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Flow Energy

By Sarah Ingrams

Article 9 of 27

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Flow Energy

Flow Energy is a rapidly growing energy company, which also sells smart home products. Find out if you should switch to Flow Energy.

Flow Energy says it’s an energy company ‘big enough to trust and small enough to care’. Since it launched in 2013, it has grown to supply more than 130,000 customers.

In May 2018, Flow's energy supply business became part of Co-operative Energy. 

Then in September 2019, Co-operative Energy announced that Octopus Energy would supply its customers with gas and electricity. This includes Flow Energy customers, as they’re part of Co-op Energy. The partnership between the two firms will also see Octopus Energy provide customer service.  

Can you save money by switching to Flow Energy? Compare gas and electricity prices to see how Flow’s compare with the rest of the market.

Flow Energy customers: what the Octopus Energy deal means for you

Flow Energy customers will become customers of Octopus Energy. Once your current tariff ends, you will be moved onto an Octopus Energy tariff. 

It will take Octopus Energy a couple of months to transfer you onto its systems and will get in touch when it has.

Find out what Octopus Energy’s customers think of it.

If Flow Energy installed your smart meter, it may not work with Octopus Energy’s systems. This is because the smart meter is a first-generation meter which aren’t able to be operated by all suppliers. If this happens, Octopus Energy will send you a reminder to submit your monthly meter readings online. Find out more about smart meters.

Flow Energy customer satisfaction

Flow Energy came joint 14th out of 30 energy companies rated by 7,429 members of the public in the annual Which? energy supplier satisfaction survey.

The other company to share the 14th position is Green Network Energy. Both firms got a higher customer score than all of the Big Six companies.

Co-operative Energy, which bought Flow Energy in May 2018, is ranked slightly lower by its customers, coming 16th out of 30 firms in our survey. 

Flow Energy score breakdown

The graphic below shows the breakdown of Flow Energy's score from our latest survey.

Scroll down to read the full Which? verdict on Flow Energy, plus which smart home products it sells.

Find out how Flow Energy compares with other energy companiessee the full results of the best and worst energy companies

Which? verdict on Flow Energy

Flow Energy's ratings were generally 'good' across most of the categories, bar 'helping customers to understand and reduce their energy use', which only received three stars out of five. But with 80% of its customers still 'satisfied' with the company, it could be doing worse. 

It was its billing accuracy that impressed customers the most, with a huge 94% of respondents rating it either 'good' or 'excellent'. This is one of the highest percentages of the 30 energy suppliers included in our survey.

Many customers praised the 'great' system that Flow Energy use (monthly online readings), citing it as the reason for such accurate bills. One customer said: 'They have a great system were I supply a reading every month to make sure my bills are accurate.' 

When it comes to 'value for money', customers seem satisfied. With an overall four out of five star rating and 80% of customers classing it as either 'good' or 'excellent'. Customers' comments on this category include: 'Prices are reasonable' and 'cheaper rates than elsewhere.' But there's 'always room for improvement', as another customer reported in the survey. 

Customer service, both over the phone and online, were given four out of five stars. 

Plus when we conducted a snapshot investigation into energy companies' customer waiting times, Flow Energy took less than a minute to answer the phone on average (45 seconds) - faster than linked brands Cooperative Energy, GB Energy and Octopus Energy.

Unfortunately we didn't receive enough responses to give 'complaints handling' a star rating. 

In a separate investigation by Which?, we found that although Flow had one of the lowest levels of complaints per 1,000 customers in the first half of last year, it’s not the speediest to resolve them. Just 11% were completed within two days in the first three months of 2018, and only 17% for the following three months.

All of Flow Energy’s tariffs come with 50% renewable electricity, but you can pay for an optional upgrade to bring this up to 100%.

Pros: Low levels of complaints, all tariffs have 50% renewable electricity

Cons: Not the speediest to resolve the complaints it does get

Flow Energy electricity sources

Flow Energy in the news

September: Octopus Energy will being supplying Flow Energy's customers with gas and electricity, and providing customer service, after Co-operative Energy agreed a partnership.

February: Flow Energy announced that it will charge customers £118 more per year from 1 April.

This is a 10% increase from its current prices and affects only those who are on its standard or default tariffs. These are called Standard Variable and Orchid.

It announced the increase after energy regulator Ofgem said that it was raising the price cap currently in place on energy bills, permitting suppliers to charge more.

October: Flow Energy announced its second price rise of 2018. Customers on its standard variable tariff who use a medium amount of energy will see their gas prices increase by 14.8%, and their electricity prices increase by 6.9%, on average. Overall this will add £115 per year to customers' bills.

The price rise will apply from 11 November.

Flow said that wholesale prices had continued to increase since its previous price rise 'meaning that to ensure we can continue to provide our customers with the service that they deserve, we have had to increase our prices again'.

July: Flow Energy announced it will raise prices for customers on its variable tariff from 20 August. The 7% increase on dual-fuel prices will see customers pay £72 extra per year, on average.

It blamed wholesale price rises of 32% since April 2017 for the increase.

May:Co-op Energy completed its acquisition of Flow Energy. Flow Energy will still operate as a separate brand, but as part of Co-op Energy. Customers’ fixed price contracts will be honoured.

April: Flow Energy will be bought by Co-operative Energy for £9.25m, the company announced. In a statement, parent company Flowgroup said the sale of its energy supply business was the ‘only realistic course of action’ in the face of the government’s price cap, fierce competition from newer firms and increases in wholesale energy prices. Shareholders will vote on the sale later this month.

May: Flow Energy was up for sale in spring, until Flowgroup secured funding from a US investment firm to grow the energy firm’s customer base instead. Investment firm Palm Ventures said it will raise up to £29m to support Flow’s growth. Its ambition is to supply one million customer accounts; quadruple its current number.
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