Consumers remain shy about switching over

‘Being green doesn’t mean wearing sandals and eating lentils’

EIGHT out of 10 people support the UK using renewable energy to generate power. But getting them to take the plunge is another story.
“What’s frustrating is that while green energy is high on the public’s agenda the number of consumers and businesses making the switch is still low,” according to Doug Stewart, CEO of Green Energy UK, a company that provides sustainable electricity from a number of sources.
It has seen the green energy debate “rise from relative obscurity into the mainstream” over the last decade. “But, despite a clear majority of support from UK consumers, indicating the public are neither unaware nor ill-informed, the critics seem to hog the media – and that influences people’s actions,” argues Stewart.
“Nowadays being green doesn’t mean wearing sandals and eating lentils; it is as simple as making green choices, one of those being which electricity provider you use. Picking which utility company you receive power from isn’t a glamorous or interesting process and not something that’s front of mind – most people stick with the provider they’ve always had or have switched over for a cheaper deal.
“But when it comes to discussions about where our energy will come from in the future or how we all feel about solar panels, wind farms or recycling at home, everyone has an opinion, and rightly so. Energy consumption is taken for granted. While the majority of people consider themselves ‘green’, only a small percentage of the population has switched supplier.”
Stewart says that while consumers recognise the benefits of green energy they aren’t voting with their feet or demanding that their electricity supplier provides it. “Green energy doesn’t come at a premium and supporting new methods now, and perhaps changing our attitude to energy efficiency, could mean we secure our supplies for the future instead of having to rely on expensive and volatile fossil fuel imports.”