When Greg Jackson founded green energy supplier Octopus Energy, he wanted to make energy greener, but also cheaper. He’d grown up in a low-income, single-parent family and knew the stress of a high utility bill. Three years later, he sits at the helm of one of the best energy suppliers in the UK, which sells among the cheapest energy tariffs in the UK, and powers homes with 100% green energy.
In this Octopus Energy review, we look at everything from the provider's pricing and customer service to its green credentials and more, to help you decide whether it's right for you. If you decide to switch, head over to our energy comparison page to find the best energy deals from Octopus in your area.
Octopus Energy: price
Before we look at how Octopus's prices compare with those from other providers, it's worth pointing out that energy unit rates - the amount you pay for each kWh you use - differ across the UK, depending on where you live and how simple or complicated it is to supply your area.
Octopus Energy: quick stats
Green electricity: 100%
Green gas: 0%
Carbon offsetting: yes
Customer service: 5 stars (Trustpilot)
Energy Switch Guarantee: yes
Exit fees: none
However, Octopus claims its customers save £222 on average, compared to the average Big 6 variable tariff. Certainly when we reviewed Octopus, we found the company's variable tariff to be one of the lowest in the market, at 11.7 per kwh for electricity and 2.3p for gas.
It was also one of the cheapest green energy suppliers. Of the providers we surveyed, only Bulb came in with a lower kwh price for gas and electricity. Bulb’s daily standing charges are higher though, at almost 4p more for gas.
(That's the daily rate you pay for having an energy supply - it covers the costs of getting the energy from the generators into your home.)
Unlike some energy suppliers, Octopus doesn't charges early exit fees for going elsewhere, and there’s no indirect loyalty penalty if you stay for years, either. Plus, if you know someone who's already with Octopus, they can refer you and you'll both get a £50 fuel credit. Alternatively, if you're a customer and you refer a friend to Octopus, you'll both get a £50 credit reward.
Octopus Energy: tariffs
There are three main Octopus tariffs to choose between: fixed 12 months (often the cheapest), a variable tracker and Super Green (the most popular), which offsets gas, too. Octopus also has several specialist tariffs. Its Octopus Go tariff is designed for electric vehicle drivers, offering super-cheap electricity for 5p/kWh between 00:30 - 04:30 every night.
The Agile Octopus tariff, meanwhile, gives customers access to half-hourly energy prices based on the wholesale energy market at the time. Prices are updated every day: at 4pm, customers receive a different unit rate for every half hour of the next 24 hours. It means you can maximise your energy usage when prices are at that day’s cheapest.
Agile Octopus also allows customers to sell surplus stored energy (bought when cheapest) back to the Grid when it’s most expensive. In fact, earlier this year Octopus paid thousands of customers to use electricity during the day as a result of an increase in solar and wind energy production.
Specific pricing for all tariffs is based on your postcode (because energy prices differ across the country) and usage. In the case of Agile Octopus, it also depends on your time of use.
How green is Octopus Energy?
Octopus Energy uses 100% green electricity from renewable sources like sun, wind and water. The company doesn't supply green gas - few UK suppliers do; it's currently very difficult to provide at scale. But for the price of a coffee, Octopus will offset all the carbon emissions created in both the production and the consumption of the natural gas you use in your home.
How? By reforesting and conserving vast areas of the Amazon, and working with UK charity Renewable World to bring innovative renewable energy technology to fuel-poor communities worldwide. Octopus buys its energy from solar sites – its parent company, Octopus Group, is the largest UK investor in solar farms – and matches any that is bought from other sources with a Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificate.
Octopus Energy: customer service
Octopus customers can talk to the company on the phone, via email and on Facebook Messenger. Plus, it’s the only energy company in the market at which you might get to speak with the boss. Every day, Jackson sets aside time to respond to customer queries. When T3 magazine dialled, Octopus picked up within nine seconds.
Octopus Energy: user reviews
Octopus Energy has been a Which? Recommended Supplier for three years running, and has a whopping five stars on Trustpilot, with 92% of over 30,000 reviewers rating it excellent (July 2020). Users have consistently praised the company’s user-friendly, transparent information and its prompt customer service.
Octopus Energy was also named Energy Supplier of the Year Award in 2020 by Uswitch, as well as being voted Best Company to Work for at the 2019 UK Employee Experience Awards. And at the 2019 British Renewable Energy Awards, Octopus picked up the award for the company that’s done the most to advance UK renewables. All of which goes far to explain how Octopus Energy has gone from zero to 1.5 million customers since launching in 2016.
Octopus Energy: do you need a smart meter?
Not all customers need a smart meter, but Octopus offers an installation service for anyone who might want one. And it has several innovative tariffs that work with smart meters, including Octopus Go, to power up your electric vehicle over night at the cheapest rate.
Octopus Energy: switching
Switching to Octopus energy is easy. The supplier has committed to Ofgem's Energy Switch Guarantee, which guarantees a reliable and hassle-free switch within 21 days. There are two main ways to do it.
You can either go directly to Octopus for a quote - just pop your postcode in, answer three questions on your energy use and you'll be shown three tariffs - Octopus' fixed rate, variable and super green plans - with a monthly estimate for each. You can also find out more about the company's more innovative tariffs from there too.
Alternatively, you can use a free independent price comparison service, such as our energy price comparison tool, to find the best energy deals in your area. The advantage of this is you'll be shown how much you would save from switching to each plan, and you can compare Octopus's prices with the rest of the market to decide whether it's right for your budget. You can also filter your results by a number of criteria - including tariff type, and features such as whether a tariff is green, or avoids exit fees - to help you find exactly the right plan.
Whether you go through Octopus directly or an energy comparison site, you'll be shown exactly the same tariff pricing: the unit cost of energy doesn't change. However, bear in mind that if you want to switch to one of Octopus's innovative smart tariffs, you'll need to go through Octopus directly: only its three most popular tariffs appear in price comparison results.
Should you switch to Octopus Energy?
Yes, you should switch to Octopus Energy. The supplier's impressive clutch of industry awards and consistently good reviews from customers speak for themselves. Given its affordable price, top customer service and forward-thinking attitude to energy and climate change, we think Octopus is the best energy supplier in the UK right now.
Compare Octopus's tariffs with the rest of the market
We've partnered with MoneySupermarket to help you find the best energy deals in your area. Our energy comparison tool takes two minutes to use, and could save you hundreds on your bills. Just tell us your post code and how much gas and electricity you use, and we'll show the best Octopus tariffs for your home, plus all the best energy deals in your area. Save money on your energy bills nowView Deal