in partnership with Tesco


Green energy for your business

Frequently asked questions

This page answers the questions we’re asked most often about switching your business to renewable electricity and provides more information on the partnership between Big Clean Switch and Tesco.

Why is Tesco working with Big Clean Switch?

All of us will feel the effects of climate change, but for the food industry, the issue is particularly pressing. Changing weather patterns are already disrupting previously dependable supply chains. And with 6p in every £1 spent in the grocery sector dependent on the weather, unpredictable seasons make for unpredictable choices from consumers.

As well as being exposed to climate change, the food industry is well positioned to do something about it. Farming and food account for about a third of global greenhouse gas production – which is why Tesco has committed to turn its market leading influence into climate action. That doesn’t just mean slashing carbon emissions from its own operations (aiming to be net zero by 2035) – it also means supporting suppliers to take action, too.

There’s nowhere better to start than energy. Changing how much energy we use, and how we source it, is one of the fastest and lowest cost ways to cut emissions. That’s why Tesco is partnering with Big Clean Switch to help suppliers transition to low carbon sources. Our energy specialists can help identify green deals that are right for your business – and we’re often able to save you money at the same time.

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.

Is there a cost for using Big Clean Switch?

Yes. We charge for the time it takes to find you an energy deal. Unlike many energy brokers, we’re transparent about these charges from the outset. Energy brokers have traditionally charged by adding an ‘uplift’ to the amount you are charged by your supplier. By way of example, if you are on an out of contract rate and paying 25.5p per kilowatt hour (a typical rate at time of writing), a broker may find you a tariff charging 16p per kilowatt hour, but then add 2p per kilowatt hour for their fees. This is often not separated out in the charges you see on your invoice, so it’s hard to see how much the energy brokerage has cost you versus how much the supplier is charging. 

In contrast, we encourage our customers to pay a set fee for our services, rather than paying through an uplift on the unit rate. There are multiple benefits to this on both sides. You get certainty about how much you’re paying us; you don’t pay more if you use more energy; and we don’t need to wait for suppliers to pay you before we get paid. It makes sense intuitively, too – the service we’re providing is finding you the right energy deal, not selling you the actual energy. If you want to, you can still break down these charges over the life of the energy contract so you’re not paying the whole fee in one lump sum.

How much will Big Clean Switch charge?

It’s very hard to say until we’ve spoken to you. Our costs depend on how complex your needs are. If you have a lot of different sites and meters, all currently with different suppliers and end dates, there may be much more work for us than switching a single site with just a few meters. Fundamentally our pricing is informed by a few basic principles:

  • Fair: Unlike many energy brokers, we don’t believe in charging a lot just because we can. At the same time, we believe we provide a valuable service and that we should be paid fairly for doing it. 
  • Proportionate: Our fees are proportionate to the work we put in. That’s why we have to charge more for more complex businesses. 
  • Transparent: We always aim to be clear with you about how much you’ll pay and what you’re paying for.

I’m already in a contract with my current supplier. Can I use Big Clean Switch?

It’s worth contacting Big Clean Switch even if you can’t make the change right away. They’ll be able to book in time to make sure you’re considering your options early, giving you the best chance of capitalising on shifts in the wholesale markets to get a good deal when you do switch. 

Switching your business to green energy

What is ‘green electricity’?

Powering your business with green energy simply means ensuring that every unit of energy you use is matched by an equivalent unit of green energy supplied to the Grid. If all homes and businesses buy energy in this way, the whole grid will be green. Green energy is often on a par with conventional tariffs when it comes to pricing, and Big Clean Switch will help you find the right tariff for your business.

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 energy 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 homes and businesses that 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?

In most cases, 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.

Even if we work with you to install on-site generation (a solar array on a warehouse roof for instance), you’ll still be able to draw on power from the Grid when you need it.

Can I switch my gas too?

Yes. 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, but we will help you find the best options for both your gas and electricity needs. You can read more about green gas on our blog, here.

Can you help with energy in Northern Ireland?

Options are more limited, but yes we can recommend solutions for Northern Ireland.