in partnership with Sky Zero

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Frequently asked questions

This page answers the questions we’re asked most often about switching to renewable electricity. It also provides more information on the partnership between Big Clean Switch and Sky, and our exclusive account credit offer for Sky employees.

About this promotion

 

Why is Sky working with Big Clean Switch?

“Sky is going net zero carbon by 2030, because the world can’t wait. We’re committed to helping our employees cut their carbon footprint and switching to a renewable energy tariff is one of the simplest ways to do this. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Big Clean Switch to help you #GoZero”
Fiona Ball, Director of Bigger Picture, Sky

Who is Big Clean Switch?

Big Clean Switch is part of Brakkn Ltd. Brakkn is a B Corp, which means that it sees creating social and environmental value as going hand in hand with creating value for shareholders. Its mission is to help ensure every home and business in Great Britain is powered by green electricity. 

The £35 of free energy offer

How does it work?

Use the dedicated Sky page on the Big Clean Switch website to compare the price of green suppliers with what you’ll pay if you do nothing and stay with your current provider. In the first half of this year, homes switching through Big Clean Switch saved over £270 a year on average, so most homes will already see some big savings.

When you switch to most of the suppliers available through Big Clean Switch, you’ll automatically receive a £35 account credit. The credit will be applied within six weeks of the switch going live, and participating suppliers are indicated in your quote results. 

If you choose a supplier that isn’t participating in the account credit offer, Sky will donate £35 to the Woodland Trust to plant trees instead. Trees remove greenhouse gases from the air, so not only will your switch reduce your carbon footprint at source, you’ll also help create more natural carbon sinks.

How is the account credit funded?

When you switch your energy provider through a comparison site like Big Clean Switch, they receive an ‘introducer fee’ from the supplier. Sky has arranged for their share of the commission to be converted into an exclusive £35 account credit to maximise savings.

Which suppliers are taking part?

Switch to any of the following suppliers through the Sky Zero Big Clean Switch page and they will credit your account with £35 within six weeks of the switch going live:

Ecotricity
GoTo Energy
Octopus Energy
People’s Energy
So Energy

Am I guaranteed to save money?

Big Clean Switch vets the suppliers they work with to make sure that their customer service and environmental credentials are up to scratch. So, while most people will save money switching through our site, we would never claim to offer the very cheapest tariff on the market. To find the very cheapest tariff, try searching a whole market comparison site. You can find a list on Ofgem’s website, here.  

Is the promotion available in Northern Ireland?

Unfortunately not. The energy system is different in Northern Ireland and we are unable to help switch customers in Northern Ireland at this time.

Switching to a green tariff

What is ‘renewable electricity’?

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. These energy sources also 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 like wind and solar power won’t run out in this way, and are far less damaging in terms of climate change. In fact, once a wind turbine or solar panel has been installed, the electricity it produces is ‘zero carbon’!

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. You can read more about what affects the price of green tariffs here.

Doesn’t all electricity come from the National Grid? How do 100% renewable electricity tariffs work?

Renewable power sources like wind turbines and solar farms all feed their energy into the National Grid, like rivers running into a big lake. When you switch to a green tariff, your supplier guarantees that however much electricity you take out of the ‘lake’, the same amount of renewable electricity will be pumped in. The more people who switch to green tariffs, the cleaner the lake gets.

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, if your home has gas, select this option when you get your quote. All the prices shown will then be ‘dual fuel’ (electricity and gas combined).

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. You can read more about green gas on our blog, here.

How easy is it to switch?

Switching is simple and there are no upfront costs. Signing up takes less than 10 minutes. It’s useful to have an energy bill to hand from your current supplier.

How is my quote calculated?

Our website uses your current tariff rates, and the information you give us on how much energy you use, to estimate what you’ll spend over the next 12 months if you do nothing and stay with your current supplier. It then compares this with how much you’ll pay for each of the tariffs on our site. 

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. 

You can see how your quote has been calculated by clicking on ‘more info’ underneath the ‘Switch’ button on the results page, then scrolling down to ‘Personal Projection’.

What happens once I’ve submitted my switch application?

The process is simple (in short, your new supplier does all the work!). 

  1. 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). Submitting your application also starts a 14 day cooling off period, during which you are free to change your mind and cancel your switch.
  2. Within 48 hours of submitting your application, your new supplier will contact you to welcome you and to confirm when your switch is due to go live. In the background, your new supplier will also contact your current supplier to let them know you’re moving.
  3. A few days before your go live date, your new supplier will probably ask you for a meter reading. They’ll pass this to your old supplier so they can issue a final bill.
  4. Your switch will go live 14-21 days after your application is submitted. 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 – and that’s it!

Will I be charged for switching?

There is no fee for using this service – 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).

Remember, though, that 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).

Even if this is the case, you can submit a switch application through our site anytime within the last 56 days of your contract and not be charged. This is because Ofgem rules prevent your current supplier charging you a penalty if your switch goes live in the final 42 days of your contract. 

Once you’ve submitted your switch application, there is a mandatory cooling off period of 14 days before the switch goes live. The 42 days plus the 14 day cooling off period means you can submit an application in the final 56 days without incurring a fee.

You can see the Ofgem rules here (it’s a bit buried in the ‘Fairer Treatment’ section).

If you’ve more than 56 days to go, 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.

Do I need to contact my old supplier to let them know I’m switching?

No. Your new supplier will contact the old supplier for you. 

How will my data be used?

When you use Big Clean Switch, we use the details you provide 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 MyUtilityGenius, 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 Sky 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?

Probably. The golden rule to remember is that if you’re responsible for paying your energy bills, you can switch (some landlords may include clauses in their tenancy agreements forbidding this, but this is not allowed by law). You can read the government’s guidance for tenants here. Even if your landlord pays the energy bills, why not tell them that they could also switch and help the planet and even 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 a smart meter, 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’m on a pre-payment meter. Will I still qualify for the £35 account credit?

Yes. Although fewer suppliers support prepayment meters, one of our panel – Ecotricity – does, and better still, they’re able to process your Sky £35 account credit. How this works will depend on your particular circumstances:

If you have a smart prepayment meter (where you top up online) they will apply the account credit to your online account

If you don’t have a smart prepayment meter (which means you have to take a key or card to a shop to top up), then:

• if you have debt on your account, they will first use the account credit to help clear the debt;

• if you don’t have debt on your account, or some of the account credit is left over once the debt has been cleared, they will send a cheque for the balance of the £35, made out to the account holder, to the supply address.

Because the process for supporting prepayment meters can be more manual, please allow up to eight weeks for the credit to be applied.

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. Note that a full MPAN is 21 digits long – it may be printed on your bill across two rows. If you don’t have a past bill, drop us a message on live chat and we’ll be able to help.

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.

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.