Seeing Green in a Good Way: UK Energy Tariffs and Ways to Compare Them

Green energy is very popular right now. It seems like everyone is trying to work out ways to save more money – and the environment. The Green Energy Tariff program is yet another attempt by the government and your energy provider to help save you money by making smarter energy choices.


Here’s how it works and what it means for your bills and usage.

What’s The Green Energy Tariff Anyway?

A Green Energy Tariff is one of two things. It can refer to the supplier, which will promise to match your energy usage with power generation from a renewable source. Or, it can mean an energy provider that will contribute towards environmental schemes on your behalf.

  • The fees that you are charged for leaving are variable. In some cases, you’re not charged any fee. In other cases, you will be charged a nominal one.

Many, but not all, tariffs of this nature will charge higher than normal prices for the benefit of green energy. Which? Switch publishes a table to allow you to compare energy prices with other tariffs on the market that are available in your area. You can also learn more about green energy before you decide to make the switch.

Other Tariffs

The other tariffs common in the UK include:

  • Standard – This tariff is your supplier’s default one. It has a variable price that moves up and down with the marketplace. Sometimes, it’s called a “variable” tariff. There’s typically no fee for switching away from it because there are no fixed prices. You pay the market price for energy with no fixed end date.This tariff is good for those that want flexibility and don’t want to sign an energy contract.
  • Fixed – The fixed tariff is one that offers guaranteed standing charges. You sign a contract with your energy provider and, in return, you receive a guaranteed price fix for the term of the contract. You can’t pay more, or less, than the fixed price for energy. Because the energy company is hedging you against any potential increase in prices, it must charge a little more for the benefit and thus you must agree to pay the energy company for a length of time to cover any shortfalls the energy provider might experience in the short-term.This is a good option if you want peace of mind and regularity in your energy bills, regardless of your consumption. Many suppliers offer fixed pricing that’s cheaper than the standard tariff.
  • Dual – A dual tariff is one that provides both gas and electric from the same supplier. Sometimes, there is a fee for switching, but not always. So, ask before you do anything.This tariff is good for those that want the convenience of dealing with just one supplier. Many dual tariffs also give users a discount for signing up to both gas and electric. Which? Switch lets you see savings for separate suppliers for gas and electric.
  • Online – Online tariffs are newer energy tariffs, and require you to manage your account entirely online. In exchange, you get a discount on your gas and electric. Like other tariff options, you may or may not be charged a fee for switching.This tariff is a good option if you want the cheapest possible tariff on the market and you’re comfortable managing things yourself over the web. Most younger people enjoy the freedom of this approach and are very comfortable with it.
  • Pre-Pay – A pre-pay tariff is one that allows you to pre-pay your energy using a meter. When you “run out of energy,” you “top it up” by paying for more. You can switch suppliers if you have les than £500 of debt on your meter.This tariff is a good option if you find it difficult to manage your finances or you don’t have a good standing with an energy provider. It may be the only way for you to get energy service.

Faith Johnston is an eco-conscious woman who has worked in the property industry for 8 years. She blogs about creating green homes for property, home owner and personal finance blogs.