Octopus Energy Is the Answer to a Broken, Inefficient Market

Every power provider I’ve tried (six in whole) has routinely overcharged me, estimating my utilization to be a lot greater than it truly was yearly. Most people prepay their power payments by direct debit in the UK, and power suppliers estimate your utilization and set your month-to-month invoice at a stage to cowl it. They solely calculate what you truly used each three months. And they don’t refund the quantity they overcharge, preferring to hold 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 power use soars in the winter when it’s chilly, there may be a reputable argument for accruing credit score over the summer season, however even taking that under consideration, an Ofgem report revealed that in 2018, power suppliers had taken £1.4 billion greater than they wanted. The variety of suppliers peaked at 70 that very same 12 months, 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 lots of went bust, leaving taxpayers to foot the invoice.

Clear and Direct

When I first logged on to Octopus’ web site, I might see my power use and payments at a look or submit a meter studying. It could appear to be a low bar, however all my earlier suppliers had clunky programs providing restricted knowledge, not to point out frequent downtime and knowledge breaches. With Octopus, you’ll be able to submit a meter studying as typically as you want, which suggests correct billing primarily based in your precise utilization.

Submit a meter studying each month and also you earn a spin of the wheel of fortune, the place you’ll be able to win prizes from £1 up to £512. This gamification of meter readings is a intelligent approach to encourage people 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 obtained a sensible meter. It was put in at no cost and got here with a wi-fi show that reveals my power use for electrical energy and gasoline. I don’t have to submit meter readings anymore, as the information mechanically uploads to Octopus, however the firm nonetheless permits me a month-to-month wheel of fortune spin. Even its maintain music is best. When traces are busy, if Octopus has your date of start on file, it should play the No. 1 track from while you have been 14 years previous. Your musical tastes cemented again then, and listening to a tune you want helps chill you out.

I’m not the solely completely happy buyer. Octopus has scored consistently highly for customer support and received a coveted Which Recommendation 5 years in a row (it’s the solely power agency to get one this 12 months).

Sense of Responsibility

Last winter, Octopus arrange a £2.5 million Assistance Fund for patrons battling excessive costs. It gave away 7,000 free electric blankets for the hardest hit, as a result of it’s rather more reasonably priced to warmth a particular person than a entire residence. The fund has been increased to £7 million this 12 months. 

The firm additionally ran a Winter Workout challenge that estimated your gasoline utilization over 12 weeks of winter and provided anybody who decreased their gasoline consumption the probability to win a money prize. Aside from providing ideas and a house 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 approach to scale back gasoline utilization, and it included an possibility to donate your winnings to the Assistance Fund at the finish, with Octopus matching all donations.

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