There’s a better way to do energy

18 April 2023 | Ella Thomson

Energy today can be a huge source of stress for both people and the environment. But, at OVO, we’ve always believed there’s a better way. One that’s better for your wallet – and the planet. It’s our mission to help us all get there.

Plan Zero is our commitment to reach net zero by 2035. Part of that plan is to give you the tools to help you reduce your bills and our collective carbon footprint too. But to make that dream a reality, we have to make some changes at OVO.

That's why we're launching the Path to Zero. By winter 2023, we'll be offering customers a range of rewards, insights and energy saving tech that helps you save energy and money. Taking us all on the path to energy that's better for your wallet, and better for the planet.

This means that from May, we'll no longer be offering 100% renewable electricity backed by renewable certificates to customers with a smart meter. There are a few reasons for this - it's pretty detailed, but helpful to know, so let's dive in.

We all rely on the same electricity system

To market renewable electricity in the UK, all energy suppliers have to use certificates called Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (known as REGOs). REGOs enable the tracking of renewable energy so that we know that for every unit of electricity provided under a renewable supply contract, the same amount of electricity was added to the grid from renewable sources in that same year. 

But on a renewable tariff you still use energy from a mix of renewable and fossil fuel sources. That’s because the actual energy coming into your home all comes from the same grid.  It isn’t any greener than the energy used through a non-renewable tariff. When you pop your kettle on, you don’t have any say over where that electricity comes from. It's whatever is nearest to you at the time.

Renewable certificates aren’t doing enough to help us reach net zero

We wanted to know if REGOs were actually making a difference to how green we are as a community. We worked with independent research organisation Cornwall Insight to understand if  REGOs are enough of an incentive to encourage additional investment in the UK’s renewable electricity generation – and whether they will be in the future. The results were clear. The buying and selling of REGOs has little to no impact on whether the UK grid gets greener. 

This is because the majority of renewable generators are supported by subsidies, managed by the government and paid for by energy consumers through energy bills. Buying REGOs from these generators puts a little more money in their pockets, but it’s rarely enough to make a meaningful difference to whether any new projects get built. 

We want to do more to support renewable generators in the UK 

We need more renewable generation because at the moment, there’s not enough renewable power to supply all the energy the UK needs. So we have to support the sources that make it. One way to do that is to work directly with renewable generators, giving them increased revenue per unit of energy they sell us. 

So we have launched our new supercharged green upgrade, Greener Energy. This is the most transparent way for you to buy renewable electricity. You’ll be helping to power a more sustainable future for the country. 

Working like this really helps smaller generators who are not eligible for government subsidies to get the funding they need to move forward with new projects. This way, we can send our support straight to the source. Find out more.

We’re changing how we think about energy

Selling 100% renewable electricity backed by REGOs has done good things to get customers involved in a greener energy system.  But we still have a long way to go to reach net zero, and we know that there are more effective ways to get there than the buying and selling of REGOs.

As well as more renewable generators, we need to use less energy, and use it in different ways. Like at times of day when the grid is likely to be greener, and we're less likely to need fossil fuels. Making small changes like this, together, is where we can make a big difference. And we’re here to make it easier for you to do.

Path to Zero: making energy work better for you, your wallet and the planet

As an OVO customer, from August 2023, you’ll get access to a range of discounted smart tech and rewards for greener energy use. You’ll have our expert teams by your side, helping you take steps to reduce your energy bills and our collective carbon footprint.

Because, if we each take small steps together, we’ll make bigger strides on the Path to Zero. Here’s what you can expect:

Free energy insights

With our free app, you’ll be able to check exactly how much energy your home’s using at a glance. You’ll also see where we think your energy's going, from cooking and entertainment to laundry and lighting. Find out the greenest time to use energy and spot ways to save, personalised to your home.

We’ll help you make your home greener

  • Get rewarded for cutting carbon. Eligible customers can sign up for Power Move and be rewarded for using energy at greener times of day, with credit on your energy bill.
  • By winter 2023, you’ll have a choice of discounted energy saving tech and services to make your home more energy efficient and cheaper to run. Think smarter ways to heat your home, or discounted annual boiler services.
  • You'll get the chance to book a visit with one of our Energy Experts who'll do a top-to-bottom review of your home's energy efficiency. After your visit, you'll also get a personalised Home Health Report with advice to help you improve the efficiency of your home along with a brand new Energy Performance Certificate

Find out more about what's on offer.

1 million trees for the UK every year 

Some things aren’t changing. Like our Planting Promise - a commitment to plant 1 million trees a year in schools and local communities right here in the UK. And just by being with OVO you’re helping us to do this. Read more about it here. 

So if you're just getting started, or you're already well on your way, join us on the path to energy that works better for you, better for your wallet – and better for the planet.

We're excited to launch these offers from June - so watch this space. Find out more about what's on offer.