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Ovo Energy

By Sarah Ingrams

Article 18 of 25

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Ovo Energy

Ovo Energy joined the energy market in 2009 and now has around 690,000 customers. Ovo says it aims to be the UK’s most trusted energy company.

Ovo is an independent energy company based in Bristol. It supplies energy to around 2% of energy customers in England, Scotland and Wales. It partners with Cheshire East Council, Peterborough City Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to provide energy for their local residents.

Recently, Ovo Energy split off its pay-as-you-go, or prepayment meter, business into a separate supplier called Boost Energy. In November, Ofgem announced that it would take on the customers of failed supplier, Spark Energy.

Ovo offers just three tariffs and claims to be committed to transparent pricing and good customer service. All of Ovo’s tariffs are backed by 33% renewable electricity, a higher proportion than many other suppliers, and it offers a 100% renewable electricity tariff (scroll down to find out more about where Ovo sources its energy).

See how Ovo Energy’s prices compare with the rest of the market by using Which? Switch to find the cheapest gas and electricity deals.

Ovo Energy customer score

Ovo Energy came joint sixth out of 31 energy companies rated by 8,761 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey. Last year it finished top.

‘I've had no problems, their website is great, prices are good.’

Ovo customer

Ovo Energy score breakdown

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.

Find out how Ovo Energy compares with other energy companies in best and worst energy companies.

Which? verdict on Ovo Energy

Ovo Energy is no longer the favourite of British energy customers. It has held the top spot for the past two years and previously was the first Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) for energy.

Last year, 94% of Ovo’s customers told us they were satisfied. This year, 88% say they’re satisfied. The percentage of customers who would recommend Ovo Energy is also nearly nine percentage points fewer.

Despite losing number-one ranking, Ovo Energy’s star ratings are among the highest. It’s one of just three firms to achieve the maximum five stars from its customers in three categories: bills, phone customer service and value for money.

‘Ovo produces easy-to-read bills with explanations.’

Ovo Energy customer

Customers switch to Ovo Energy for lower prices, better customer service and its good reputation, according to our analysis of Which? energy customers satisfaction survey data. 

But those leaving cite fixed-rate tariffs ending or bills being too high as the main reasons. This is despite current customers ranking it excellent value for money. 

Ovo pays 3% interest to customers who keep their accounts in credit, although its tariffs are rarely the cheapest on the market.

Ovo Energy customer service

Ovo had the lowest levels of complaints in the first half of 2017. It received just 0.79 complaints per 1,000 customers. The worst companies received 57 complaints for the same number of customers.

‘When I've had a problem, Ovo sorted it out quickly and gave compensation.’

Ovo Energy customer

Ovo Energy is among the fastest-growing independent energy suppliers in Britain. This might help explain why its call waiting time to speak to customer services was comparable to some of the Big Six suppliers (such as Npower), rather than some other small suppliers.

In our most recent energy customer service investigation it took 2min 3sec to get through to a human when we phoned. The fastest firm managed to pick up in 10 seconds, on average. Ovo's performance this year is an improvement on 2017, when it took more than seven minutes on average to answer customer calls. 

When we emailed, Ovo took just over a day and a half to respond, on average, in our snapshot investigation.

‘I've only had to phone then on a few occasions but they are always clear and concise. True to their word and reliable.’

Ovo Energy customer

Ovo’s online account was mentioned by some customers responding to our survey. Besides submitting meter readings, customers with smart meters can get a breakdown of their energy use by appliance type.

Pros: Gets few complaints and customers consider it good value for money

Cons: Slower to answer calls from customers than sales calls in our snapshot investigation

Ovo Energy electricity sources

Ovo Energy prices

The graph above shows how Ovo’s variable (or standard) tariff compares with its cheapest fixed tariff and the cheapest fixed tariff on the market over the past year. 

Throughout this time, you could save by choosing Ovo’s cheapest tariff, compared with its standard tariff. But if you were looking to save £200 or more, you would have been better off looking elsewhere.

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Ovo Energy announced its second price increase of the year for customers on its Simpler Energy variable tariff. All customers will see a 6.5% price rise from 17 October, adding £75 on average to bills each year.

But Ovo is also scrapping its online discount. Customers who currently receive this will see a 12.4% increase, and an average of £135 extra on their annual bill.

Ovo said that wholesale costs have risen by more than 15% since June and ‘as a result we’re increasing our variable plan rates and removing the online discount’.

Ovo’s Simpler Energy tariff is not currently available to new customers.

Ovo also raised its prices in June 2018. Customers saw their dual fuel bills rise 5%, or £53, on average per year. 

In 2017, Ovo increased the price of its Pay As You Go (prepayment) variable energy tariff  by 1.5%. In 2016, it raised prices three times, which it blamed on rising wholesale costs of gas and electricity.

Ovo Energy in the news

2018

November: Ovo Energy was chosen by Ofgem to take on Spark Energy’s 290,000 domestic customers, after the smaller supplier failed.

Ovo Energy also bought Spark Energy Ltd and plans to keep the Spark Energy brand. Read what you need to know if you’re a Spark Energy customer.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and found of Ovo said: “We will combine OVO’s innovative technology and focus on customer experience with Spark’s unique network of partnerships to bring greater products and services to more households around the UK.”

September: Energy regulator Ofgem is examining how Ovo Energy, and three other companies, deals with customer complaints. Ofgem announced this after the results of it complaints handling survey showed some suppliers have 'unacceptably low' customer satisfaction for complaints.

April: Ovo launched the first widely-available domestic electric vehicle-to-grid charger. Drivers can sell surplus energy from their electric vehicle batteries back to the grid. 

It also unveiled a home energy storage battery and promoted its intelligent platform, VCharge, which remotely connects and controls batteries in consumers’ homes to create a ‘virtual power plant’.

February: Ovo is being investigated by energy regulator Ofgem for the energy consumption information it gave some customers last winter. Ofgem will look into whether Ovo breached license conditions about giving customers information about their energy usage which was accurate, or based on best estimate, complete and not misleading.

2017

October: Ovo announced it will pay electric car owners to use their vehicle's battery to buy and sell electricity from the grid. The 'vehicle-to-grid' scheme is set to launch in 2018 and Ovo says the savings would cover the cost of charging an electric car. You’ll only be eligible if you own a Nissan Leaf and you’ll need to have a special charger installed in your home.

September: Ovo split its prepayment energy business into a separate brand, called Boost. Previously called Ovo Energy Smart PAYG+, Boost lets customers top up via a smartphone app linked to a smart meter, schedule automatic top ups and track their energy use.

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