy is Bulb’s biggest competitor as a 100% renewable energy provider. It’s teamed up with almost 100 small-scale solar, wind, and hydropower generators across the UK to provide 110gWh to their customers.

Octopus Energy has taken over Co-Op Energy and M&S Energy, both of which were also 100% renewable energy companies before the merge.

More about Octopus Energy

OVO Energy

OVO Energy has recently made the switch to 100% renewable energy as part of their pledge to get to zero carbon by 2030. Previously, their electricity was 48.1% natural gas, however, on 1st October 2020, they removed that from their fuel mix and now offer 100% renewable energy as standard on all tariffs.

OVO haven’t broken down their renewable fuel mix, however, their Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificates tell us that OVO Energy now generates their energy from wind farms, solar parks, and hydropower stations across the UK.

More about OVO Energy

Shell Energy

Shell is often associated with fuel stations, however, Shell Energy is one of the 10 biggest energy companies in the UK. It was originally called First Utility, however, it rebranded to Shell Energy in 2018. Shell Energy have also bought out 100% renewable energy companies Green Star Energy and Usio.

Shell Energy hasn’t broken down their renewable fuel mix, however, their REGO certificates tell us that their renewable energy comes from solar power, wind power, and bioenergy.

With their ‘Go Further’ tariff, you can ensure that your gas and electricity is carbon neutral as the carbon dioxide emissions given off by harnessing renewable energy sources are offset by restoring natural ecosystems.

More about Shell Energy

Good Energy

Good Energy was founded in 1999 when it became the UK’s first 100% renewable energy provider. They have their own solar and wind farms as well as using hydropower and bioenergy bought from generators across the UK. While their gas is only 10% renewable biogas, the rest is offset by supporting projects that improve access to renewable energy sources around the world.

More about Good Energy

Reviews

One of the first things you look for when switching energy providers is what their customers think of them. Providers will always show their best side, but reviewers show their true colours.

Bulb

Bulb has very high ratings across the board for their customer service, ease of switching, and value for money. Despite the high ratings from the majority of review websites, their lower ratings are mostly about trouble with price increases and difficulty getting in contact.

Octopus Energy

Octopus Energy keeps up high ratings across its customer base, so there’s no doubt they’re one of the best renewable energy companies about. They are consistently praised for their customer service and easy-to-use website and reviewers seem very happy with how easy it is to switch and submit meter readings, no matter how tech-savvy you are. However, once again, the negative reviews are mainly about billing issues and prices increasing.

OVO Energy

OVO Energy receives consistently high ratings due to its high-quality customer service and their speed of fixing any problems which may arise. They’re a transparent provider who accepts that they’re not the cheapest out there, however, customers seem hesitant to switch away due to their great deals, customer service, and easy to understand bills. However, some people are having difficulty with faulty meters which are taking a lot of time to fix. Alongside this, their call waiting times seem to be quite high for a lot of customers and end up being quite costly.

Shell Energy

Shell Energy seems to have mixed reviews across the board. Their positive reviews praise their customer service and how quickly complaints are resolved. People enjoy the Shell Energy app and how informative and transparent it is when it comes to billing and energy usage. On the flip side, they do have a high complaint rate. Many of these are complaints about it being difficult to contact Shell Energy and issues with increasing or high costs and debts where there shouldn’t be any.

Good Energy

Good Energy has a range of different reviews across the board. This year, it didn’t rank in the Which? Energy satisfaction survey, however, it seems to be fairly well-rated elsewhere. According to reviews, customers seem to be sticking with Good Energy for many years without any trouble. Some customers are reporting issues when switching to Good Energy, however, they were resolved quickly and easily by the customer service team, earning them high reviews.

The Verdict

We’ve added up the scores from 5 different review websites and stacked each provider up against each other.

Provider Score More information
Bulb 74.5%
Octopus Energy 83.75%
OVO Energy 80.5%
Shell Energy 57%
Good Energy 69.75%

After this round, Octopus Energy is in the lead with an average score of 83.75%.

Complaints and resolution

Energy providers have to share their complaints data every quarter. We’ve looked at Q3 of 2020 (July-September) to see how many complaints each provider has had and how they’ve handled them.

Provider Complaints per 100,000 customers Complaints resolved Complaints resolved within 1 working day Complaints resolved within 8 weeks
Bulb 1962 87.8% 45% 97%
Octopus Energy 475 99.9% 66% 93%
OVO Energy 366 83.8% n/a* n/a*
Shell Energy 1858 97.7% 47% 93%
Good Energy 1145 97.4% 61% 83%

*These numbers weren’t shared by the provider

The Verdict

While OVO received the least number of complaints per 100,000 customers, they also had the lowest resolution rate.

As reflected in their reviews alongside their complaints data, customers don’t seem to have many problems with Octopus Energy but, if they do, almost all of them are resolved and very quickly.

Octopus Energy is still in the lead in complaints resolution.

Tariffs and prices

Most energy providers have a huge range of different tariffs to suit everyone. Some tariff and meter types tend to be more expensive than others, however, it’s easy to save money when you switch.

Bulb

Unlike a lot of energy providers, Bulb only offers one electricity and one gas tariff, both called Vari-Fair. They’re variable tariffs, which means that energy prices can increase and decrease regularly. However, Vari-Fair has no exit fees or tariff end dates, which is great if you’re looking to switch.

Octopus Energy

Like most energy providers, Octopus Energy has a huge range of tariffs to choose from. Their 3 main ones are OctopusFixed, FlexibleOctopus, OctopusTracker, and SupergreenOctopus.

  • OctopusFixed is the most popular tariff, with fixed prices for 12 months
  • FlexibleOctopus’ prices change regularly but you’re given 30 days’ notice of any changes
  • OctopusTracker’s prices can change daily depending on the wholesale price of energy
  • SupergreenOctopus’ electricity is matched by 100% renewable sources and gas is fully carbon offset

They also have a number of different smart tariffs to suit people who use their electricity outside of peak times or power their homes by solar power.

OVO Energy

OVO Energy has 4 main plans:

  • Better Smart Energy, which is for new customers who don’t have a smart meter. This is their lowest rate, however, this is the only plan where you’ll have to agree to upgrade to a smart meter to take advantage of this tariff.
  • Better Energy, which is a 12-month fixed price tariff, protecting you against price rises for the year. You don’t have to have a smart meter for this tariff.
  • 2-Year Fixed Energy, which is OVO’s most popular fixed-rate tariff and has 2 years of protection from price changes. You don’t need a smart meter to take advantage of this tariff.
  • Simpler Energy, which has variable rates, meaning that prices can go up or down. This is often the most expensive tariff which you can be switched to when your old tariff runs out. You don’t need a smart meter for this tariff.

All of their tariffs are now 100% renewable and come with interest on your energy credit balance. You get 3% interest in your first year, 4% in your second, and 5% in all of the years following.

Shell Energy

Shell has a huge range of different tariffs available to suit different customers. Some of their tariffs include smart technology such as a Google Nest and smart meters. With Shell Energy, you can earn exclusive rewards with Shell Go+ on all of their energy tariffs.

  • Fixed Energy has fixed prices for the duration of your contract and you can benefit from a discount if you switch your broadband provider to Shell Energy too.
  • Fixed Energy Plus Nest Audio includes a free Google Nest and has fixed prices for the duration of your contract.
  • Go Further is a carbon-neutral tariff, and you’ll receive carbon credits for gas and electricity.
  • Fully Flexible has variable prices which can change regularly. This is generally the most expensive, however, you can get a discount if you switch your broadband provider to Shell Energy.

Good Energy

Good Energy only has three tariffs available for most customers: fixed, flexible, and electric vehicle. All of these electricity tariffs are 100% renewable and their gas tariffs are carbon neutral. None of their tariffs have any exit fees, so you’re free to switch whenever you like, however, customers seem to be happy to stay with Good Energy for many years.

With their electric vehicle tariff, there is a lower unit rate to allow you to charge your vehicle for a great price. It’s a fixed tariff, so prices won’t change until your tariff ends and you can enjoy the low unit rates for years to come.

If you have a heat pump, however, there’s a new tariff available called Green Heat. You’ll be able to benefit from seasonal unit rates – costing less in the autumn and winter when you’re using more energy. From October to March there will be no standing charges to help you pay even less when your pump is in use.

The Verdict

If you’re looking to switch to a renewable energy provider, the most likely thing you’re going to be considering is the cost. Can you save money?

(Quotes made on 7/12/2020 based on the average London home using 3,100kWh electricity and 12,500kWh gas per year paid by direct debit)

Once again, Octopus Energy is at the top of the leaderboard, followed very closely by OVO Energy.

Awards

While reviews can be trustworthy, a lot of people only leave reviews when they’ve had a bad experience with a company. Awards are a great way to see what each provider has achieved and how much you can trust them.

Bulb

In 2018, Bulb was ranked in the top 25 tech start-ups to work for, according to LinkedIn. They claimed that they had a 0% gender wage gap, however, it was proven that the women in their company were actually earning 1.8% more than the men.

In the 2020 Uswitch Energy Awards, Bulb won Best Value for Money, Most Likely to be Recommended, Best Deal for You, and Best Green Services. With a score of 91%, Bulb came second in line for Energy Supplier of the Year (won by Octopus Energy).

They were also runners up for Best Online Experience (won by Octopus Energy), Best Energy Saving Support (won by Utility Warehouse), Best Account Management (won by OVO), Easiest to Switch to (won by Octopus Energy), and Best Billing Services (won by OVO).

Octopus Energy

Octopus Energy has won all kinds of different awards, especially the Uswitch Awards. In 2020 alone, they won Energy Supplier of the Year, Best Customer Service, Best Online Experience, and Easiest to Switch to.

They were also the runners up of Best Value for Money (won by Bulb), Most Likely to be Recommended (won by Bulb), Bet Meter Reading Service (won by OVO), and Best Deal for You (won by Bulb).

OVO Energy

OVO Energy had a great year at the Uswitch Energy Awards 2020, coming out with 5 wins. They came top in Best Rewards, Best Account Management, Best Smart Meter Experience, Best Meter Reading Services, and Best Billing Services. They were also the runner up for the Best App, which was won by Utilita.

They consistently rank high in the Which? Customer Service Satisfaction Survey, having come top two years in a row.

Shell Energy

Resolver has named Shell Energy as one of the top 3 energy providers for customer service excellence out of 26,000 cases in 2020. This is reflected in a lot of their online reviews by customers. They also won several different customer service awards as First Utility.

Good Energy

In 2015 and 2016, Good Energy was in the top 10 most ethical companies, according to the Good Shopping Guide. This was taken from research carried out by the Ethical Company Organisation.

They have also won Social Impact Company of the Year in the Small Cap Awards two years in a row thanks to their dedication to renewable energy and the environment.

The Verdict

Depending on what you’re looking for in a company, you’ll be looking for different awards. If you’re looking for the provider with the greenest awards, Good Energy has an abundance, but if you’re looking for an all-rounder, Bulb has the most variety in their awards.

Smart meters

Energy providers are being encouraged to install smart meters across the country to help reach the Government’s goal of becoming carbon net-zero by 2030. In March 2020, over 19,000 smart meters were being installed daily, however, this dropped significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this drop, the Government is urging providers to have smart meters installed in at least 85% of homes by June 2025.

All of the providers we’re comparing are currently installing second-generation smart meters (SMETS2). Octopus Energy is also installing first-generation smart meters (SMETS1) to those who need them due to a low supply of SMETS2 meters. However, you might have some issues with your smart meter if you have a SMETS1 meter and are switching to a provider which uses SMETS2 meters.

Automatic meter readings!

Did you know that with a smart meter you’ll never have to submit a meter reading again! 100% accurate bills, all the time. Give us a call to find out more about automatic meter readings.

Warm Home Discount

Bulb, Octopus Energy, OVO Energy, and Shell Energy all offer the Warm Home Discount. This is a Government-led scheme aimed to tackle fuel poverty in the UK. Vulnerable and low-income customers can claim £140 to go towards their energy bill over the winter months.

There are two groups of people eligible for the Warm Home Discount:

The core group is for those who receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit. If you’re eligible, you’ll be enrolled automatically and will have received a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions letting you know.

The broader group is for households on low-income. To be in this group, you’ll be on certain benefits and have to apply every year. The eligibility for this group varies by provider, so check your eligibility using the links below before you apply.

Unfortunately, Good Energy doesn’t offer the Warm Home Discount, however, if you’re in the core group and you switch in the application window, you’ll still be able to receive the discount.

Get £140 from the Warm Home Discount

Let us guide you through the Warm Home Discount and find you the right tariff that can also give you an additional £140 from the Warm Home Discount.

If you need some more help...

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This page was written by...

Polly Tyler

I've loved writing since I was a child and have worked on a number of different projects since I left school, including journalism, copywriting, and marketing. Utilty Switchboard has given me the opportunity to grow my knowledge and experience and I've loved every minute!

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