Energy can be both where a church uses the most natural resources … and where it spends the most money! Moving to ‘green energy’ is one of the most important steps your church can take – and can be done economically.
Options for switching
Imagine if every church in the diocese were on a renewable electricity tariff. It’s our hope that by 2025, this won’t be something for the imagination … but a reality!
There are currently a number of options for a church that wants to switch to a renewable tariff. Some churches switch by directly approaching providers. If you do this, we would recommend switching to a provider that meets the criteria of The Big Clean Switch (if you scroll down the page, you can see the providers that meet their criteria).
The national Church of England has also created the Parish Buying website to provide churches access to negotiated discounts and contracts. Parish Buying’s most popular product is the Energy Basket, which uses the bulk buying power of the Church to obtain competitive prices. The Energy Basket is the biggest energy buying scheme for churches in the country, and has been consistently providing significant savings to thousands of churches. 100% of the electricity in the Energy Basket is green, all from UK-based renewable sources. The provider, however, is Total Gas and Power – whose parent company Total is involved in some controversial projects in Southern Africa and Myanmar.
We would recommend that all churches switch: the mechanism churches use to do so will vary depending on their needs and priorities. If you’d like to discuss any of the questions involved, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Note on rate of VAT
Irrespective of which company supplies your energy, as a church undertaking charitable activities, you should be eligible for exemption from the Climate Change Levy and also benefit from a reduced rate of VAT (currently 5%) . Do check your bills to ensure this is the case, and if not request a VAT declaration certificate from your energy supplier for you to complete and return to them.