Octopus Energy Review from an Octopus Customer

You probably already know that Octopus is one of the best UK energy suppliers with current Trustpilot ratings of 4.8/5 with over 52,000 reviews. However at Safe Energy Switch I make a point of switching to the energy companies to get an inside look from a customers perspective.

As a customer you experience and learn things that you would not know about unless you had been with the supplier for a period of time. So this is one of the more comprehensive Octopus Energy reviews that will help you decide if switching to Octopus is for you.

Is Octopus Energy a Good Supplier?

In terms of customer service and if you are comparing to other gas and electricity suppliers then Octopus is one of the best. You can never say any supplier will be without issues as a small percentage of customers will always encounter problems. However with Octopus you are less likely to experience problems compared to most other suppliers.

As well as a 4.8 rating on Trustpilot Octopus won the Uswitch poll for best supplier in 2018 and 2020 with 92%. They were also Which? Recommended from 2018 to 2021. They have grown rapidly over the last few years and are now classed as a large energy supplier by Ofgem. They've also bought out other suppliers highly rated suppliers including Affect Energy, London Power and M&S Energy.

Who are Octopus Energy's closest competitors?

Whilst Octopus, like many of the newer energy suppliers at the time, took a lot of customers from the traditional Big Six, specifically British Gas. The closest competitor is Bulb, our Octopus vs Bulb comparison shows that Bulb is a very close second. One of the things Bulb does currently do better is that 4% of their carbon neutral gas is green gas where Octopus is just carbon neutral gas.

There are other good suppliers that are worth considering especially if price is more of a critical factor for you then take a look at the Green Energy tariffs and Avro Energy. Both are consistently well customer rated suppliers and usually have some of the cheapest gas and electric on the market.

Why I switched to Octopus Energy

Other than wanting to offer a more authentic review as a customer I switched to Octopus Energy from People's Energy because they are a highly rated UK energy supplier with some innovative ideas.

I had been with People's Energy for many years (2018 to 2020) after being on a favourable fixed energy deal that come to an end I decided to switch. The fixed rate tariffs they offer have exit fees so I didn't want to switch before the end of the fixed term and incur an early exit fee. Octopus does not have exit fees.

Once a fixed rate deal ends you will get the option of switching to one of your providers current deals. One of the pluses for People's Energy is that they pay back 75% of their profits back to their customers. However this is not starting until the company is in profit which they estimate to be around 2021/22.

Octopus does have a refer a friend scheme which means that if you join them using a referral link you get £50 credited to your account which goes a long way to covering a month's energy bill for a typical UK household. I was going to switch to Octopus anyways so it makes sense to get the cashback.

You should not switch to an energy company purely on the offer of cashback. Make sure that you do an energy comparison to see if there is a much cheaper deal available first. You can get a quote from Octopus and get a referral code for £50 or find out more about Octopus Energy cashback.

The main benefits that Octopus has other than being highly rated is that their prices are reasonable, there are no exit fees on their 1 year fixed rate tariffs and they are 100% renewable electricity suppliers as standard. They have a variable rate and two 1 fixed rates, Octopus Fixed and Super Green Octopus with the later being 100% carbon offset gas and at the time of writing the cost of both fixes are about £85 a month for the average UK household.

You don't have to get a Smart Meter installed to join them but you have the option to request a Smart Meter if you wanted one. Octopus also offer the Warm Home Discount if you are eligible.

Submitting meter readings to Octopus

If you don't have a smart meter then they will not generate a monthly statement. Instead they will send you a monthly reminder to send them your meter readings but if you don't send any readings for 3 months then they'll send you an estimated bill.

Additionally they have a wheel of fortune game where you get to spin the wheel each time you enter a reading so you get two spins if you have both gas and electricity with them. You have a chance to win upto £512. I've never won to date but at this point in time I've only been with them for about 3 months.

Withdrawing credit balances

Another good feature is that if you have a credit balance on your account where your monthly direct debit is more than covering your monthly energy usage then you can withdraw any excess credit back to your bank account. You can do this without having to contact them directly by logging into your Octopus account.

Meter and tariff information

With some energy providers it can be difficult to find out what tariff you are on, what the rates are and when the fixed tariff period ends. Octopus shows this information clearly after you login and usefully shows your meter serial numbers as well which I thought was a nice touch.

Octopus tariffs

Octopus Energy's main tariffs are their variable rate Flexible Octopus, their 1 year fixed rate Octopus Fixed and their 1 year fix which offset the carbon footprint from your gas usage.

What makes Octopus different is for those of who want to reduce your energy bills to as low as possible you can switch to one of their tariffs that give you cheaper energy outside peak times. It's a bit like economy 7 but more advanced.

The innovative tariffs they offer do require you to initially sign up with Octopus on one of their standard tariffs first and have a smart meter installed.

Agile Octopus tariff

The Agile tariff from Octopus tracks the wholesale price of electricity so prices go up at peak times and plunge when there is low demand. The idea is that you can shift around your energy usage to take advantage of the lower kWh rates at off peak times of the day and night.

Octopus Go tariff

Octopus Go is the tariff for EV car owners who charge their electric car at home. The tariff offers a cheap 5p kWh rate for 4 hours off peak each day. There several energy providers that offer an electric vehicle tariff so you can choose a deal that suits the number of off peak hours you need to charge your car.

Octopus Tracker tariff

The Tracker tariff is very similar to the Agile Tariff in that it tracks wholesale prices but rather than half hourly pricing it uses a formula to calculate the average. You don't need a smart meter for this tariff but you do have to submit monthly meter readings where as their other non-smart meter tariffs you can submit a meter reading when you want.

You don't have to be an Octopus Energy customer to switch to their Tracker tariff but they do not make it obvious when you get a quote on their website. You have to scroll down and click on the Tracker link and then agree to their terms as this is potentially a more volatile tariff as it tracks market prices.

Like all the other Octopus energy plans there are no early exit fees so you can switch to another tariff at any point. If you switch to another Octopus tariff you can email them and you will be switched the next day.

Is Octopus Energy Cheaper?

Octopus Energy has never been the cheapest energy supplier and they never will be for standard variable or fixed rate tariffs. People tend to choose Octopus because of their good level of customer service and are generally cheaper than the traditional Big Six energy suppliers.

They have a number of innovative tariffs such as Agile and Tracker that are usually cheaper than the standard fixed and variable rate deals as they incentivise customers to be more mindful of when they use their energy.

Supplier Tariff Name Monthly Cost
Octopus Energy Octopus Tracker £70.75
Octopus Energy Flexible Octopus £88.04
Octopus Energy Octopus 12M Fixed £93.67
Octopus Energy Super Green Octopus £94.20

The three main tariffs are the 2 fixed rates for 12 months and their variable rate. For comparison the cheapest tariffs available at the time of this review (April 2021) vary between £72.60 with the Spring Vari-Save Extra tariff from Orbit Energy and £79.61 with People's Energy People's Energy Fixed Super Tariff Mar 21 tariff.

Octopus rates are £88.04 to £94.20 in comparison so they are by no means the cheapest deal you can get. The Big Six suppliers in comparison have monthly prices ranging from £85.59 with the Energy Plus Protection May 2022v2 tariff from British Gas to £103.57 from Scottish Power's Help Beat Cancer Greener Future May23 CH2 Online tariff.

So purely on price Octopus do not offer the best deal but you have to take into account how good the company is and the type of deal you are switching to.

The Octopus Tracker tariff however does work out cheaper than all the deals on the market right now at £70.75 per month for an average household. It works out about £2 cheaper a month than the Orbit Energy variable tariff.