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, creating electric vehicle chargers that charge your car when electricity is cheaper or in less demand, and selling home energy storage devices.
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-eighth, along with Sainsbury's Energy, out of 25 energy companies rated by 7,460 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey. A few years ago it was the top-scoring supplier.
It is good value compared to many other companies.
Easy to deal with and responsive.
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.
Customers are still enthusiastic about Ovo, but it’s no longer the top-rated supplier.
The accuracy and clarity of its bills, rated five and four stars respectively, are on a par with the top-scoring firms as is its customer service and complaints handling – it gets four stars for both. No companies scored the full five stars for these two measures.
My bill is clearly laid out with clear calculations and explanations.
Every time I have had a issue they have resolved it quickly and to my satisfaction.
As well as being rated well in our survey for dealing with complaints, Ovo has one of the best records for resolving complaints within eight weeks, according to data from the regulator Ofgem. It managed 98% for the first six months of 2020. The worst firms only managed to solve 58% in that time.
Customers switch to Ovo Energy primarily for lower prices, although it only received a middling three stars for value for money. However, 28% said they switched to it because of its good reputation – higher than the 17% average across suppliers.
Although Ovo’s tariffs are rarely 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).
In our most recent energy call waiting investigation, in September and October 2020, Ovo Energy answered the phone in 6 minutes 55 seconds on average. This was just a little slower than the overall median average waiting time for all suppliers of 5 minutes 57 seconds.
For comparison, the four slowest firms of the 31 we contacted took more than 20 minutes.
Ovo was faster to answer using live chat (3 minutes 6 seconds); again, this is very similar to the average wait time for the other 18 firms we tried to contact using this method.
Pros: Pays interest on accounts which are in credit; solves almost all complaints within eight weeks
Cons: Value for money isn't rated as highly as for other suppliers
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.
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.
December: Ovo got the go-ahead from the regulator (the Competition and Markets Authority) to buy SSE’s household energy and services business.