OVO Energy

ovo energy

Even though they were only established in 2009 they are now considered one of the big 6 after their takeover of SSE (one of the actual Big 6) in 2020 they are now one of the largest energy suppliers in the UK. Only a few years earlier in 2018 they took over Spark Energy, their main competitor at the time.

OVO started off as an alternative to the Big 6 energy suppliers, which at the time was British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, SSE, npower and Scottish Power.

Since then they have grown from a small provider with a 1.2% gas and 1.2% electricity domestic market share in 2014 and with various takeovers of their competitors have grown their market share to 12.72% gas and 15.34% electricity share according to the latest Ofgem figures published in October 2020.

Now OVO Energy is the second largest UK energy supplier behind British Gas. They offer 100% renewable energy on their tariffs and you can pay extra to offset the carbon for your gas supply too. They also plant a tree for each year that a customer stays with them.

OVO Energy tariffs

The tariffs on offer from OVO are 100% renewable energy plus they also plant a tree on your behalf through the Woodland Trust. The idea being that a tree will absorb some of the carbon created when gas is burned by your gas boiler.

They also pay monthly interest on any credit balance you have with them. It starts off at 3% interest in the first year, 4% in the second and 5% for 3 years or more.

OVO Exit Fees

OVO Better Energy fixed and Smart Energy fixed plans have exit fees of £30 per fuel. Most fixed price energy tends to come with an early exit fee. However there is a trend towards no exit fee fixed deals, particularly from newer energy suppliers like Octopus.

The 1 and 2 year fixed price tariffs have a £60 early exit fee whilst their variable plan has no exit fee.

You can also upgrade any of their energy plans with OVO Beyond for an additional £6 a month. This gives you 100% carbon neutral gas with 85% carbon offset gas and 15% green gas. They also plant 5 additional trees on your behalf in schools and communities.

Month price checked Tariff name Tariff type Electricity daily standing charge Electricity pence per KWh Gas daily standing charge Gas pence per KWh Typical monthly cost
January 2021 Better Smart 12 month fixed, Smart Meter 19.87 16.82 17.58 3.01 £85
January 2021 Better Energy 12 month fixed 23.27 17.11 26.08 2.85 £88
January 2021 Simpler Energy Variable Rate 24.50 17.15 26.07 2.91 £89
January 2021 2 Year Fixed 24 month fixed 25.12 18.51 26.09 3.12 £95

OVO Energy review

OVO Energy has grown its customer base mainly with the acquisition of SSE rather than natural growth. Customer reviews on Trustpilot rate this company at 4.2/5 with 7% of customers rating the company as bad placing OVO 25th out of a possible 45.

As far as big energy companies go they compare quite well with EDF and SSE having a slightly better 4.3/5 but having a higher number of complaints with an 18% and 16% bad feedback rating respectively compared to OVO's better 7%.

These ratings do not make them a great utility in terms of customer service, when you compare them to the best energy companies they have a long way to go but they are the best of the Big 6 gas and electricity companies.

OVO Energy Prices

Looking at the OVO pricing plans on offer in January 2021 the cost for an average household in the UK ranges from £85 to £95 per month. Compared to the other Big 6 UK energy suppliers their prices are about on par.

You can pick up a couple of slightly cheaper deals that are exclusive to energy comparison sites from E.on (Fix Online Exclusive v59) at just over £80 a month and from Scottish Power (Super Saver January 2022 B3) also about £80 a month and both are 100% renewable energy.

Looking at the smaller energy providers you can get an even cheaper deal and still get 100% green electricity. Utility Point (3.7/5), Goto Energy (4.6/5), People's Energy (4.4/5) and Green (4.8/5 excellent service) all have clean energy deals around the £75 to £80 a month mark.

Whilst buying your gas and electric from OVO isn't going to get you great value or offer the best in terms of customer service they are preferable to British Gas. So if you only want to switch to one of the big name suppliers then they are a good option for you. If you are looking for cheaper energy bills and great customer services there are better smaller suppliers out there.

As I've just mentioned if you are a British Gas type of customer then they are a great alternative. They a more innovative an greener the rest of the big UK energy companies offering renewable electricity as standard, planting a tree per customer per year and offering the option of offset and green gas.

They also pay 3% interest on credit balances. Whilst this isn't fantastic in itself as you can't bank with them it does show that they do not intend on holding onto large credit balances.

OVO Beyond

It's also worth going into a bit more detail about their extra addon called OVO Beyond. For an extra £6 a month you get 100% carbon offset gas making your energy supply fully carbon neutral as you get 100% renewable electricity as standard.

The OVO Energy Beyond is only going to appeal to a small percentage of people as many households are looking to cut their energy costs but you may be in a position to upgrade at a cost of £6 a month and greatly reduce your environmental impact.

As well as offsetting your gas they also plant an additional 5 trees on your behalf.

I've put together a table to illustrate the value to potential customers based on similar green energy offerings from other suppliers. It will be of interest to those who want to do a little extra to reduce their carbon footprint and want to know which energy company is going to have the biggest impact for the least cost to you.

Supplier Tariff name Green Biogas Carbon Offset gas Typical monthly cost
Ecotricity Green Electricity and Green Gas 5% 95% £117
Green Energy UK Sparkling Tariff 100% 0% £115
OVO Energy Better Smart 15% 85% £91
Good Energy Fixed Duration 10% 90% £92
Octopus Energy Super Green Octopus 0% 100% £87.50
Bulb Energy Vari Fair 0% 100% £81.12

As you can see from the table the typical monthly cost for an average dual fuel household is illustrated against the carbon offsetting or green biogas offered.

The difference between carbon offsetting and green as is that offset means that the company has purchased RGGO certificates for every unit of gas the customers consumes. Some energy companies invest more directly in specific projects such as planting trees, investing in green technologies or protecting existing forests and woodland that would otherwise end up being chopped down.

Green gas or biogas is where gas similar to natural gas is generated from biodigesters. These biodigesters may generate green gas from food or other organic waste or specific crops may have been grown specifically to produce green gas.

In general green biogas is better than offsetting although that's a whole other discussion too involved to go into here. So basically the more green gas compared to offsetting the better.

So from the table you can see that OVO offers quite good value at £91 for 15% green gas compared to a very similar tariff from Good Energy at £92 for 10% green gas.

If you were looking for something with more impact then Green Energy UK is the greenest gas offering although a little expensive at £115 a month.

The best alternative for price is Bulb at around £81 offering 100% offset (no green gas).