Ecotricity claims to be “Britain’s greenest energy company”, sourcing 100% renewable electricity and ensuring its gas supplies are carbon neutral. Its roots go all the way back to 1995, making it one of Britain’s oldest energy companies. This longevity in such a volatile market makes it one of your more dependable options.
HQ: Stroud, United Kingdom
Total customers: over 200,000
Ecotricity started out selling electricity generated from landfill gas to a single customer before moving swiftly on to wind power and becoming one of the first energy providers to offer electricity from renewable sources. Nowadays all its energy is also certified vegan, with no animal products used whatsoever.
Ecotricity is keen to point out it’s not a publicly listed company, so there are no shareholders or dividends to pay out. From its earliest beginnings, Ecotricity has channelled its profits into researching and developing new sources of renewable energy to build out the volume of green energy being generated.
Most of the company’s infrastructure comes in the forms of so-called ‘mills’, its term for wind turbines, solar farms and, most recently, green gasmills. It’s currently sourcing gas from the Netherlands and is in the process of building its first UK gasmill. Gasmills generate gas from grass, which is virtually carbon neutral, sustainable and supports both food production and other species including bees. The hope is that each mill will heat the equivalent of 4,000 homes per year.
Ecotricity has also played a key role in rolling out charging points for electric vehicles. There’s the Electric Highway, a national network of Ecotricity charging points on the UK’s motorways, as well as charging points in the car parks of shopping centres. As the UK shifts to more sustainable forms of transport, Ecotricity is doing its bit to make recharging more practical and accessible.
Ecotricity’s parent, the Ecotricity Group, also runs a series of projects that go beyond simple energy production. Ecotalk is the company’s own mobile phone service, powered by 100% green electricity – its profits are used to buy up land to create vital new habitats for the benefit of wildlife. The very first plot of land bought was Lynch Knoll, a 40-acre area that has had 20,000 trees planted on it to become home to a many key native species, including deer, badgers, voles, and kestrels.
The group also owns local football club Forest Green Rovers. It was the first club to be certified carbon neutral by the UN, and is the only club endorsed by the Vegan Society, selling exclusively vegan fare at its ground. It’s not harmed the club’s fortunes on the pitch either – it was promoted to League Two in 2016-17 and made the play-offs in 2018-19.
It’s clear Ecotricity is fully committed to a greener future, from its own innovations to the many charitable donations and partnerships it’s set up.
Ecotricity doesn’t offer fixed-term tariffs like many energy providers; instead it fixes the price of its electricity and gas for 12 months from 1st October each year. This Ethical Price Promise means one tariff covers all its plans, from dual-fuel to Pay as You Go, whenever you sign up. There are also no contracts or exit fees, and all plans make use of its vegan energy: 100% renewable electricity and carbon-neutral gas.
This means that when prices change on 1st October, you can leave within 28 days of being notified of a price change. All Ecotricity tariffs are also available on an Economy 7 meter, and customers can also manage their account with the Ecotricity app.
As part of its sustainable energy goals, Ecotricity is joining the smart meter rollout that will see all customers equipped with a device by the end of 2020. Smart meters digitally record how much energy you’re using and send meter readings directly to your supplier. You can keep track of this information on a handheld Smart Energy Display you’ll receive with the smart meter. A smart meter can help you gain more control over your energy usage and bills.
With Ecotricity, a smart meter will allow you to manage your energy using an app, just as with a regular tariff. It also provides installation with its partner meter operator, whilst offering information on what smart meters are and how to use them. If you’re having problems with your Ecotricity smart meter, it also operates a 7-day phoneline for to help as well as a 24-hour automated hotline for topping up your pay-as-you-go meter.
Unsurprisingly given its sustainable credentials, Ecotricity is part of the smart meter rollout that aims to see all customers equipped with a device by the end of 2020. Smart meters digitally record your energy consumption and send meter readings directly to your supplier, ensuring your bills are accurate and giving you more control over your energy usage. They also allow you to keep track of your consumption through a handheld Smart Energy Display that’s delivered alongside your smart meter.
As with regular tariffs, Ecotricity also lets you manage your energy using an app – that includes topping up your prepayment meter without having to trek to the nearest PayPoint outlet. Look out too for 7-day phonelines offering help with using your new Ecotricity smart meter, as well as a 24-hour automated hotline should you wish to top up your pay-as-you-go meter.
The goal of Ecotricity EV charging is to provide green energy at home and on the road for electric vehicles. To facilitate this, Ecotricity offers a Fully Charged Bundle energy tariff, which provides a discounted electricity rate on EV charging at home plus a half-price deal (currently 15p/kWh instead of 30p/kWh) when charging on the Electric Highway. Ecotricity also offers a £40 discount on purchasing a home EV charger if you switch to the Fully Charged Bundle, all of which it claims adds up to a saving of over £165 in your first year.
Ecotricity’s commitment to the environment above and beyond its commitment to green energy make it an excellent choice if you want to minimise the environmental footprint of your energy supply. Its pricing is less competitive, however, but the company’s no contract/no exit fee approach coupled with its Ethical Price Promise means Ecotricity remains a good option for those concerned about flexibility and price.