Making energy prices fair
Energy companies have historically been some of the UK’s least trusted businesses. In 2016, we were founded to change that.
This year, like many years before, we’re the UK’s most trusted energy supplier, and the one that people were most likely to recommend. Customers who stuck with us since we started would’ve saved £1,451 by now on average compared to another large legacy supplier. And that’s just us getting started.
Find out how we’ve been fighting for fair prices over the last eight years. Not just for our own customers, but for every single household in the UK.
How we give you fair prices in a nutshell:
- We’ve always kept our prices below the energy price cap – the only large energy supplier to do so.
- We helped make the energy price cap law, which saved UK customers over a billion on bills in its first year alone – and we continue to fight for consumer protections.
- Historically, we’ve cut prices when others raised them. When we had to raise prices, we’ve done it later, and by less, than our competitors.
- In the energy crisis, we spent more than £150 million keeping everyone’s prices lower, and a further £30 million on our Octo Assist Fund to support customers in need
- We build smart tariffs to help people cut their bills by using greener energy. Like Tracker, which gives people transparent access to wholesale energy prices.
- We reward people for changing when they use energy to avoid fossil fuels or use up wind and solar power. Schemes like Saving Sessions and Power-ups have allowed customers to earn £9 million so far
Read more about our mission to keep prices fair below.
From 2016, we’ve exposed the Big 6's ‘Tease and Squeeze’ pricing
A few years before Octopus came to be, our CEO Greg opened an energy bill for his flat. It was astronomical. He called the company, only to be told he’d rolled off his fixed contract onto a much higher default tariff. Since he’d called, it was no trouble to move him to a far better rate.
As soon as we started welcoming customers, we took a stand against what we began to call “Tease and Squeeze” pricing. We launched an investigation with Michael Robinson from the BBC, analysing each supplier’s energy prices — the cheap introductory deals, and the ‘default’ prices you’d be moved to when the intro deal ended. The difference was stark.
Most main suppliers were subsidising their low offers by charging loyal customers hundreds more. Customers who didn’t keep their eye religiously on the ball were losing out. That’s nearly all of us, but we found the most vulnerable and low income homes were hit the hardest — perversely, the people most in need of a cheaper bill. Read the BBC report here.
The cheapest deal each supplier was offering (the blue dot) vs the cost of the standard variable tariff they would be switched to after (the orange square)
We wanted to go further to draw attention — so we set up a little social experiment with a pop-up pub on Carnaby Street...
Fighting for the energy price cap
To put a stop to Tease and Squeeze tactics, we launched a national campaign for better consumer protections in the form of an energy price cap.
We shared our research with MPs, councils, industry groups, journalists and customers. In 2017, our message broke through. MPs mentioned Tease and Squeeze in their arguments for a price cap.
In 2018, the energy price cap became law. It set out a fair maximum price a supplier could charge on a standard variable tariff, based on the true cost of supply, and allowing for a small margin on top — effectively ending Tease and Squeeze.
In the first year after it passed, the energy price cap saved UK households over £1 billion on their bills.
It's been in place ever since, saving customers untold sums and keeping energy supplier profits in check.
We cut prices when everyone else raised them
Time and time again in the years following the price cap, we've watched other suppliers set their prices to the highest they legally could. We knew we could do better.
In 2017, when other suppliers were all announcing price rises, we announced a cut: making our dual fuel tariff £140-£80 cheaper than the rest. We did it again in 2019.
Ever since, we've always kept our price below the energy price cap – the only large supplier to do so. When we've had to increase prices, we've done it later, and by less, than other major suppliers.
In 2017, we launched Tracker, Britain's fairest energy tariff
Octopus Tracker launched in 2017 as Britain's fairest energy tariff (here's how the Guardian covered it).
On Tracker, the unit price of energy changes every day, based on that days' market energy price. Exposing the wholesale price gives customers unrivalled access to short term price dips. Tracker showed customers for the first time, exactly where their energy bill was going.
To this day, Tracker is one of the UK's best energy deals.
In 2018, we introduced the UK's first smart tariffs to help customers save by being greener
Octopus Go, gives EV drivers a cheaper charge overnight. Outgoing Octopus, the first smart export tariff, pays customers fairly for their solar power. Agile Octopus is the first tariff to actually pay people to use up spare green energy when market prices went negative.
Over the years, we've designed a range of smart tariffs that help customers save hundreds of pounds a year for using clean technologies at the greenest times.
I switched to @OctopusEnergy Agile tariff and this month alone it’s saved me £211 compared to a standard tariff. I paid an average of 22.97p per kWh for electricity - previously I was at 36.98p— Benjamin (@bjblyth) January 25, 2023
On my best day in Jan I paid an average of 7.93p per kWh.
Read these blogs to get to know some of our customers who have successfully reduced their bills by hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds:
In the energy crisis, we spent £150 million holding prices down, and millions more to support struggling customers
In 2021, global gas prices soared, sparking a once-in-a-generation crisis. At the peak, prices were 14x higher than 'normal'. This had a catastrophic impact on customers' bills.
As well as working closely with the government to bring in new protections throughout the crisis, we went further for our customers:
- Absorbing £150 million to keep everyone's bills lower
- Setting up Octopus Assist: a support fund for our most vulnerable. It started with £5m, but has increased over time to £30 million.
- Introducing or expanding innovative ways to help customers save energy: free electric blankets, loaning thermal cameras to spot heat loss, and home visits to 200,000+ vulnerable homes from energy experts
In 2022, we launched Saving Sessions
We developed the world's largest customer energy saving project. Saving Sessions rewards customers for collectively saving power during certain times to avoid fossil fuels. To date, it's paid hundreds of thousands of customers more then £9 million.
Another awesome feature we now have is Power Ups, a game-changer that gives customers free energy during specific, super-green times when renewable power is plentiful.
We will continue to fight for fairer policies and regulations that are in the customers’ best interest. Most recently, we have been at the forefront the push for locational pricing to help expose the savings of cheap-to-produce British renewables to customers. We've vocally opposed standing charge increases and pushed to reduce the 'green tax' on electricity.
We started our company with a mission to bring customers greener, fairer, cheaper energy.
We have undoubtedly saved customers money: on average, a typical customer who joined a fixed Octopus tariff in 2016 and stuck with us ever since would've saved over £1,451 by 2023. But more than that, we've worked hard to make energy fairer for everyone – not just our own customers.
We'll keep doing right by you, and fighting for fairer energy for all.
Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!×Close window