Ecotricity Energy Review
Ecotricity is one of the more outlandish suppliers on the UK energy market.
The provider is a “not-for-dividend” company that doesn’t answer to a board or shareholders – instead its vision is to radically change how we view the energy we use.
There’s a lot to admire about the company started by entrepreneur Dale Vince in 1996.
SEE IF YOU COULD BE SAVING WITH ECOTRICITY
Ecotricity’s profits are used to fund investment in eco-friendly energy sources, they have an ethical pricing model (more on this later) and, like Good Energy, it claims to provide 100% renewable power.
The company specialises in green energy generated from wind-turbines dotted around Gloucestershire.
What’s not to love?
Well, if all you're interested in is cold, hard price, then you will want to shop around as Ecotricity are from the cheapest.
Take a look at our Ecotricity review and see if they can put the wind in your sails.
Ecotricity’s tariff structure is incredibly straightforward: they offer one for electricity and one for gas. And that’s it!
You can fuse them together for what Ecotricity calls ‘the ultimate green dual fuel’.
Green electricity: 100% green electricity supplied to your home.
Green gas: Ecotricity guarantee your gas is frack-free, meaning they will never source it from shale. Currently, the gas is only 5% green.
Top Tip: If you drive an electric car, Ecotricity will give you a £40 discount on your tariff – the equivalent to 1000 free miles.
To get a quote from Ecotricity, you have to whack in your postcode and fill out a bunch of questions on its website.
Ecotricity’s tariffs are competitive, but undoubtedly more expensive than those offered by the market leaders; Which? reviewed Ecotricity 3/5 stars for value for money.
Ecotricity ethical pricing policy
Ecotricity's ethical pricing policy means all customers are placed on the latest best price – even those on pre-payment metres.
And it doesn’t matter when you joined them – it’s an ‘all for one, one for all’ approach and we think it’s quite refreshing.
Here’s another bonus: there’s no exit fees; if you switch to Ecotricity, but get cold feet or find out its not for you, you won’t be penalised for jumping ship. A positive point to note in our Ecotricity review.
Prices haven’t been raised since January 2013 and on February 12 this year it slashed customers’ bills by 7%.
The price-cut came into effect on April 1 and, because all customers are on the same gas tariff, every customer saved an average of £50 a year.
Top Tip: Get a friend to sign up and Ecotricity will give you both a £50 voucher to spend at shopping website Ecotopia.
On its website Ecotricity claims a bloke called Simon earned a staggering £4000 in vouchers.
The power is in your hands to switch energy provider.
Ecotricity customer service
Ecotricity’s ethical approach is reflected in the way it deals with its customers.
Which? awarded it 4 stars for customer service and an impressive 5 stars for dealing with complaints.
The study’s findings are supported by data from the industry regulator, Ofgem, which revealed that Ecotricity has the lowest number of complaints per 1,000 customers in the industry.
Moreover, it has held that record for the past five years.
Between July and September 2016, Ecotricity received just 633 complaints per 100,000 customer accounts - the lowest number among the smaller providers.
To put that figure in perspective, in the same period, First Utility received 1,091 complaints per 100,000 accounts.
Of course, this is in part a question of scale - bigger providers with more customers have more to manage - but it's still mighty impressive.
Between July and September 2016, Ecotricity resolved 43% of issues within one working day; that's better than Co-op (30%) and Ovo (also 30%), but worse than Utilita (84%) and Spark Energy (71%).
You can contact Ecotricity through all the usual channels - phone lines and email - or make a complaint using A Spokesman Said.
As with all small providers, the worry is that as they grow customer service teething problems will start to appear.
But for now at least, Ecotricity is doing pretty well and leading to positive reviews.
COULD ECOTRICITY BE THE BEST OPTION FOR YOU?
We found Ecotricity's website a bit clunky and difficult to navigate.
The online account is more limited than other energy company’s offerings, allowing you to submit meter readings and access 24 support lines.
Ecotricity’s free app for Android and iOS, which has a 3.5 star rating on the Apple store, is also a little threadbare.
For example, you can’t currently view or pay bills (although Ecotricity promises new features will be available soon).
Find a cheaper energy deal using A Spokesman Said
There’s little doubt that Ecotricity is one of the greenest suppliers on the market. Up there with other providers like Bulb and far ahead of others like Iresa.
Their ‘Frack-Free Guarantee’ means customers can be certain they’re not using gas sourced from the controversial drilling technique.
Ecotricity spends on average £265 per year, per customer, on developing more eco-friendly ways to produce energy.
This puts it streets ahead of its rivals in the Big Six; British Gas, for example, spends just up to £32 on average per customer.
Ecotricity fuel breakdown:
* 100% renewable
Let’s take a closer look at where Ecotricity’s renewable fuel comes from:
Ecotricity fuel mix. Source: Ecotricity website
When it comes to green energy, Ecotricity really does practice what it preaches.
The company also runs a number of side projects pioneering new green technology, including charging ports for electric cars and even a mobile phone network called ecotalk.
Switch to Ecotricity now
As of January 2017, Ecotricity are pushing to build a £100m Eco Park in Stroud, which will include a football park and a business hub.
It was also announced that the majority of UK stores run by Vivienne Westwood have switched to green energy and green gas with Ecotricity.
The UK company aims to be entirely supplied by Ecotricity by next year.
Ecotricity's founder, Dale Vince (below), said: "Switching to green energy is the biggest single thing – and the easiest thing – that any business or person can do to cut their emissions that cause air pollution and climate change.
“It’s great to see Vivienne taking this step and setting out a target to have half of Britain powered by green energy.
“And it’s not as madly ambitious as it sounds because last year 25% of our electricity came from green energy – so it can be done and we are right behind this goal.”
Our Ecotricity review verdict:
There are plenty of reasons to switch to this swashbuckling eco company, but the price may put you off.
* Ethical pricing policy with no exit fees
* Environmentally friendly energy produced by British wind turbines
* Simple tariff options
* More expensive than market leaders on price