Switch EDF Off
Anti-nuclear campaigner Nikki Clark explains how you can oppose the planned EDF nuclear power station in Somerset
East Mendip Green Party in Somerset have launched Switch Off EDF, a consumer boycott campaign against the energy firm EDF which plans to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
The campaign organisers estimate that for every thousand customers who switch away from EDF, its profits will be shaved by about a million pounds.
To further lubricate the wheels of change, every customer who switches away from EDF, or any other nuclear supplier, to either of the green energy companies Ecotricity or Good Energy will receive, from the East Mendip Green Party, £20 for a single-fuel switch or £40 for a dual-fuel switch.
This is the money that these two energy providers normally pay to the Green Party for new customers who quote the Green Party when signing up.
Many switch campaigns challenging the dominance of the Big Six energy firms in the electricity and heating markets focus on getting the cheapest deals, and whilst what we pay for our energy is an important issue, it's not the only issue that we should be concerned with.
As a consumer I want to know that the energy I buy is as clean as possible and that the people who work for the companies I buy from are paid fairly and treated well.
Credit: Good Energy, Hampole Wind Farm.
All too often the costs - financial, environmental, social, human - of our energy choices are externalised. That is to say, they are not included in the price we pay for electricity. A case in point are the many costs of pollution - they are often borne by others in society rather than by the energy firms whose activities generate the pollution.
Nuclear electricity is a great example of that. Here in the UK, it is the taxpayer who bears a large portion of the financial cost of dealing with nuclear waste so that companies like EDF can externalise that cost when they tell you how much you'll pay for their electricity.
In fact, one of the subsidies the UK government has provided to EDF is a cap on what they'll have to pay in the future for the nuclear waste they'll create. As anyone who watches this issue will know, the cost of managing nuclear waste only travels in one direction – and that's up!
If EDF is shielded from the full financial costs of dealing appropriately with the additional nuclear waste generated, it will be us all, the UK public, and not just EDF or its customers, that will be picking up the tab!
On the contrary, Ecotricity and Good Energy represent two necessary but different approaches to energy production in the UK.
Ecotricity sits within the current energy market model, i.e. it uses the existing, centralised grid and it aims to ‘green’ it through large-scale clean energy projects such as solar parks and wind farms.
Good Energy, on the other hand, seeks to challenge both the technologies employed in energy generation and the energy market. It promotes a decentralised model encouraging community ownership.
For example, Good Energy buys the electricity generated from solar panels on people’s roofs. It also partners with local communities co-owning big projects such as wind farms, taking power back from faceless behemoths and keeping the profits from energy generation local!
So, as you can see, whichever provider you switch to not only will you be £20 - £40 better off but you'll be sending a clear message to EDF that nuclear power is unwelcome. And you'll be helping to create the world you want to see.
Don't just take my word for it - the campaign is backed by heavy hitters such as Caroline Lucas Green MP for Brighton and Johnathan Porritt of the former Sustainable Development Commission. But it's also endorsed by grass-roots campaign groups such as the one that I'm a part of, South West Against Nuclear.
So, what more are you waiting for? Get clicking, switch to a truly green energy provider, get paid for doing it, and hit EDF where it hurts – in the pocket!
Written by Nikki Clark, South West Against Nuclear
See our interview with Good Energy in our Talking Ethics section.