Small energy companies
By Sarah Ingrams
Article 13 of 20
Ovo Energy came onto the 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 partners with Cheshire East Council, Peterborough City Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to provide energy for their local residents. In total, Ovo holds 2% of the UK domestic energy market.
Ovo offers just three tariffs and claims to be committed to good customer service. Ovo Energy uses a higher proportion of green energy to produce its electricity than many other suppliers, and 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 satisfaction
Congratulations to Ovo Energy. Ovo came top out of 23 energy companies rated by 8,917 members of the public in the annual Which? customer survey - the biggest of its kind.
Ovo Energy customer
‘Close to the cheapest in the market, excellent customer service and bills you can understand'
Ovo Energy narrowly missed out on being a Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) this year. To be a WRP, energy companies must meet all the necessary criteria, according to our thorough policy, practices and performance analysis.
The table below shows the breakdown of its score from our latest survey. Keep reading to find out how Ovo's prices compare with the cheapest on the market.
|Ovo Energy survey results|
|Area of performance||Star rating|
|Customer service and complaints handling|
|Value for money|
|Bills (accuracy and clarity)|
|Helping you to save energy|
(Survey: October 2016, responses of 201 Ovo Energy customers.)
Find out how Ovo Energy compares with other energy companies in best and worst energy companies, where you can also read more details on what an energy company has to do to become a Which? Recommended Provider.
Which? verdict on Ovo Energy
Although Ovo Energy has grown fast, it hasn’t let its standards slip. It scores highly year on year in our survey, finishing in first place for the second year running.
In the first half of last year, Ovo received the lowest number of complaints (just 1.5) per 1,000 customers.
Ovo Energy customer
‘We have been very happy with the service that we have received from Ovo.'
One Ovo customer told us: ‘Ovo give me good advice into what other households like mine are using in gas and electric.’
Ovo offers three tariffs: a variable tariff, a fixed tariff with 100% renewable electricity and a cheaper fixed plan with 33% renewable electricity. It also pays 3% interest on credit balance.
On its prices, one customer commented: ‘It's very reasonable and has been quick to refund any over-payment - it has also reduced the price.’
Ovo is among the fastest-growing independent energy suppliers in Britain and has gained 150,000 customers in the past year. Probably because of its rapid growth, its call-waiting time to speak to customer services is longer than some other small suppliers.
In our last customer waiting investigation (October 2017), it took an average of seven minutes and 32 seconds to answer customer calls. This placed Ovo 22nd of the 26 suppliers we called. It was much faster to speak to a human in sales (47 seconds), though.
It was reasonably fast to respond to our emails, compared with other energy suppliers, taking just over a day on average.
Ovo narrowly missed out on being a Which? Recommended Provider this year. As part of our criteria for the award, a company must not have been penalised by a regulator, or made redress payments for wrongdoing, in the previous year.
Ovo paid £58,000 to charity in December 2016, in agreement with regulator Ofgem, as redress for its agents missing appointments, turning up late and not compensating customers in 2014. After being reported to Ofgem in 2014, Ovo took action to improve its customer service processes.
Pros: Gets few complaints and handles them well, according to its customers.
Cons: It raised prices three times in 2016.
Ovo Energy fuel mix
Ovo has increased the amount of energy it gets from renewables over the past year and now gets its fuel from:
- 46.9% natural gas
- 53.1% renewables
(Note: This information was correct January 2017.)
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. Early in 2016, you could save a significant amount by choosing Ovo’s cheapest tariff. But if you're looking to save the most money now, you would be better off looking elsewhere.
Save money on energy. Use Which? Switch to find the cheapest gas and electricity.
On March 1 2017, Ovo announced a 1.5% increase in the price of its Pay As You Go (prepayment) variable energy tariff, which will add around £16 per year to dual fuel customers’ bills. Ovo said the increase is due to rises in policy and wholesale costs and to comply with new regulations for prepayment meters.
Ovo raised its prices three times in 2016, which it said was due to the rising wholesale costs of gas and electricity:
- November - 8.7% increase for pay-monthly fixed prices for gas and electricity. This resulted in an average increase of £80 per year. It also increased the price of its Pay Monthly Simpler variable tariff by 5% (or £50 per year) for dual fuel customers.
- August - 3.6% increase on gas and electricity prices for new or renewing customers on fixed energy tariffs.
- June - 7.6% price increase to its pay monthly fixed tariff. This increases dual fuel customers’ bills by £63 on average per year.
Early in the year, though, Ovo was the first company to cut gas prices when it announced a drop of 5.2% on 15 January 2016. New customers and customers renewing their fixed tariffs benefited - it saved the average user around £22 pounds a year.
Ovo also announced in January that it will reduce the cost of its prepayment meter tariff, pay-as-you-go, by 4% from 9 March 2016.
Ovo Energy in the news
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 next year 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 smart phone app linked to a smart meter, schedule automatic top ups, and track their energy use.
Ovo announced in December it would pay £58,000 to charity. This was redress for missing appointments with customers, or turning up late, and failing to pay compensation in 2014 (which energy market regulator Ofgem requires).
On 3 March 2015, Ovo Energy announced it had scrapped all exit fees from its tariffs. Customers of Ovo will still get 3% interest on all credit balances.
In January 2015, Ovo announced two price decreases: 5.5% to its fixed tariffs and 5.8% for dual fuel (10.4% drop for gas) to apply to its standard (variable) tariff to reflect falling wholesale costs. The 10.4% drop on its gas prices came into effect on 1 March 2015. This was Ovo's 11th price drop in 18 months.