Every power provider I’ve tried (six in complete) has routinely overcharged me, estimating my utilization to be a lot increased 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’s a reputable argument for accruing credit score over the summer time, 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 yr, however many had been already dipping into this money. The regulators failed woefully to maintain new suppliers to account, regardless of clear proof of monetary 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 seem to be a low bar, however all my earlier suppliers had clunky techniques providing restricted information, not to point out frequent downtime and information breaches. With Octopus, you’ll be able to submit a meter studying as usually as you want, which implies correct billing based mostly 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 method to encourage people to submit them extra usually. Dibb-Simkin instructed 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.
A couple of months after becoming a member of Octopus, I acquired a sensible meter. It was put in without 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 routinely 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 delivery on file, it’ll play the No. 1 tune from if you had been 14 years outdated. Your musical tastes cemented again then, and listening to a tune you want helps chill you out.
I’m not the solely joyful 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 yr).
Sense of Responsibility
Last winter, Octopus arrange a £2.5 million Assistance Fund for purchasers scuffling with excessive costs. It gave away 7,000 free electric blankets for the hardest hit, as a result of it’s way more inexpensive to warmth a individual than a entire residence. The fund has been increased to £7 million this yr.
The firm additionally ran a Winter Workout challenge that estimated your gasoline utilization over 12 weeks of winter and supplied anybody who lowered their gasoline consumption the likelihood to win a money prize. Aside from providing suggestions and a area 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 method to scale back gasoline utilization, and it included an choice to donate your winnings to the Assistance Fund at the finish, with Octopus matching all donations.