New project could save residents hundreds of pounds a year while supporting local renewable energy schemes

  • A typical home can save over £300 a year switching to the cheapest green tariff
  • The scheme will also raise money for local renewable energy projects
  • Greater Manchester Community Renewables is one of four projects in national pilot


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A new project is hoping to raise money for local renewable energy schemes whilst saving residents hundreds of pounds a year on their energy bills.

A typical home can save more than £300 a year switching to the cheapest green tariffs.[i]

Greater Manchester Community Renewables (GMCR), the group behind the scheme, says it wants to make it as easy as possible for residents to switch to renewable electricity – and save money in the process.

The project has established a dedicated website – – where residents can compare the price of different renewable tariffs. [ii] The organisers claim it takes less than 10 minutes to get a quote and switch.

As well as helping local residents to save money, the project will raise cash for local renewable electricity projects by channelling 25% of the commission paid by green suppliers back to GMCR.[iii] GMCR director Kate Eldridge says the money will be used to help put solar panels on more local schools.

Eldridge said, “Switching to renewable electricity is a great way to help tackle climate change, but most people don’t realise it could also save them money.”

GMCR already operates a number of local green energy projects, which retain the profits from generating renewable energy within the community.[iv] Now they want to help people switch to renewable electricity providers in their own homes.

For an average home in Greater Manchester, the cheapest green tariffs available through the campaign are now within £15 to £25 of the very cheapest tariffs on the market, and hundreds of pounds cheaper than the average standard tariff with one of the country’s Big Six suppliers.[v] Recent Ofgem figures show 60% of UK homes are on a default variable tariff.[vi]

GMCR is one of four community projects taking part in a national pilot which aims to demonstrate the power of community groups as a positive force for change. Another Greater Manchester group – Oldham Community Power – is also taking part.

The national scheme is a partnership between the Big Clean Switch campaign[vii] and Project Dirt[viii], an umbrella organisation for community projects.

The Big Clean Switch is already working with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, but organisers say that while that project communicates through councils and local businesses, the new scheme is designed to work at a local level.

Big Clean Switch director Jon Fletcher said, “Community projects like GMCR have a track record in talking to local residents about environmental issues. Who better to help people save money by switching to renewable electricity?”

If successful, the organisers hope the model can be replicated in towns and cities across the country.


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[i] Typical saving calculated on 6 February 2018 by comparing an average usage dual fuel household on a Big Six Standard Variable Tariff (£1,135) with the cheapest tariff supplying 100% renewable electricity available through the Big Clean Switch website (£834). All prices are for a single rate meter paying by monthly direct debit, with prices averaged across all regions of England, Scotland and Wales. Average usage as defined by Ofgem is 12,000 kWh pa of gas and 3,100 kWh pa of electricity.

[ii] Suppliers offering green tariffs promise that the electricity used by a home will be matched by the same amount of renewable electricity going into the National Grid. Renewable electricity is power sourced from the sun, wind, water (rivers, waves and tides) and some biofuels.

[iii] Every time someone switches energy supplier through this campaign, the supplier pays Big Clean Switch a commission. This doesn’t affect the tariffs offered, which are the same price or cheaper as you’d find on the suppliers’ own websites. Big Clean Switch uses some of the money to help fund its national campaign, and shares some with its delivery partners.


[v] The cheapest open market tariff for a Greater Manchester postcode on 13 February 2018 was £811 a year for a medium consumption dual fuel household on a single rate meter paying by monthly direct debit. This compares with £828 a year for the cheapest comparable tariff available through the Big Clean Switch.

[vi] Ofgem figures sourced from its 2017 State of the Market Report:

[vii] Big Clean Switch is part of Brakkn Ltd, a ‘profit with purpose’ company with a commitment to channel part of its profits to good causes both through the commission it shares with partners and through a corporate commitment to give at least 5% of its remaining profit to climate related causes.

[viii] Project Dirt is the UK’s most active network connecting and resourcing community projects. It receives 8% of the commission paid by suppliers when someone switches, after the costs of processing the switch have been deducted.