IKEA backs UK Initiative that Uses Savings as USP Using Through Renewable Energy

IKEA teams up with Big Clean Switch to help save money for its UK customers and switch to 100% renewable power Tariff. It's a model well worth tracking for possible replication

IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer at least since 2008, has been a refreshing exception to big business rule of paying lip service but doing precious little on the ground for sustainability. With the firm opening its first store in India this year, and at least two more coming up by the end of 2019, has been backing a neat little initiative for sustainability in the UK, The BigcleanSwitch.

The Swedish multinational group that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture and occasionally home services, with its partners LG Chem was previously giving its UK customers lower prices on rooftop solar and residential storage battery systems. But now, continuing with the good news for Brits, IKEA is also calling out households to a collective energy switch that promises an exclusive 100% renewable electricity tariff.

IKEA which joined The Big Clean Switch campaign in the beginning of the year is offering households an option to switch to secure cheaper green power for the households that sign up.

The two companies claim that the ‘Switch’ it will save a typical UK household £300(approx. Rs 29,000) a year in lower gas and electricity bills.

Hege Sæbjørnsen, Ikea’s sustainability manager, says that by linking up in this way, “we hope to make switching to renewable electricity simple, accessible and affordable to everyone”.

For every switch, Ikea will receive a commission payment, which will support local community initiatives within each store’s area.

Describing itself as a “profit with purpose” company, The Big Switch is part of Brakkn Ltd, and helps people move to renewable electricity providers. Its website only lists tariffs where the supplier guarantees that 100% of the electricity sold is matched from renewables such as sun, wind and water.

Big Clean Switch negotiates the best deal it can with green suppliers, at which point customers can choose to sign up. For example, in an average home in Greater Manchester, the cheapest green tariffs available through the campaign are now within £15 to £25 of the very cheapest tariffs on the market, and hundreds of pounds cheaper than the average standard tariff with one of the country’s Big Six suppliers. Recent Ofgem figures show 60% of UK homes are on a default variable tariff.

Typical saving calculated in February 2018 by comparing an average usage dual fuel household on a Big Six Standard Variable Tariff (£1,135) with the cheapest tariff supplying 100% renewable electricity available through the Big Clean Switch website (£834). All prices are for a single rate meter paying by monthly direct debit, with prices averaged across all regions of England, Scotland and Wales. Average usage as defined by Ofgem is 12,000 kWh pa of gas and 3,100 kWh pa of electricity.

We at IamRenew asked Big Clean Switch about its plan for India, to which in an email reply the team said “there are no imminent plans to expand into Asia as it stands”. Of course, with both regulatory and other hurdles to be managed yet, while a replication is entirely impossible right now,  it is time for Discoms and private businesses to plan and design such products for Indians and South Asians.  As we heard at the recent REInvest Conference too, for solar to really move ahead in India , regulatory changes like open access grids and much more will be needed soon.

IKEA’s first Store in India opens with strong benchmarks on sustainability

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