- Go to uSwitch and sign up to run your home on certified 100% renewable electricity.
- Spread the word! See if your electricity supplier will send you a certificate to stick on the fridge and get others talking.
- Speak to friends, family and neighbours, especially those less familiar with online comparison sites, and help them switch to a green tariff.
You know you’re a dad when you find yourself running round the house shouting at everyone to turn off the lights.
‘But you said it’s green power!’ the kids shout back, as though I should be delighted to waste money for the cause.
Even without their help, our monthly electricity bill is huge. Not only is our home stuffed with all the usual modern gadgetry constantly sucking power, from tablets and tellies to toothbrushes and… other things beginning with ’t’, but both we and our two holiday cottages all run off the same supply – and one of those cottages gets all its heating and hot water entirely from electricity. As a result, despite my best efforts, our meter steamrollers through the days and nights, notching up around 13,500kWh per year (these days that’s about £1,860). And that doesn’t take into account the increase from charging an electric car.
High bills + tight dad = constant jumping from one best deal to the next. It’s easy to do: there are a number of comparison sites and, with just a bit of information (postcode and approximate usage, which is always listed on my latest bill), they can quickly point me towards the cheapest supplier, green or otherwise. From there, it’s equally simple: a couple of clicks, a few personal details, and my new provider takes care of all the rest. I can even arrange for an email when a cheaper tariff becomes available elsewhere.
Importantly, nothing actually changes at home – the supply continues, uninterrupted. All that happens is that a different company sends me my bills and takes my Direct Debit, and I get the consolation of knowing that, if the kids are going to leave the lights on, it’s not unnecessarily spewing carbon into the atmosphere.
The downside – of course there’s a downside! – is that it can sometimes be a bit more expensive. As I see it, that’s because I’m no longer asking the planet to pay the difference. (Have a read here if you’re wondering why, if sunshine and wind are free, green electricity can be more expensive.)
It’s not always costlier, though; right now, across the whole field of providers, the most competitive is my current green supplier. And even if it was a bit more expensive, the buzz I get from knowing that everything in our home is powered by clean energy would be worth the extra pounds. Especially if, as the kids leave the lights on, I can just claw back the difference from their pocket money.
(That’s a joke, of course… I’m far too tight to give them pocket money.)