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20 May 2021

Octopus Energy

Octopus Energy claims to be ‘doing energy better' – and our expert analysis suggests it's living up to expectations. It's a Which? Recommended Provider for the fourth year in a row.
SI
Sarah Ingrams

Octopus Energy is just five years old in 2021, but in that short time it has grown to supply energy to two million homes and repeatedly achieved our coveted Which? Recommended Provider award.

It's a Which? Recommended Provider again in 2021.

It says it provides 'great value for the long term' and aims to make everything as simple and easy as possible for its customers.

Its range of deals include one designed for electric vehicle drivers, and a smart tariff with rates that track wholesale energy prices every half hour so customers can adapt their use to when electricity is cheapest. All of its tariffs match customers' electricity use with renewable sources. Additionally, its Super Green tariff has full carbon offset for gas.

None of its tariffs have exit fees.

Octopus Energy supplies gas and electricity to Affect Energy, Co-operative Energy, Ebico and M&S Energy customers. It also acquired customers from several energy suppliers - including Engie, Flow Energy, GB Energy Supply, Gen4U and Iresa - when the firms stopped trading or Octopus bought them.

Read on to find out how Octopus Energy measures up to more longstanding firms.

Compare gas and electricity prices using Which? Switch to see if you could save money with Octopus Energy.

Octopus Energy customer score

Octopus Energy is one of the best energy companies, as rated in the latest annual Which? customer survey of 7,460 members of the public. It's a Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) for the fourth year in a row, after passing all of our tough assessments. 

It narrowly missed out on the top spot in the customer survey, by two percentage points. Since our scores are based on the feedback of thousands of energy customers, you can trust them to reveal which energy suppliers are worth considering – or avoiding.

Great, cheap reliable company.

Octopus Energy customer

Find out more about how firms qualify to become a Which? Recommended Provider for energy, or read on to see what Octopus Energy’s customers think of it and if it's the best energy firm for you. 

Or, read about brands supplied by Octopus Energy, including Affect Energy, Co-operative Energy and M&S Energy.

Octopus Energy score breakdown

The graphic below shows the breakdown of Octopus Energy’s score in our latest survey.

Scroll down to read our full verdict on Octopus Energy and to find out more about its prices.

Find out how Octopus Energy compares with other energy firms in our guide to the best and worst energy companies.

Which? verdict on Octopus Energy

Octopus Energy has been a high-achieving firm from the start. It has succeeded in keeping customers happy while it has grown from a techy start-up to an established brand supplying energy to 5% of homes in Britain. It's the only energy firm we've awarded WRP status to more than twice. 

It gets strong ratings across the board, from its bills to its customer service. Its customers were among the least likely to have had problems with their supplier in our survey.

Octopus Energy also passed our assessment of its procedures, was better than average for its customer response times and complaints handling, and passed our pricing check, putting it in line to be a Which? Recommended Provider for 2021.

Out of the suppliers in our survey, it had the highest proportion of customers who rated the accuracy of its bills as 'excellent'. 

I submit my own readings and the bills always reflect this accurately.

Octopus Energy customer

It didn't stand out from other suppliers as much for customer service this year, being one of five firms in the survey to achieve a four star rating (no firms managed the full five stars).

Octopus Energy also scored four stars for how it resolves complaints - again it was among a small number of firms to achieve this in our survey and no firms scored five stars.

It is far better at communication and clarity than any supplier I have used in the past.

Octopus Energy customer

Besides being highly rated by its customers, it gets relatively few complaints, although it’s not the fastest at resolving them. In the first six months of 2020, it received fewer than five complaints per 1,000 customers, solving around six in 10 on the same or next working day. A few firms manage to solve more than 80% in that time.

Octopus Energy prides itself on being affordable and customers in our survey tend to agree. Its four star rating is very respectable, though one firm achieved five stars on this measure.

It offers a competitive tariff but I could possibly get a better price if I was prepared to have poorer customer service.

Octopus Energy customer

It took us 2 minutes 4 seconds, on average, to get through to a human on the phone to Octopus in our energy company response times undercover investigation in September and October 2020. This is significantly faster than the average (5 minutes 57 seconds) and Octopus was the sixth fastest firm overall, out of 31 firms we called.

The slowest firm this year, Boost, had a median average pick up time of more than 40 minutes, and three other firms had wait times of more than 20 minutes.

Every time I have had to contact them they have responded quickly.

Octopus Energy customer

We also emailed Octopus to see how quickly it responded. Our snapshot research found it took 1 hour 23 minutes to respond on average, which was the second fastest among companies in our email test. However, there were some occasions where our email wasn't responded to at all within the seven-day cut-off period.

Octopus Energy is owned by Octopus Investments, which funds solar panel sites, wind generation and anaerobic digestion. It claims its solar farms make up nearly 40% of the large-scale solar generation in Great Britain.

Pros: A Which? Recommended Provider; relatively fast to respond to phone calls; customers say its bills are very accurate

Cons: Not as speedy as some at resolving complaints

Can you join Octopus Energy with a prepayment meter?

Yes, Octopus Energy can supply customers with traditional prepayment meters. You'll need to email it with your details to get a quote and sign up. 

It doesn't yet supply customers with smart prepayment meters but is installing 'prepay compatible' smart meters and plans to have its smart prepayment services up and running in the second half of 2021.

Prepayment customers can get emergency credit of £5 (£10 for gas between October and April) when less than £1 electricity credit or £2 gas credit is left on the meter. You'll repay it in full next time you top up.

If you run out of credit between 4pm and 10am on weekdays, at weekends on bank holidays, your electricity won't shut off. Instead the cost of any electricity you use will be added onto your meter as debt and you'll pay it off next time you top-up. This is called 'friendly credit'. It doesn't apply to gas. 

Octopus Energy electricity sources

Octopus Energy in the news

Octopus Energy in 2021

April: Octopus Energy announced that it will supply energy for Ebico's customers. Not-for-profit firm Ebico will be responsible for signing-up new customers while Octopus will provide its customer service. 

March: Octopus Energy Group bought its sister company, Octopus Renewables. Its 300 projects, including solar and offshore wind, can produce over 2.8GW of renewable power.

Greg Jackson, CEO of Octopus Energy, said: 'To accelerate the global shift to renewable energy, we would like more control over renewable generation'.

Customers were also paid a total of £121,445 after Octopus Energy overcharged them when they switched supplier or tariff between 2013 and 2020. It was one of 18 energy firms found by regulator Ofgem to have failed to uphold these rules. Over 1 million customers were affected.

Octopus Energy’s 19,712 affected customers received £6.16 each, on average.

January: Octopus Energy launched a local time-of-use tariff that charges customers less when the wind blows more. Called 'Fan Club', the tariff is available only to people who live close to Octopus Energy's new wind turbines in Caerphilly in South Wales, and Market Weighton in Yorkshire.

Customers who use electricity when the turbines are spinning will pay 20% less on the unit price, rising to 50% less when the wind picks up and the turbines produce more electricity. 

Octopus Energy in 2020

December: It announced plans to launch the brand in Japan, in partnership with Tokyo Gas

January: Octopus bought Engie UK and took on its 70,000 customers. Engie decided to leave the UK household energy supply market. 

Earlier in the month Octopus Energy cut gas prices for 250,000 of its customers, reducing their bills by £80 per year, on average.

Octopus Energy in 2019

September: Octopus announced a partnership with the Mayor of London to create a new energy company, exclusively for Londoners. London Power sells only renewable electricity. All profits will be reinvested by City Hall into community projects tackling fuel poverty and making London a zero-carbon city. 

Earlier the same month, Octopus Energy announced it would start supplying electricity and gas, and providing customer service to Co-Operative Energy’s 300,000 customers. Flow Energy and GB Energy customers (currently supplied by the Co-op) will be moved to Octopus when their tariffs end. This brings Octopus Energy to around one million customers. 

Octopus Energy in 2018

September: Ofgem appointed Octopus Energy to take on Gen4U's 500 customers when it went bust. 

Octopus Energy also bought smaller rival Affect Energy and became M&S Energy’s supply partner, replacing SSE, which had worked with M&S Energy for nine years. 

August: All of Iresa's 90,000 customers were transferred to Octopus Energy after the smaller supplier went bust. 


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