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Octopus Energy - is it the best green supplier?

Octopus Energy are one of the fastest growing green energy suppliers in the UK, reaching 350,000 customers in just three years. They also have an excellent customer service record and are the UK’s largest investor in solar farms - generating a huge 40% of our total solar power. Clearly they're doing something right, but are they the best green supplier on the market?


In our independent Octopus Energy review we give you the lowdown on their customer service, tariffs, pricing and account management to help you decide if switching to Octopus Energy is worth your while.

Octopus Energy Review

Interested in finding out more about Octopus Energy before you switch? Well, we’ve got you covered in our independent Octopus Energy review.

1. Customer Service

To start with, let’s take a look at what Octopus Energy reviews say about its customer service. In our experience and that of thousands of online reviews, Octopus provide some of the best customer service of any supplier in the country. Reviewers typically praise the friendliness, efficiency and helpfulness of staff. Others praise their patience in dealing with queries and the speed with which they reply to inquiries.

The best customer service of any company I have ever dealt with. They are quick to reply, always provide personal (rather than template) responses, and have resolved all issues I have ever raised with them promptly and efficiently.

We have also found many customers praise the high standard of customer service over email, claiming them to be patient and professional in dealing with queries online. And the positivity keeps flowing with numerous reviews mentioning how “grateful” customers have been for the “fantastic help” and that Octopus are “an absolute delight to deal with” both by email and over the phone. High praise indeed!

I have been particularly impressed with speed the company can turnaround an email… Today I had a long email conversation with team member Vicki who was absolutely wonderful. Never patronising or in a hurry. She seemed so cheerful and willing to help me.

Overall it seems customers struggle to find enough superlatives to describe the customer service and we have to agree. It’s worth noting however that some reviewers have posted their referral link in order to receive a £50 referral payment for new members that use it to sign up. This has probably influenced the amount of glowing reviews, so perhaps it’s worth taking some of these reviews with a pinch of salt. Regardless, there are plenty of positive, non-promotional reviews and we still feel their service is excellent on the whole.

For customer service, we rate Octopus Energy:

2. Tariffs & Prices - is Octopus Energy cheap?

While customer service is important, so is getting a good deal and not paying over the odds on your energy bills. When it comes to pricing, Octopus Energy tariffs are competitive and certainly rank among the cheapest green suppliers in the UK.

From our research into the cheapest renewable suppliers, we found that a family of four living in a three bedroom house in London with average annual usage of 3,100 kWh electricity and 12,500 kWh gas, would pay around £946 per year on an Octopus Energy tariff. In comparison, Pure Planet came out at £959 per year, Bulb quoted £1,076 per year and Tonik £1,175 per year, all for the same usage.

  Pure Planet Bulb Tonik Energy Octopus Energy
Average cost per year for 3 bed house in London £959 £1,076 £1,175 £946.32

Prices correct as of October 2020

The Octopus Tracker tariff offers prices that change daily

'Octopus Tracker' tariff. Source

On the opposite end, suppliers such as OVO and Ecotricity are more expensive for the same amount of energy. Octopus Energy tariffs place them among the cheapest suppliers to go for at present, and will certainly tempt .

They also offer a range of additional tariffs including the ‘Octopus Go’ tariff for electric vehicles with cheap night rates for EV owners to charge their cars overnight.

Their innovative ‘Octopus Tracker’ tariff also offers customers variable prices that change daily to follow the price of the wholesale energy rates. With this tariff, customers can track the price of energy from their smartphone in real-time and see forecasts for their future energy bills.

Sensible pricing for green energy. Although not the cheapest I'm happy my money is spent correctly.

In our experience, their customers appear to be satisfied with the tariff pricing and are typically happy with what they're paying. Customers usually find their tariffs to be fair and competitively priced overall, while the extensive range of Octopus Energy tariffs also means there is something for everyone.

For tariffs and pricing we rate Octopus Energy:

Does your energy provider source its fuel from renewables?Leave your old provider behind. Call us to get help switching to a green tariff today. Call 020 3608 4293 or Get a free callback now.

3. Bills & Account Management

Octopus Energy encourage customers to do everything online and to manage their accounts through the company’s website. In the account area, customers can login to view bills, account details and submit meter readings. We've found customers tend to be happy with the online system and find it easy to navigate and manage. It isn't the most advanced system and is a little minimal in terms of features compared to some green suppliers, but it does the basics well.

The rest of the Octopus Energy website is basic when it comes to content and features, although it does contain information about their tariffs, history and energy sources. It also contains a support section with helpful information and answers to common questions related to the online account, bills and more. Again, the website is nothing special but is easy enough to use and find key information such as the support team's contact details.

...their online system is not only beautifully designed but also usable!

Octopus Energy App

For customers looking to manage their account on the go, the Octopus Energy app enables users to manage account details, view past bills and contact the support team. We also really like the app’s meter reader scanner that can capture meter readings without having to manually enter the numbers.

The app is available for Apple and Android devices. Customers who have reviewed the app online are not particularly impressed however, claiming it lacks advanced features and support for newer models of smartphones.

Octopus Energy reviews on the App Store have given the app an average score of 1.5 out of 5 and on Google Play it receives an average of 1.9 out of 5 (October 2020). Most reviewers are disappointed that it's not currently compatible with the latest iPhone X and that it often crashes or displays errors when submitting meter readings.

Does the basics ok, nothing more. Can submit meter readings and that’s about it. No iPhone X compatibility which is annoying and to be frank lazy development.”

Kop1906 (Apple App Store)

These sorts of complaints crop up often with energy supplier apps, so it's not to say that the Octopus Energy app is uniquely terrible. It's a shame many suppliers don't appear to put much effort or investment into creating a genuinely useful app for their customers, and we hope that this is a trend Octopus will looking to buck in the future.

For bills and account management we rate Octopus Energy:

Summing Up

All things considered, Octopus customers are happy with most of the key aspects of their service. And whilst they are not the cheapest supplier, they offer excellent support and their account management is good enough to satisfy most customers. We give them a solid 4 out of 5.

Overall, we score Octopus Energy:

About Octopus Energy

To continue our look into Octopus Energy, let's take a look at the company, their history, ethos and how they’ve managed to grow so quickly.

Who is the owner of Octopus Energy?

Octopus Energy is owned by Octopus Group, which was founded in 2000 by its CEO Simon Rogerson and co-founders Christopher Hulatt and Guy Myles.

Is Octopus Energy going bust?

No. On the contrary, Octopus has been selected by Ofgem as the Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) for several other energy suppliers that have gone bust, apparently being seen by the regulator as a safe pair of hands for those in need of a provider.

Mission & Ethos

Octopus Energy are one of the fastest growing suppliers in the UK’s burgeoning renewable energy market. As with most green suppliers, they tout their 100% renewable electricity tariffs as a key part of their business’ philosophy and are aiming to disrupt the ‘big 6’ suppliers and bring green energy to more British households and businesses.

To take this a step further from most suppliers, a major part of their business model is investing in renewable energy infrastructure. As the UK’s largest investor in solar power they are pushing to make more of the countries energy supply come from clean sources and have already set up over 150 solar farms across the UK.

Octopus are also on a mission to make buying energy as easy as possible for customers. To achieve this they have set out to make the entire process super simple, from signing up, to managing your account and contacting their customer service.

We believe buying energy should be as simple as buying cornflakes.

Octopus Energy

They also offer claim to be entirely transparent with customers when it comes to the price of wholesale energy and to set the reflect the wholesale market prices, passing on savings where possible. Alongside this they offer no exit fees and don’t tie customers in to any set contract.

We’ve heard it a million times before, but they also aim to provide top quality customer service. They also place importance on being available for contact across multiple channels including social media, by email and of course, by phone to ensure they are easily contactable.

History

Founder of Octopus Energy Greg Jackson

Founder Greg Jackson. The Times

Octopus Energy was originally founded in 2011 by entrepreneur Greg Jackson alongside Octopus Investments - a company that invests in and helps grow, various different startups in renewable energy, healthcare and finance.

Initially they started out by investing in solar farms and opened over 150 sites across the UK in order to help Britain harness the energy of the sun and increase our consumption of renewable energy.

In 2015, they developed into an energy supplier to take on the "complacent dinosaurs" who offered terrible customer service, overpriced tariffs and fossil-fuel-powered energy. They wanted to start a new kind of energy supplier that had a positive impact on the planet and to offer a more transparent, affordable and fair service to British households and businesses. As Greg Jackson's says on the Octopus Energy website, “The energy market was broken, and it was time to fix it.”

Octopus entered the market to disrupt the status quo with energy that's good for the planet, good for your wallet, and, honestly, good for your soul.

Octopus Energy
Octopus Energy have partnered with Arsenal FC

Octopus Energy have partnered with Arsenal FC. Source: Edie.net

In 2016 they formed a partnership with Arsenal Football Club as their ‘official energy partner’ to expand their brand to a wider audience. The partnership has resulted in a special tariff named the Arsenal Green Octopus Fixed tariff, whilst Octopus also supply the Emirates Stadium with renewable energy.

They are also benefiting from their branding being displayed around the stadium and across their website and other digital channels.

In July of 2018, Octopus Energy were appointed by energy regulator Ofgem to take over 100,000 customers from failing supplier Iresa Energy.

Later in the year, the purchased small supplier Affect Energy, inheriting their 22,000 customers and 17 of their staff, further boosting their size and market share.

Octopus Energy Electric Vehicles

Alongside generating and supplying renewable energy, Octopus Energy have recently ventured into the electric vehicle (EV) market, providing electric cars on a lease. To allow customers to charge their vehicles, they also offer installation of EV chargers at their home or business. They even offer a dedicated ‘Octopus Energy Go’ electricity tariff that charges the vehicle overnight, during the cheapest hours, for just 5p per kWh.

Currently, they are offering quotes for six different models of electric cars by lease, including the popular and economic Nissan Leaf and the highly sought after Tesla Model S.

Certifications & Awards

Energy Switch Guarantee

Octopus Energy are registered with the UK’s Energy Switch Guarantee scheme which ensures customers can change their energy suppliers quickly and hassle-free.

All suppliers in the scheme have committed to ensure:

  • The switch will take no longer than 21 days
  • The new supplier will not charge for the switching process
  • Your energy supply will not be interrupted
  • Your new energy supplier will handle the whole process for you
  • You can change your mind and cancel the switch within the first 14 days

Awards & recognition

Octopus Energy have been recognised for their contribution to Britain’s renewable energy industry with various different awards.

2018

‘Supplier of the Year 2018’ - uSwitch Energy Awards

2017

‘Supplier of the Year’ - The Energy Awards 2017
‘Leadership award’ - The British Renewable Energy Awards

Octopus Energy's Renewable Energy

Next up, let's take a look at where their energy comes from. Octopus are a rare breed of energy supplier in that they generate a lot of their own energy, rather than buying it all from generating companies around the UK.

Energy Mix

Octopus Energy generate and source 68.9% of their electricity and gas from renewable sources including solar power, wind power and tidal. The remaining 31.1% of their supply is sourced from coal, natural gas, nuclear energy and other sources. The majority of the energy they generate comes from various of their own sites across the UK and the rest is bought from third-party energy suppliers.

Renewable Electricity

Octopus Energy invest heavily in various forms of renewable electricity generation, most notably in solar power. As the UK’s largest investor in solar power, they have spent £2 billion to date on solar farms and solar infrastructure. Octopus claim this would be enough to power 250,000 homes or an entire city the size of Manchester! They have also installed 154 solar farms across the UK alongside a further 66 in France.

Octopus Energy solar farm

One of their many solar farms. Source: Octopus Energy

Did you know?

As with all suppliers providing 100% renewable electricity, Octopus Energy customers receive the same electricity from the National Grid - a melting pot of electricity sourced from renewable and non-renewable sources. However, for every unit of electricity their customers use, Octopus Energy guarantee to generate or buy and put back an equal amount into the grid that was renewably-sourced.

As renewable energy generation and usage increases in the future, the percentage of renewable electricity customers receive from the grid will increase. Therefore Octopus Energy and other suppliers are helping to increase the renewable portion of the UK’s electricity.

Green Gas

Unfortunately Octopus Energy do not supply ‘green gas’, a form of renewable energy which is typically generated from biomass and the breaking down of organic waste. Instead they commit to carbon-offset the fossil fuel-powered gas they supply by investing in carbon-offsetting projects around the world.

Compared with the other renewable energy suppliers in the UK, Octopus Energy’s 0% portion of green gas is far from ideal and it's quite rare to find a green energy supplier that offers no green gas at all. However, their carbon-offsetting investments does go some way to make up for this.

Octopus Energy Tariffs

Octopus Energy offer a lot of different tariffs with both fixed and variable prices. A few of these tariffs include:

  • Arsenal Green Octopus Fixed (12 Months)
  • Helpful Octopus Fixed (24 Months)
  • Helpful Octopus Fixed (24 Months)
  • Super Green Octopus Fixed (12 Months)
  • Flexible Octopus
  • Octopus Tracker
  • Octopus Go (Electric vehicles)

Compared to green suppliers such as Tonik and Bulb, their tariff prices are not the cheapest, as you’ll see in the quote we've outlined below.

Here are Octopus Energy's prices for a typical 3 bedroom home in London. This is based on the UK average annual energy usage of 3,100 kWh of electricity and 12,500 kWh of gas.

  Flexible Octopus (Electricity) Flexible Octopus (Gas)
Type of tariff Variable Variable
Renewable electricity 100% -
Green gas - 0%
No Exit fees tick tick
No Minimum term tick tick
Unit rate 14.05p per kWh 3.17p per kWh
Standing charge 19.02p per day 16.80p per day
Monthly cost £80.22 per month
Total yearly cost (3-bed house London) £962.63

Business Tariffs

Unlike many green suppliers, Octopus Energy also supply renewable energy to businesses and offer two specialist business energy tariffs.

  • Octopus Green Business (12 Months)
  • Flexible Octopus Business

These business tariffs are suitable for small, medium and large corporations and they can also install electric vehicle chargers on business premises.

 

Octopus Energy smart meter

Octopus is committed to rolling out smart meters as per the government's aim to have a smart meter in every UK home by 2021. It is currently installing SMETS2 smart meters, but area by area, so you may need to wait a bit for them to reach your area. The provider aims to have offered an Octopus Energy smart meter to all its customers by 2021.

Octopus Energy warm home discount

Octopus Energy does offer the warm home discount to customers who qualify. There are two ways people can qualify for the £140 credit towards their energy bills:

  • Customers who qualify for the Core Group will be notified by the government and the amount deducted from one of their bills.
  • Those eligible under the Broader Group must apply for the Octopus Energy warm home discount via the provider's website.

If you qualify under the Core Group, matters are fairly simple. If, however, you qualify under the Broader Group you must apply every year and you're not guaranteed to receive it just because you got it last year - criteria is subject to change and it is paid out on a first-come, first-served basis.

Octopus Energy contact number

Octopus Energy make it quick and easy to get in touch with their customer service team by phone or email. Alternatively, you can try to find a solution to your problem on the website’s Help & FAQ pages, but if you need to speak to an agent you can call the Octopus Energy contact number below.

Department Octopus Energy contact number Opening hours
General inquiries 0808 164 1088 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

If you'd rather not wait, you can send an email to hello@octopus.energy and an agent will get back to you. If, however, you want to talk to a human being without waiting, you can call one of our energy experts and get help switching on 020 3608 4293.

Looking for a number to use in case of an emergency?Octopus Energy customers, or indeed customers of any supplier, should report gas emergencies by calling 0800 111 999, which is a 24-hour emergency line for customers of any provider. To report a power cut, call 105.

Octopus Energy Login

Octopus customers can access their bills and account details on their website. To access your account, visit the Octopus Energy login page.

Once logged in to your Octopus Energy account, you can:

  • Submit meter readings
  • View your bills and statements
  • Manage your account details
  • Contact the support team

Should I Switch to Octopus Energy?

All in all, Octopus Energy have plenty going for them. Not only do they excel at customer service, they also offer business and EV tariffs and generate large amounts of their own renewable energy. On the downside, there are certainly cheaper tariffs around, their smartphone app is also not much to shout about, and their online account system is basic, although functional.

Overall though, we're still fans of Octopus Energy and think they have plenty to offer British households and businesses alike. If you're interested in switching to a green supplier, click the button below.

Make the Switch