Lowering bills, cutting carbon

Big Clean Switch FAQs

The information on this page is provided by Big Clean Switch.
Common questions
We’ve tried to answer the most common questions asked below, but if you have any other questions please get in contact with us directly. You can reach us at help@bigcleanswitch.org or on 0800 008 7690.
Big Clean Switch
Who are Big Clean Switch?
Big Clean Switch are part of Brakkn Ltd (company number 11085677). Brakkn is a ‘profit with purpose’ company, which means that it sees creating social and environmental value as going hand in hand with creating value for shareholders. It has a commitment to putting a proportion of its profits towards climate-related causes. Big Clean Switch is funded through the commission we receive from a supplier whenever someone switches to clean electricity through the campaign. Where Big Clean Switch works with organisations like Bank of America, it passes at least half of the commission it receives from suppliers on to those partners (after deducting the costs of processing the switch). Most partners use this to support good causes.
What has Bank of America chosen to do with the commission?

For each switch made, around £20 of the commission Big Clean Switch receives from the supplier goes back to one of Bank of America’s environmental philanthropy partners enabling Bank of America employees the power to do good.

This doesn’t affect the price of the tariffs we offer (which are the same price as they are on suppliers’ own websites, other than where we’ve negotiated an even better deal).

Why should I use the Big Clean Switch site?

Big Clean Switch is different to a normal switching website. We’ve looked hard at all of the energy companies we work with to make sure they live up to our environmental and customer service standards. We’ve got a set of criteria to govern the suppliers and the tariffs we list on our site, so that you can have peace of mind that the suppliers listed are doing the right things.

Everyone who switches through us is also protected by our Big Clean Switch Guarantee, which means in the unlikely event you have a problem you can’t resolve with your new supplier, we’ll take it up with them on your behalf.

Plus, by switching through us, you’ll be helping to fund the work of Bank of America’s environmental philanthropy partners

The basics
What is ‘renewable electricity’?
Different types of renewable electricity sources include wind power, solar power, hydro power, bioenergy, tidal and wave power. Electricity that comes from renewable sources is kinder to the environment compared to traditional fossil fuels that can cause air pollution and contribute to climate change (oil, gas etc).
Why is renewable electricity a good thing?
Traditionally, electricity has been generated by burning fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas. Generating power in this way causes air pollution and releases gases like carbon dioxide that contribute to climate change, so there is global agreement that we need to massively reduce our dependency on them. This also makes sense because these energy sources take millions of years to develop, and as we use them up, they’re getting more and more difficult, expensive and environmentally damaging to get out of the ground. In contrast, renewable electricity sources won’t run out in this way, and have much lower climate change impacts.
What is ‘clean electricity’?
‘Clean electricity’ is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘renewable electricity’. Renewable electricity is considered ‘clean’ because it has a much smaller impact on our climate, and also because most renewable electricity sources have very low impacts in relation to air pollution.
Isn’t renewable electricity expensive?
Far from it. As more and more renewable electricity generation has been installed, the cost of building and installing the equipment has fallen.
About 100% renewable tariffs
Doesn’t all electricity come from the National Grid? How do 100% renewable electricity tariffs work?
When you’re on a renewable electricity tariff, your supplier promises that, however much electricity you use in your home, the same amount of renewable electricity will be put into the National Grid. The more this happens, the greener the Grid will get. Because you’re still getting your electricity from the National Grid, there’s no need for engineers’ visits and no disruption to your supply when you switch.
Is there a risk that I’ll lose power when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow?
You’ll still get your electricity from the National Grid, which manages the UK’s electricity supply to ensure everyone always has enough power. At the moment, this means we still need some fossil fuel or nuclear generation to provide power when conditions aren’t right for renewables, but this can be reduced by having a diverse range of renewable power sources, using batteries to store energy when conditions are right, and using smart technology to reduce the amount of power we need.
Can I switch my gas too?
Yes, although so far, gas from renewable sources still makes up a very small proportion of the gas used by UK homes, so very few suppliers offer ‘100% renewable gas’ in the same way as you can get 100% renewable electricity. Where they do, this will be shown on the Big Clean Switch website in the tariff description.
About switching
How easy is it to switch?
Switching is simple and there are no upfront costs. Signing up takes less than 10 minutes.
Note that if you are on a fixed term tariff with your current supplier, they may charge you an exit fee for leaving early. However, switching may still be worth your while if the savings outweigh the penalty.
How is my quote calculated?
Our website uses the amount you pay through your current tariff and the information you give us on how much energy you use to calculate an estimate for how much you currently spend a year. It then compares this with how much you’ll pay for each of the tariffs on our site. Bear in mind that if you’re on a fixed tariff that comes to an end in the next 12 months, the site will assume that you’ll drop onto your current supplier’s default tariff. The cost of their default tariff will often be higher than your fixed rate. Our site will take that into account when it generates your quote. As a result, the estimate for how much you’ll pay over a year will factor in any extra cost associated with rolling onto your supplier’s default rate.
How does switching supplier work?
Once you’ve completed your switching application with Big Clean Switch, we’ll send your details to your new supplier (for more about how Big Clean Switch processes your data, click here). The day after you submit your application also marks the beginning of a 14 day cooling off period, during which you are free to change your mind and cancel your switch. During this 14 day period, your new supplier will contact your current supplier to let them know you’re moving, make sure your account is in order, and set a date for the switch (which they’ll then tell you about). This is typically about three weeks from the date of your switch application. On that day, you’ll stop paying your old company for your energy (they’ll send you a final bill up to that date), and start paying the new one. You may be asked to submit a meter reading on that day, too.
Will I be charged for switching?
No, switching is free. Big Clean Switch is funded from commission paid by suppliers. This doesn’t affect the price of the tariffs we offer (which are the same price as they are on suppliers’ own websites, other than where we’ve negotiated an even better deal).
Do I need to contact my old supplier to let them know I’m switching?
No. We’ll let your new supplier know that you want to switch to them, and they’ll contact your old supplier for you. If your old supplier confirms that the account isn’t in arrears, your new supplier will then confirm the switch date with you.
Do I have to pay to leave my current supplier?
If your current supplier has promised to keep the price you pay for a unit of electricity the same for a certain period (known as a ‘fixed tariff’), then they may charge you a penalty for leaving them before the end of that time (usually a year, although some fixed tariffs last longer). However, switching may still be worth your while if the savings outweigh the penalty. If you think an early-leaving charge might apply to you, give us a ring on 0800 249 4770 and we can talk you through the options.
How will my data be used?
When you enter your details into this website, Big Clean Switch will use them to communicate with you about switching to renewable electricity, to allow you to compare the price of a range of renewable electricity tariffs with your current supplier, and to facilitate your switch if you choose to proceed. We will also share some of your data with third parties such as My Utility Genius, which provides the price comparison functionality on our website, or to agencies we may use to help us communicate with you about switching to renewable electricity. We will also pass some data back to Bank of America to allow them to monitor the success of the campaign and ensure their communications are tailored to your needs. We will never sell your data or pass it to other companies to allow them to market their own products and services. For more information on how your data will be used by Big Clean Switch, please see our privacy policy.
I’ve never heard of the suppliers on your site. Can I trust them?
Smaller suppliers make up a growing part of the UK energy market, and many are leaders when it comes to customer service. We review the customer service and environmental credentials of every supplier we work with, so that you can switch with confidence, and we make a simple promise to all our users: if you have a problem that you can’t resolve directly with your new supplier, we’ll take it up with them on your behalf.
I rent my home. Can I still switch?
Yes, if you’re responsible for paying your energy bills, you can switch. Even if your landlord pays the energy bills, why not tell them that they could also switch and save money in the process?
I have a smart meter with my current supplier. Can I still switch?
You can still switch, but you may have to provide manual meter readings to your new supplier for a while. Most suppliers are now rolling out a new generation of smart meters which will allow you to switch providers without losing functionality – if you don’t have one, you can ask your new supplier to install one.
I’m on a pre-payment meter. Can I still benefit from switching?
Yes you can still switch. However, your choice of tariffs will be more limited and the annual savings will be significantly less than for other meter types. It is still worth considering switching though, as you will be able to guarantee that your electricity comes from renewable sources which are kinder to the environment.
I’ve been asked for my meter number. How do I find this out?
In most cases, our system can identify your meter numbers automatically by looking up your address in a national database. Occasionally, however, this information can’t be found in the database, and you’ll need to enter your meter number manually. There are two types of meter number – one for gas, known as an MPRN (meter point reference number) and one for electricity, known as an MPAN (metering point administration number). If you can’t find the number on the meter itself, both numbers should be shown on a past bill. If you don’t have a past bill, then give us a call and we’ll source the numbers for you. You can reach us on 0800 249 4770.
My switch was cancelled because my old supplier said the account was in arrears. Can I still switch?
Yes. Once your account with your old supplier is paid up to date, you can submit your switch application again – or phone us and we’ll process the switch over the phone.
More about renewable electricity
What are biofuels and are they better than fossil fuels?
Trees and plants act like solar batteries, capturing the sun’s energy and storing it. This energy can be converted into electricity – either by burning it if it is combustible (which is known as biomass) – or by allowing it to rot, and then burning the gases released in the process. Because new crops can be planted to replace trees and plants used to generate electricity, biofuels are considered renewable. And although burning these plants – or the gases they release as they break down – releases greenhouse gases, the new crops that replace them will absorb similar gases from the atmosphere, which means they have a much smaller impact on our climate than fossil fuels.
Homes with solar panels
I have (or am thinking about getting) solar panels – can I still switch?
Yes, absolutely. You are free to switch your supply to a different provider in exactly the same way as a house without solar panels. Your Feed In Tariff arrangement will remain unchanged.