Octopus Energy Is the Answer to a Broken, Inefficient Market
Every vitality provider I’ve tried (six in whole) has routinely overcharged me, estimating my utilization to be a lot increased than it truly was yearly. Most of us prepay their vitality payments by direct debit in the UK, and vitality suppliers estimate your utilization and set your month-to-month invoice at a degree to cowl it. They solely calculate what you truly used each three months. And they don’t refund the quantity they overcharge, preferring to maintain it for future payments. I’ve wasted hours of my life on maintain or arguing with suppliers to declare my credit score again and scale back my month-to-month funds, solely to see them elevated once more the subsequent month.
Because vitality use soars in the winter when it’s chilly, there may be a authentic argument for accruing credit score over the summer season, however even taking that under consideration, an Ofgem report revealed that in 2018, vitality suppliers had taken £1.4 billion greater than they wanted. The variety of suppliers peaked at 70 that very same yr, however many have been already dipping into this money. The regulators failed woefully to maintain new suppliers to account, regardless of clear proof of economic unsustainability (Avro was the most egregious example), and plenty of went bust, leaving taxpayers to foot the invoice.
Clear and Direct
When I first logged on to Octopus’ web site, I may see my vitality use and payments at a look or submit a meter studying. It might appear to be a low bar, however all my earlier suppliers had clunky programs providing restricted information, not to point out frequent downtime and information breaches. With Octopus, you may submit a meter studying as typically as you want, which implies correct billing based mostly in your precise utilization.
Submit a meter studying each month and also you earn a spin of the wheel of fortune, the place you may win prizes from £1 up to £512. This gamification of meter readings is a intelligent method to encourage of us to submit them extra typically. Dibb-Simkin informed me that it doesn’t simply make billing extra correct, it additionally permits extra environment friendly balancing of the energy grid by offering perception into real-time utilization.
Just a few months after becoming a member of Octopus, I bought a sensible meter. It was put in totally free and got here with a wi-fi show that exhibits my vitality use for electrical energy and fuel. I don’t have to submit meter readings anymore, as the data routinely uploads to Octopus, however the firm nonetheless permits me a month-to-month wheel of fortune spin. Even its maintain music is healthier. When traces are busy, if Octopus has your date of start on file, it’s going to play the No. 1 music from if you have been 14 years outdated. Your musical tastes cemented again then, and listening to a tune you want helps chill you out.
I’m not the solely glad buyer. Octopus has scored consistently highly for customer support and received a coveted Which Recommendation 5 years in a row (it’s the solely vitality agency to get one this yr).
Sense of Responsibility
Last winter, Octopus arrange a £2.5 million Assistance Fund for patrons fighting excessive costs. It gave away 7,000 free electric blankets for the hardest hit, as a result of it’s far more inexpensive to warmth a individual than a complete house. The fund has been increased to £7 million this yr.
The firm additionally ran a Winter Workout challenge that estimated your fuel utilization over 12 weeks of winter and supplied anybody who diminished their fuel consumption the likelihood to win a money prize. Aside from providing suggestions and a area for folk to share concepts, there have been weekly and grand prizes, and everybody who was profitable shared in a £1 million pot. It was a sensible method to scale back fuel utilization, and it included an choice to donate your winnings to the Assistance Fund at the finish, with Octopus matching all donations.