No other ‘small’ supplier has done more to shake up the industry than OVO Energy in recent years. OVO’s focus on tackling the climate crisis through technological solutions allied with a direct approach has enabled it to build a customer base of over 1.5 million in its first decade of operation. That culminated in it acquiring SSE’s entire domestic business in 2019, propelling it into the big six group of energy suppliers.
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OVO Energy was founded by Stephen Fitzpatrick in 2009 with the simple goal of making energy "cheaper, greener and simpler". OVO has always had a focus on the climate crisis, looking to find a different approach to energy generation that doesn’t simply add to the problem, and recently launching Plan Zero, its attempt to become completely carbon neutral by 2030.
OVO has always focused on innovative technological solutions such as its push to expand urban car charging or the Vehicle-to-Grid and OVO Smart Home Trials, which look to make use of electric vehicles and people’s homes as potential storage for energy generated by renewables, to help balance demands on the grid.
The company enjoys a hugely positive reputation thanks to its core values, innovation, quality, and customer service, 2019 marked the fourth time in five years that OVO Energy received the uSwitch ‘Supplier of the Year’ award.
In 2020, OVO completed its acquisition of SSE's domestic energy business. This expanded OVO’s customer base to almost five million, increasing its market share to 15% and making it the UK’s second-largest energy supplier, behind British Gas.
OVO’s primary goal of reaching zero-carbon living is reflected in its energy plans, all of which come with 100% renewable electricity as standard, and which pays 3-5% interest on credit balances. At time of writing (November 2020) it offers the following four tariffs:OVO prices and tariffs
|Tariff name||Exit fees||Tariff type||Key features|
|Better Smart Energy||£30 per fuel||Fixed for 12 months||For traditional meter owners happy to upgrade (for free) to a smart meter; for new members|
|Better Energy||£30 per fuel||Fixed for 12 months||N/A|
|2 Year Fixed Energy||£30 per fuel||Fixed for 24 months||N/A|
All plans come with the opportunity to upgrade to OVO Beyond for £6/month (first three months are free), which provides 100% carbon-neutral energy to cover your gas consumption. They’re all available as either dual or single fuel plans and offer Economy 7 and Economy 10 plans to offer cheaper electricity rates during the night. Economy 7 and Economy 10 plans require their own specific meters, so you will need to have one of these installed before being able to utilise either plan.
Boost is OVO’s PAYG arm, offering energy plans to those on prepayment meters. Its dual fuel and electricity-only tariffs are exclusively for PAYG customers, with no commitments or contracts to worry about. 50% of all electricity is generated from renewable sources.
Boost works with both traditional PAYG meters as well as the newer smart PAYG+ meters, which are rolling out now. PAYG+ makes topping up easy and convenient by allowing you to top up your PAYG account online, using the Boost mobile app, via SMS services or in shops with Boost smart cards.
OVO now offers 100% renewable electricity as standard on all its tariffs, backed by renewable certificates (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificates – REGOs).
Those who pay £6/month for the OVO Beyond upgrade will be using 100% carbon-neutral gas. 15% of your consumption is tied to ‘green gas’, or sustainable biomethane, certified by Renewable Gas Guarantees of Origin (RGGOs), while the other 85% is offset through the support of various programmes. These include I Dig Trees and the UN-REDD Programme.
OVO Energy’s customer service has earned the provider numerous accolades, including the 2019 Uswitch Supplier Of The Year award. Customers providing OVO reviews to Which? have stated that complaints tend to take a maximum of eight weeks to be resolved, but the company’s digital tools leave something to be desired. Nevertheless, it enjoys a ‘great’ rating on TrustPilot, with an average score of 4.2 stars, and 71% of customers giving it the top ‘Excellent’ rating.
At the present time, OVO only requires a smart meter for one of its tariffs: Better Smart Energy. It will offer to install this for free if required when customers switch to the tariff.
Smart meters track your energy consumption and send this data directly to your provider so you no longer need to carry out manual meter readings. Because of this frequent tracking, you can expect your bills to be as accurate as possible when you use a smart meter – you’ll never be charged more than you should be.
Your energy consumption data will also be sent to OVO’s data science team, who will analyse your usage and collate personalised statistics that you can then access in the form of ‘Energy Spotlights’. You can view your Energy Spotlights through your My OVO account. The ‘My Energy Breakdown’ feature within Energy Spotlights breaks down your usage even further, offering personalised insights that can be as specific as unveiling the impact of switching off your TV at the socket, for example.
With this expert insight, you’ll be able to monitor your usage more accurately than ever before – and in turn – you can adjust your consumption habits accordingly based on the data. This can help you cut back on unnecessary consumption, which would lead to reduced bills, and lower emissions.
OVO Energy boasts a long list of services in addition to its gas and electric plans. These services are designed to encourage and assist customers in sustainable living.
OVO has partnered with CORGI to offer OVO HomePlan, a range of insurance policies that provide boiler cover and home emergency cover for plumbing, electrics and drains. On any OVO HomePlan, you get unlimited callouts, access to an emergency hotline, and parts and labour will be included in your monthly cost, which currently starts from £13 a month.
OVO Energy offers a single plan aimed at electric vehicle owners. It offers a two-year fixed rate, comes with 100% renewable electricity, and is compatible with Economy 7. You’ll get free POLAR Plus membership (worth £188 over two years) for the duration of your contract as well as access to OVO’s Interest Rewards programme. POLAR Plus members have access to thousands of charging points across the UK.
OVO offers a choice of two smart chargers with a £100 discount for EV owners with an OVO tariff. Prices start from £399 with the OLEV Grant discount.
OVO Energy offers deals on a range of Quantum Storage Heaters from Dimplex. These sleek, modestly designed heaters are yet another way OVO is helping customers reduce their carbon footprint. Upgrading to a Quantum heater can save you up to £244 (23%) per year, as they use significantly less energy to warm your home than standard radiators.
Alongside your smart heater, you’ll also receive a Dimplex Hub, usually worth £162, for free. You can also use the Dimplex Control app to manage your heating on-the-go.
OVO Energy has partnered with the Carbon Trust to create the Carbon Tracker. The Carbon Tracker is an online tool designed to keep customers in the loop about their carbon emissions. Figuring out your carbon footprint may seem like a tedious task, but OVO Energy’s carbon tracker makes it easy; by asking you a few simple questions about your home and travel habits, it can estimate your carbon footprint and will provide a comparison between your results and the average UK household. The Carbon Tracker is free to use for any OVO member and can be accessed via My OVO, your personal online account portal.
OVO Energy customers can contact customer service on OVO’s online help page. Here, you’ll be able to find answers to questions and support for various issues, or you can make use of the OVO Forum. There are many ways to make a complaint: via online form, email, phone call, or post. OVO Energy’s customer support phonelines are open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and can be reached at 0330 303 5063.
OVO Energy is a great choice for consumers who want to make a positive difference to the environment. With competitive tariffs, a huge range of additional services, a strong reputation for customer service, and its efforts to tackle the climate crisis, OVO Energy appears to be leading the way towards the future of the energy industry. Now the UK’s second-largest energy supplier, OVO Energy’s forward-thinking outlook could change the way other suppliers – both big and small – approach their business and create even more competition among renewable energy suppliers.
Last updated: 2 December 2020