Ovo is an independent energy company based in Bristol. Since taking over SSE in January 2020, it is now the second-biggest energy firm after British Gas. It supplies five million customers across England, Scotland and Wales.
Ovo Energy split off its pay-as-you-go, or prepayment meter, business into a separate supplier called It also took on the customers of failed supplier Spark Energy in 2018, but maintained the separate brand. However, Spark will soon be merging with and its customers will be moved over.
Ovo is investing in smart technology and services, too, including making electric storage heaters smart and selling home energy storage devices. More recently, it has come out with a new 'green' tariff for owners of electric cars which allows them to charge their car at a flat rate of 5p/kWh regardless of the time they are charging.
Ovo offers four 'green' tariffs, all backed by 100% renewable electricity. Plus, you can choose to upgrade to Ovo Beyond for a tariff including 100% carbon-neutral gas too, which includes 15% 'green' gas, for £6 extra a month (scroll down to find out more about where Ovo sources its energy).
It also sells a tariff for electric vehicle owners, which lets you access low-cost overnight charging and includes a free subscription to the electric vehicle charging network BP Pulse.
In January 2020, it agreed with energy regulator Ofgem to pay £8.9m to make up for communications and billing issues. It says it has now resolved these.
In August 2020 it also had to make a redress payment of £1.2m for SSE missing its smart meter targets in 2019.
Ovo Energy came joint-second out of 18 energy companies rated by 8,390 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey. It tied with Bristol Energy, which has since ceased trading. This is a huge improvement from last year, when it came joint-eighth. A few years ago it was the top-scoring supplier.
Overall, feedback from our survey was positive for Ovo Energy. Many customers appreciated their dedication to green tariffs and 75% said they would recommend the company to someone else.
Reasonable charges, efficient online service, and reassurance.
Never had an issue with them and they were fab when helping to switch to them.
The graphic below shows the breakdown of its score from our latest survey.
Scroll down to read the full Which? verdict on Ovo Energy, plus how its prices compare with other energy suppliers.
|Overall customer score||69%|
|Customer service online or over the phone|
|How accurate energy payments are|
|How clear statements are|
|Value for money|
Pros: Pays interest on accounts which are in credit; customer service is considered to be very good
Cons: Energy payments could be more accurate compared to other companies
After falling to joint-eighth place in last year's survey, Ovo Energy has risen through the ranks to joint-second this year, impressing customers with comprehensive services and seamless switchovers.
Ovo scored among the highest ratings for customer service, clarity of statements, and value for money - all being rated four stars in accordance with our survey.
Our survey revealed more than two thirds (67%) of Ovo Energy customers Which? heard from said its customer service was good and 79% shared that they were satisfied with it as their supplier overall.
Only 8% of Ovo Energy correspondents had any reason to complain to their supplier in the last 12 months - the second lowest figure we found.
Information from Ofgem reports an increase in the amount of complaints received by Ovo Energy from 2020 to 2021 - from around 2,000 to slightly over 3,000 per 100,000 customer accounts, respectively.
According to our survey, well over half (59%) of those who did complain reported that their complaint concerned payments, more specifically their direct debits increasing both when their account was in credit, and at unexpected times.
Ovo Energy appeared to solve complaints fairly well, with our survey reporting among the highest ratings for customers being 'fairly satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with the resolution to their problems (37%). Some customers reported dissatisfaction (47%), but this figure is much better than most competitors, with the highest dissatisfaction rate sitting at 87%.
Friendly staff and good service
After scoring a middling three stars in last year's survey, Ovo Energy's value for money appears to have improved to an impressive four stars this year. No other company scored over four stars for this category.
Although Ovo’s tariffs are not always the cheapest on the market, it pays customers between 3-5% interest on their credit balances (the rate depends on how long they have been a customer). This is a feature which many Ovo customers seem to enjoy, according to our survey.
Over half of the renewable electricity Ovo sells is renewable. It buys a small proportion of it directly from renewable generators.
It also buys Gas Declaration certificates to eliminate nuclear and coal power from its fuel mix.
|Proportion of renewable electricity sold to domestic customers||Does it generate renewable electricity?||Does it buy renewable electricity directly from generators?||Proportion of renewable electricity matched by REGO certificates||Does it generate or buy power directly from fossil fuels?||Does it sell green gas?|
|51.9%||No||Yes (12%)||100%||No||Yes (1.01%)|
Footnote: proportion of renewable electricity according to Ovo’s 2019/2020 fuel mix. Other responses based on information provided by suppliers in August and September 2021 about the electricity and gas supplied to their domestic customers.
Ovo told us that it has ‘chosen to invest in the smart grid because we believe that the renewable energy generation sector is well funded and growing fast’ and because ‘there is very little investment in the smart grid, which is urgently needed if we want to bring more intermittent renewable energy onto it’.
Its Kaluza flex platform lets electric vehicle owners charge them when the grid is cheapest and greenest and earn money by exporting power back to the grid when renewable energy generation is low.
August: Ovo launches new OVO Drive + Anytime electric vehicle (EV) green charging tariff, the first of its kind in the UK to offer separate rates for the car and home.
April: Ovo Energy enters into a Power Purchase Agreement with Ørsted to buy 100% of the green power from the 90MW-capacity Barrow Offshore Wind Farm.
March: Ovo is paying over 240,000 of its customers a total of £2.8m after overcharging 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.
Ovo’s affected customers will receive £11.64 each, on average. This includes reimbursing customers and paying some compensation.
December: Ovo announced that it is trailing linking smart meters to Tado smart thermostats to provide customers with information through the Ovo app about how they can reduce their energy use and in turn their carbon footprint.
August: Ovo had to pay £1.2m for SSE Energy Services’ failure to meet its smart meter targets, energy regulator Ofgem revealed.
SSE didn’t install enough smart meters in its customers’ homes in 2019. But since Ovo bought the supplier earlier in 2020, it paid the sum instead.
April: Ovo had to pay a penalty of £8.9m for failing to comply with certain standards of conduct, not providing the required information to customers or giving them inaccurate information and charging more than the price cap.
January: Ovo agreed to pay £8.9m for communications and billing issues, energy regulator Ofgem announced.
Around half a million customers received inaccurate annual statements, and others didn’t get one at all, between July 2015 and February 2018.
Some were over or under-charged, others weren't told about renewal when their tariff ended and some prepayment customers were charged the wrong amount.
Ovo Energy corrected the problems, including refunding customers who were overcharged and writing off amounts owed by customers charged at the wrong rates.