British Gas is putting power in the hands of its customers today by launching a new green tariff which gives households a vote on where millions of pounds should be spent helping community energy projects.
Customers signing up to the energyshare tariff will get the electricity they use matched with electricity from 100% British renewable sources at the same price as the British Gas standard tariff. They'll also get a choice from a selection of free products such as eco-kettles, energy monitors and radiator panels to help them save energy and money in the home - all at no extra cost.
For every year a customer remains on the tariff, British Gas will pay £10 into the energyshare fund which will help communities generate their own renewable energy and improve their energy efficiency. Customers will be able to vote on which projects get the money from the energyshare fund and, through the energyshare tariff alone, British Gas want to make around £15million of support available for community energy projects over the next five years.
The tariff, available from today, is a part of energyshare - a renewable energy community founded by River Cottage and British Gas aiming to fundamentally change the way people in Britain use energy. Energyshare offers funding as well as practical advice on how local groups, businesses and individuals can use green and cheaper sources of energy, save money and cut their bills.
Gearóid Lane, Managing Director of British Gas New Markets, said:
"When it comes to tackling climate change, we know that people want to do the right thing but, with household budgets stretched, do not want to pay extra for it. The energyshare tariff gives households a British renewable electricity tariff at no extra cost whilst funding local community energy projects.
"We're seeing a genuine groundswell of interest around the country from communities wanting to do their bit to tackle climate change - and their own fuel bills - by generating their own clean, green energy and reducing the amount of energy they use."
Rob Love, Managing Director of River Cottage, said:
"River Cottage is delighted to be involved in the founding of the new idea that is Energyshare. Following on from the Landshare project and our Chicken Out and Fish Fight campaigns we are proud to support this initiative, which offers British renewable energy, energy saving opportunities and the chance to generate renewable energy to both individuals and communities across the country. We believe that getting people to think about their energy consumption is vital for the future of the planet. We already have brilliant stories from people throughout the UK who are starting to generate their own renewable energy and we can't wait to hear of and be part of more."
The BMX Racing club based in Bradford's Peel Park is one such community. With funding from British Gas, the club has invested in solar panels. This means that even though the club uses their floodlights after dark and now can hold race nights on winter evenings, the new solar panels give an extra cash boost of about £2800 a year to the club through the Feed-in Tariff scheme, which pays the owner's of solar panels for the renewable electricity they generate and use.
Thousands of people are setting up similar renewable energy projects with 400 projects already registered on energyshare.com. Energyshare is aiming to double the number of registered projects by the end of the year.
Ian Thewlis, project leader at Peel Park said:
"What we have done as a club is a great example of how community-run groups can make money and help cut carbon emissions. Our project is about sharing energy - the council provided the roof, we (with help from British Gas) provided the Generation system. The council get the generated electricity; we get the income from the Feed in Tariff Scheme. This is especially important at a time when forced cuts, spending restrictions and the forthcoming Olympic Event have had a major impact on the other funding sources we have previously relied on. The opportunity to involve members of the wider community in the project, particularly the younger generation, meant we could help showcase renewable energy and demonstrate how effective it can be."
Customers interested in signing up to the tariff should call 0800 980 8522 or for further details go to www.energyshare.com
For further information, please contact:
Elliott Grady - firstname.lastname@example.org / 0800 107 7015 / 07789 579114
(i) The energyshare tariff is offered on a 12-month fixed term basis with a £55 cancellation fee.
(ii) The energyshare tariff is accredited under the Green Energy Supply Certification Scheme so you can be confident that it will make a real, measurable environmental difference.