We’ve just launched the UK’s cheapest energy tariff – the Family Saver Club

Family Saver Club

Join the Family Saver Club and you’ll not only get our cheapest fixed-rate tariff – you’ll also earn 12% annual interest on your credit balance!

All you have to do is pay for your energy annually instead of monthly. Once you make an initial upfront payment, you’ll start earning interest.

Step 1: Sign up

Enter a few details on our website and we’ll give you a quote based on your estimated usage. You’ll then see two options – “Pay Yearly” or “Pay Monthly”. Select the yearly option and click on “Switch Now”.

Family Saver Club

Step 2: Make an initial payment

On the next screen you’ll be asked to make an upfront payment for 1 year’s worth of energy. This money will be added to your credit balance and used up throughout the year.

Step 3: Start earning!

Each month we will deduct enough money to cover your energy use. We will then add 1% interest to your remaining balance.

Some frequently asked questions:

How much is the initial payment?

It will depend on the type of property you live in, how many people live there and your typical energy use.

For a typical dual fuel household in Greater Manchester, the initial payment would be £973 (based on Ofgem averages, correct as of October 2018).

How much interest can I make?

Again, this varies from customer to customer, but a typical dual fuel household in Greater Manchester could make around £60 in interest across the year.

How can I see how much interest I’m making?

You can log in to your online account at any time and view your accrued interest.

How often can I withdraw the interest?

You can withdraw your interest every six months, or you can leave it in your account and use it as credit – making your energy even cheaper!

What happens if my usage goes up or down?

If you end up using more energy than expected, you may have to top-up your balance or pay a final bill at the end of the 12 months to cover the difference. If you use less than expected, you will get a refund.

We strongly recommend providing regular meter readings to avoid any surprises. We’ll also carry out a payment review after 6 months to make sure you’re on track.

What if I can’t afford to pay upfront?

We still offer great value pay monthly tariffs. Just get a quote and choose the “pay monthly” option.

Why we launched this tariff

With wholesale energy prices creeping up and winter approaching, we wanted to help families plan their finances a little better.

As our CEO Barney puts it: “We know this time of year can be expensive for families up and down the country, so hopefully our Family Saver Club is a way to help them plan finances better, get some money back on the energy they use, and ease the stress that can come with contacting their energy supplier.”

“The ‘Family Saver Club’ is all part of our mission to try and find a better way for our customers.”

How do I join the Family Saver Club?

Simply head over to our quotation page or call 0161 332 0022.

How smart devices can increase your energy bills – and what you can do about it

smart home

Studies suggest that 50% of us will own a smart TV by 2019. Smart TVs and other smart devices must be plugged in and kept on standby at all times – making them more expensive to run than their traditional counterparts. Here’s what you can do to keep your energy costs down.

From TVs to fridges, security systems to coffee makers, fitness trackers to speakers – more and more of our appliances are using an internet connection to become ‘smart’.

The downside to all of this smart technology is the fact that smart devices have to be kept on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week – slowly sucking up extra electricity and pushing up your electricity bill. A smart TV for example uses 10 times more electricity than a standard television set!

Energy efficiency company GreenMatch have created a guide to reducing so-called ‘vampire energy’ without ruining the fun of living in a smart home. It starts with getting a smart meter installed if you don’t already have one.

Scroll down to find out more:

standby power infographic

The ‘O-Wind’ Turbine wins UK Dyson Award

O-Wind

The groundbreaking design can capture wind energy from any direction – including vertically. The creators of the O-Wind hope that the compact design will be effective in urban areas where traditional turbines can’t be used.

Conventional wind turbines can only really capture wind coming from a single direction. Due to this and their large size, they are better suited to wide open spaces where winds are predictable.

The O-Wind by contrast is a mere 25cm wide and can capture wind energy in all 3 dimensions, allowing it to take advantage of the abundant winds found in cities. No matter which direction the wind approaches from, the ball will always rotate the same way, driving a generator and producing electricity.

O-Wind was developed by Nicolas Orellana and Yaseen Noorani, who are both MSc students at Lancaster University. They believe that the concept is at least five years away from commercial production, but it could revolutionise the energy industry once it gets there. The design is a National Winner of the prestigious James Dyson Award.

Inspiration from NASA

Long before the O-Wind came to be, the team behind it were interested in using wind-driven balls to explore Mars. A prototype model was able to harness unpredictable winds and use the energy to travel forwards in a straight line. In a test it managed to travel 7km across the Atacama Desert in South America.

It soon became clear that the technology could have multiple uses, and the potential for generating clean energy was explored.

Future Plans

Lancaster University are busy testing, optimising and refining the O-Wind to maximise its efficiency. They hope that the technology could be used to power apartments, motorhomes, boats and other stand-alone structures. They are also exploring the possibility of using the O-Wind to capture wave & tidal energy.

China are building a series of solar farms shaped like giant pandas

panda solar farm

In 2017 construction work started on a 248-acre solar farm that, when viewed from above, looked like a pair of giant cartoon pandas. Now, the Chinese government are on a mission to build 99 more ‘panda power plants’ around the world – investing billions of pounds in the process.

The idea came from a Hong Kong teenager named Ada Li Yan-tung, who wanted to increase interest in renewable energy. Instead of simply lining solar panels up in neat rows, she suggested arranging them more creatively to form artwork that could be seen from the sky. An artist’s impression of her original panda concept is shown below:

Panda solar farm
An artist’s rendering of the panda solar farm

A year later, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and development company Panda Green Energy Group picked up the idea and agreed to make it a reality. The first operating solar plant recently opened in the Shanxi province of China. The 50 megawatt plant resembles two baby pandas.

Panda solar farm

Panda solar farm

The developers plan to add a second phase to the project, adding two more pandas to complete a ‘panda family’. Once complete, the solar farm will have a capacity of 100 megawatts. According to the developers, it will generate 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours over 25 years, powering more than 10,000 households per year.

Future plans

Panda Green Energy Group have an ambitious goal to build 99 more solar farms like this one, stretching across what China calls the “Belt and Road Initiative” – an infrastructure project spanning 60 countries across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

China is the world’s largest producer and installer of photovoltaic solar panels, and has the highest installed solar capacity in the world at over 130 gigawatts.

8 Smart Meter Myths: Busted

smart meter myths

When it comes to smart meters, there’s a lot of incorrect information, misconceptions and myths out there— from worries about safety to concerns about data security and everything in between. In this article, we’ll address some of the most common smart meter myths.

Myth no. 1: My smart meter will spy on me

Fact: Smart meters are secure and data is never shared with third parties

Smart meters are designed to collect your gas & electricity usage data and nothing else. They simply don’t have access to any other kind of personal data.

When that data is transmitted to your energy supplier, it uses a secure encrypted connection – similar to that used by online banking. The communication infrastructure is provided by the Data Communication Company, which is regulated by Ofgem.

Your data is secure and is never passed on to third parties.

Myth no. 2: My energy supplier will force me to get a smart meter

Fact: Smart meters are completely optional

Smart meters are not compulsory, and your energy supplier cannot force you to get one if you don’t want it.

Here’s what it says on the Ofgem website:

“While we and the government think that all consumers will benefit from smart meters, they aren’t compulsory and you can choose not to have one.”

“Choosing not to have a smart meter may mean you don’t have access to all the available tariffs on the market, some of which could be cheaper.”

“If you don’t want to have a smart meter now, you will still be able to have one installed for free at a later date.”

You can find more information in this article titled “Are Smart Meters Compulsory?”

Myth no. 3: Smart meters will make you ill

Fact: Smart meters are just as safe as any other digital device

There is no need to be concerned about your health with a smart meter in the house. They are subject to the same strict UK and EU safety regulations as any other consumer electrical product.

They do emit radio waves, but the levels are perfectly safe – and lower than your mobile phone or your Wi-Fi router.

The government has published a very detailed article about smart meters and your health, which you can read here.

Myth no. 4: You can’t change suppliers once you have a smart meter

Fact: You are free to switch suppliers whenever you like

You are free to switch energy suppliers whether you have a traditional meter or a smart meter.

One note – if you have a first-generation smart meter, it could make switching a little more complicated. If on the other hand you have a second-gen meter, you can switch seamlessly between suppliers. Contact your current provider if you’re unsure.

Myth no. 5: Smart meters are expensive

Fact: Your energy supplier should provide & fit your smart meter free of charge

Energy companies are obligated to offer smart meters to their customers, and they should supply and fit them for free. The cost of the equipment and installation is covered by your monthly energy bills.

Myth no. 6: Smart meters cause fires

Fact: Smart meters a rigorously tested and fitted by qualified engineers

Smart meter manufacturers must satisfy the safety requirements and standards set out in the National Electric Safety Code (NESC). Your meter will also be fitted by a qualified, expert engineer.

This makes the risk of fires or explosions extremely unlikely.

Myth no. 7: You can’t get a smart meter if you rent

Fact: Tenants have the right to choose their energy supplier and can get a smart meter

As a tenant, if you’re the one who pays the gas & electric bills, then you have the right to choose your own energy supplier. You can also choose whether or not to get a smart meter.

Strictly speaking, your energy meter belongs to your energy supplier – not you, not the house and not your landlord – so you are free to get the old meter taken out and replaced with a smart meter. Although your landlord can’t stop you, it’s advisable to let them know what you’re doing.

Myth no. 8: Smart meters don’t really offer any benefits

Fact: Smart meters give you accurate bills and control over your energy usage

For a start, they give you completely accurate energy bills. That means no more estimated bills, and no surprises if you have under or over-paid. In addition, your in-home display gives you a near real-time view of your energy use, displayed in pounds and pence. This gives you the power to identify waste, make smarter choices and reduce your spending.

You can claim your free smart meter from Eversmart Energy here.

Over 5,000 churches make the switch to renewable energy

churches switching to renewable energy

Thousands of churches around the UK have agreed to switch to 100% renewable electricity in an effort to fight climate change.

The Church of England have lead the effort, with thousands of Catholic, Baptist, Methodist and other places of worship making the switch. Fifteen of the country’s most famous Anglican cathedrals are also on board – including Liverpool, Coventry, Salisbury, Southwark, St Albans and York Minster.

With such a large network of buildings taking part, it has been estimated that the move will divert £5 million away from fossil fuel companies to clean energy providers.

‘One of the great moral challenges of our time’

Church leaders have described climate change as “one of the great moral challenges of our time”, with the Bishop of Salisbury Nicholas Holtam – the church’s lead bishop on the environment – calling it “an enormous injustice” which “hurts the poor first and worst”.

Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury and the chair of Christian Aid, said the Church of England will be selling all of its shares in fossil fuel companies who are not on track to meet the targets of the Paris climate agreement.

“Churches are part of a global network and so are often very aware of the plight of our brothers and sisters suffering from droughts, floods and extreme weather around the world,” he said.

He urged the government to set a target to cut UK emissions to zero by 2050 to ensure Britain “remains a green and pleasant land at home and a climate leader abroad”.

Image Source

How long does it take to switch gas and electricity supplier?

How long does it take to switch gas and electricity supplier?

In this article we’ll tackle some of the most common questions & concerns about switching to a new energy supplier – starting with one of the questions we hear the most: how long does it take to switch?

Some other questions covered in this article:

 

How long does it take to switch gas and electricity supplier?

Generally speaking, switching to Eversmart takes 21 days. We’ve outlined each step in the switching process and the typical timescales below:

Day 1: Signup

As soon as you sign up with Eversmart, either online or over the phone, we will contact your old supplier and get things moving. You don’t have to do anything at this point – just sit back and let us take care of everything for you.

Day 1–14: Smart Meter Installation

Before the switch officially goes live, we will book an appointment to come and fit your free smart meter. You can find more information about smart meters in this article.

Day 14: End of cooling off period

As with most services you sign up for in the UK, you are legally entitled to a 14 day ‘cooling off’ period where you can change your mind and cancel for any reason. If you decide Eversmart isn’t for you, just tell us before day 14.

At this point, you will also receive a reminder about your first payment.

Day 21: The switch goes live

Your account goes live and you are officially part of the Eversmart family!

 

Can my energy supplier stop me from switching?

If you pay by direct debit:

Your old supplier may be able to stop you from switching if you owe them money. If you have been in debt for over 28 days, you won’t be able to switch until you have paid them back.

If you have been in debt for less than 28 days, the debt will simply be included in your final bill.

If you have a prepayment meter:

Eversmart will take on your debt if it is less than £500. If you owe more than £500, you will have to settle the debt with your current supplier before you can make the move.

 

Can you change suppliers if you have a smart meter?

Yes. If your current supplier fitted your smart meter, you are under no obligation to stay with them. You are free to shop around and change suppliers.

Just one note – be aware that if you have a first-generation smart meter, it may not be compatible with your new supplier. If you have a second-gen smart meter, then you can switch seamlessly without any problems. If you’re unsure, ask your current energy company what type of meter you have and inform your new provider.

 

When can I switch energy supplier without a penalty?

Some gas & electricity suppliers charge an exit fee for leaving their tariff early. The fee can vary from around £5 to £30 per fuel. However, they cannot charge an exit fee during the last 42-49 days of a fixed energy tariff – so this would be the best time to switch. Your supplier should also write to you to tell you when your tariff is about to end.

At Eversmart Energy there are no exit fees on most of our tariffs. We’re confident that you’ll want to stick with us, but you have the freedom to leave whenever you like.

 

When will I receive my final bill from my old supplier?

During the switching process, we will ask you for a set of opening meter readings. These are checked & verified by a series of third parties to make sure they are accurate and that your old supplier agrees with them. Your old supplier will then send you a final bill (or credit your bank account if you have overpaid them). We can’t guarantee how long this will take, but it’s usually within 2–6 weeks.

 

Did we miss anything out? Do you have more questions about switching energy suppliers? Let us know in the comments!

Our favourite eco-friendly homes from TV’s Grand Designs

Eco-friendly homes from Grand Designs

Grand Designs is a BAFTA-winning architecture show on Channel 4, following the lives of couples or families as they embark on building an elaborate dream home – often running well over schedule and over budget in the process.

Over the show’s 18 series, one recurring theme has been the desire to build a home that is as energy-efficient and eco-friendly as possible. People don’t just want a home that looks great – they’re also keenly aware of their carbon footprint and the impact on the environment. Responsibly-sourced materials, energy efficient insulation and sustainable architecture are all phrases you’ll hear thrown around in most episodes.

We’ve trawled through the show’s archives to find some of the most ambitious eco-projects. You can take a look at some of our favourites below:

 

Hand-built eco-home in Pembrokeshire

Eco house from Grand Designs Eco house from Grand Designs
Eco house from Grand Designs Eco house from Grand Designs
Eco house from Grand Designs Eco house from Grand Designs
Eco house from Grand Designs Eco house from Grand Designs

Built by: Simon and Jasmine Dale
Location: Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Forming part of a larger eco-village deep in the Welsh countryside, this hand built home takes the concept of ‘low-impact’ to the extreme. It was built from trees felled from its own plot, it’s entirely off-grid and creates virtually no waste.

Starting with a budget of just £500, Simon and Jasmine Dale used their experience from building similar (but temporary) dwellings to create a more permanent, long-term home for themselves and their two children. Although the project wasn’t quite completed during filming, it only cost an estimated £27,000 over two years.

In exchange for planning permission, the Welsh Assembly laid down some strict guidelines – all homes in the eco village were given five years to demonstrate that 75% of their everyday basic needs could be met from the land. This included things like producing their own firewood, generating their own energy and managing their own waste – as well as running a small business.

Simon, a former photographer, and Jasmine, who’s background is in environmental education, were the first to build on the plot and used the opportunity to educate others in sustainable building & living.

 

Timber-clad hillside house in Worcestershire

Timber-clad house from Grand Designs Timber-clad house from Grand Designs
Timber-clad house from Grand Designs Timber-clad house from Grand Designs
Timber-clad house from Grand Designs Timber-clad house from Grand Designs
Timber-clad house from Grand Designs Timber-clad house from Grand Designs

Built by: Jon and Gill Flewers
Location: Malvern, Worcestershire

In classic Grand Designs style, this low-energy home was riddled with delays, re-designs and setbacks. Jon and Gill Flewers returned to the UK from living in New Zealand in 2013 with dreams of building their own home. Their original plan was to excavate a large chunk of the sloping site and build a four-storey house that was partially embedded in the hillside. Technical hurdles however forced the architects to re-design the house, bringing it six metres out of the hillside and rearranging the layout onto three storeys instead of four.

The finished home makes use of photovoltaic solar panels, energy-efficient Insulating Concrete Formwork (ICF) and the natural insulation provided by being built into the hillside.

 

The Farmhouse in Devon

The farmhouse from Grand Designs The farmhouse from Grand Designs
The farmhouse from Grand Designs The farmhouse from Grand Designs
The farmhouse from Grand Designs The farmhouse from Grand Designs
The farmhouse from Grand Designs The farmhouse from Grand Designs

Built by: Mark and Candida Diacono
Location: Honiton, Devon

Mark and Candida Diacono built the Farmhouse on an unused plot of land that came with their end-terrace house in rural Devon. After toying with the idea of building a new home and an adjacent cookery school for several years, they finally took the plunge and started construction in 2015.

The family home features a stunning, curved sedum roof – designed to look almost as if somebody had peeled up a large chunk of turf, revealing a house hidden underneath. The cookery school also has an identical roof. The inspiration for the curved shape came from a farmer’s plough.

The family home has four bedrooms and two bathrooms, with open-plan living areas downstairs. Next door, the cookery school features a working kitchen, teaching space, offices and a substantial cellar where the family can store their produce.

Both buildings were designed to make a minimal impact on the local environment – in terms of visuals as much as energy use. Both make use of timber cladding, sedum roofs, shredded paper insulation, triple glazing, rainwater collection systems and thermodynamic heating and water systems.

 

The upside-down cedar clad house in Norfolk

Cedar clad house from Grand Designs Cedar clad house from Grand Designs
Cedar clad house from Grand Designs Cedar clad house from Grand Designs
Cedar clad house from Grand Designs Cedar clad house from Grand Designs
Cedar clad house from Grand Designs Cedar clad house from Grand Designs

Built by: Natasha Cargill
Location: Norfolk

For Natasha Cargill’s newbuild home, eco-credentials weren’t just a nice bonus – they had to be engrained into the very heart and soul of the building. The plot of land she bought was subject to Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework, meaning the house had to meet exacting standards of energy efficiency and architectural innovation. The house would have to satisfy the extremely strict Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6. If it didn’t, Natasha simply wouldn’t be allowed to move in.

It was a big risk to take, but Natasha couldn’t find a house that suited her needs and decided that self-building was the only way to go.

As you can imagine, the house has a long list of eco-friendly materials and features, including:

  • Eco-concrete which can absorb and release heat, reducing the cost of heating & cooling the building
  • Carbon-neutral insulation
  • Large, strategically placed windows to maximise natural light
  • A 6kW solar panel array
  • Sedum roofing
  • Various locally and sustainably sourced materials

The home uses an ‘upside-down’ layout, with the bedrooms downstairs and the kitchen and living areas upstairs, giving Natasha and her son Lucas stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

 

Zero-carbon newbuild in Blackheath, London

Zero-carbon newbuild from Grand Designs Zero-carbon newbuild from Grand Designs
Zero-carbon newbuild from Grand Designs Zero-carbon newbuild from Grand Designs
Zero-carbon newbuild from Grand Designs Zero-carbon newbuild from Grand Designs
Zero-carbon newbuild from Grand Designs Zero-carbon newbuild from Grand Designs

Built by: Caroline and Philip Cooper
Location: Blackheath, London

After their children had all grown up and left the nest, the Coopers were left in a house that was too big for just the two of them and too expensive to run and maintain. It was obvious that they needed to downsize and decided they wanted to build their own home, combining Caroline’s interior design background with Phillip’s experience in the construction industry.

After struggling to find a suitable plot to build their ideal home, they had the brainwave of building at the bottom of their own garden.

With the help of their architect son Sam, they managed to get planning permission and create their ideal eco-home. The low-lying, L-shaped home was designed to meet the exacting standards of Level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. Eco features include rainwater harvesting systems, A-rated taps & appliances, computer-controlled lighting & windows and highly efficient insulation.

 

All images from Grand Designs Magazine.

5 celebrities with seriously eco-friendly homes

Celebrities

Hollywood stars are known for living it up in lavish mansions or luxury penthouse apartments. But more and more celebrities are using their wealth and influence to push for more sustainable living.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 famous celebrities who’s homes have some serious eco-credentials!

Julia Roberts

Julia Robert's House

Julia Roberts

The star and her husband reportedly spent over $20 million to reduce the carbon footprint of their 6,000 square foot California home, where they live with their three children.

Green features include a rooftop solar array, responsibly-sourced timber, recycled tiles and various other sustainable materials. The sunny location means they’re bound to get plenty of use from those solar panels!

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp Private Islands

Johnny Depp

Appropriately enough, the star of the Pirates of the Caribbean series owns a chain of private islands in the Bahamas. Depp has worked with Mike Strizki, founder of the Hydrogen House Project, to make the 35-acre island fully self-sufficient, getting all of its power from hydrogen solar cells.

Orlando Bloom

Orlando Bloom house

Orlando Bloom

Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean co-star had his London home designed & built from scratch to be as energy-efficient as possible.

He said: “It’s as green as I can make it. It’s got solar panels on the roof, energy efficient light bulbs – newer technology basically that is environmentally friendly. It might not be possible for everyone to live a completely green lifestyle, but we can do little things to help slow global warming.”

Alicia Silverstone

Alicia Silverstone House

Alicia Silverstone

Perhaps best known for her role in 1995’s Clueless, Alicia Silverstone is passionate about animal rights and environmental activism. Her Los Angeles home which she shares with her husband makes use of rooftop solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, recycled materials throughout and a highly efficient heating & cooling system.

As she puts it in an interview with InStyle magazine: “everything we’ve brought into this house is environmentally sound”.

Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams Hhuse

Rachel McAdams

This unassuming (by celebrity standards) Ontario home belongs to Rachel McAdams, know for films including Mean Girls, The Notebook and Doctor Strange. She’s also a strong advocate of environmental issues – the house is powered by 100% renewable energy and McAdams is often spotted driving an electric car or cycling around town on an electrical bicycle.

UK solar growth halves for the second year in a row

rooftop solar panels

The number of new solar power installations in the UK has dropped for the second year in a row, according to a new study published by Solar Power Europe this week.

The decline has been so steep that is has brought the entire EU average down to practically zero, despite several European countries installing record-breaking numbers of panels last year.

  • The UK installed 4.1GW worth of new solar panels in 2015
  • In 2016, the figure was down to just under 2GW
  • Last year, we installed just0.95GW

Lack of government support

The sharp drop has been blamed on government cuts to solar panel subsidies, making them a less attractive financial investment to homeowners and businesses.

The Labour party have called the government’s commitment to green energy “nothing but an empty PR move”, while the chief executive of Solar Power Europe said “Solar power has been voted the most popular energy source in the UK, it is therefore sad to see the UK government not take advantage of the huge potential of solar.”

Energy and climate change secretary Amber Rudd challenged the criticism, stating that the cuts were necessary to keep energy bills down “whilst ensuring there is a sensible level of support for low carbon technologies that represent value for money.”

Still a world leader

Despite the recent slow growth, Britain is still ranked sixth internationally in terms of installed solar capacity, and third in Europe behind Germany and Italy. China are now the biggest, with a total of 130GW installed capacity providing 1.07% of the country’s consumption.

Installed solar capacity by country:

Installed solar capacity by country