Our Meet the Small Supplier series features smaller, independent gas and electricity suppliers of the UK. We interview them to find out more about who they are, what makes them different and why you might choose to switch your energy to them.
When Greg Jackson sold his business, he knew with his next project he wanted to make a difference — to both consumers and the environment.
Now, as Octopus Energy‘s managing director, Jackson heads up an energy supplier that provides low-cost renewable energy to UK homes. In this edition of Meet the Small Suppliers, he explains just how Octopus Energy came to be, and where they’re going next.
uSwitch: Can you tell us a bit about Octopus’s beginning and how you got to where you are now?
Greg Jackson: I used to have a business that built ecommerce sites. When we sold it I wanted to do something that really mattered.
Energy matters enormously. It’s the largest household expense and many people can’t even afford to warm their homes in winter, while carbon emissions from coal fired power stations and energy wastage threaten the very existence of our planet.
I really wanted to build an energy business that used the internet to keep costs low and provided more green energy to customers. More than that, I thought we could build an energy company that gave people better service by being fully online and used technology to help them use less.
I was lucky to meet the founder of Octopus Investments, a visionary called Simon Rogerson, and we hit it off immediately. Octopus had already invested massive amounts of money in generating renewable energy – it’s the UK’s largest investor in solar farms, for example.
I then started calling the most talented people I know, and within a few months, we assembled a great team and Octopus committed serious investment. We started the business in September 2015 and began signing up customers in April 2016, when we’d been fully regulated.
uSwitch: What makes Octopus Energy unique in the energy market?
Greg Jackson: We provide good value for the long term, not just the fixed term. Our ongoing prices are pretty much the same as our fixed term prices, rather than being hundreds of pounds more like most suppliers.
Also, it’s unbelievably easy to switch to us, and we provide incredible customer service via email and Facebook – try it! The average response time is about half an hour, and it means you never have to contact a call centre again.
uSwitch: Can you describe Octopus’s philosophy in one sentence?
Greg Jackson: Better customer service and lower prices because we’re an online business.
uSwitch: Anything else you’d like to say about Octopus Energy?
1. Next time you’re travelling along a road and see a solar farm – there’s a 40% chance that it’s an Octopus one!
2. People ask about our name. We love Octopuses and are proud to be named after one of the most amazing creatures on the planet. Octopuses have 3 hearts, 9 brains, and can squeeze through a gap the width of their eyeball!
3. Most important: hold us to our promises. Try emailing us and see how quickly we reply (half an hour is our average response time!). Check our variable prices and see that we really are good value for the long term. And switch to find a supplier that is doing for energy what Amazon did for shopping.