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Meet the Small Suppliers: Octopus Energy

Octopus Energy’s Managing Director talks about the journey to create something “that really mattered”

octopus energy

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.

Since talking with us for this article, Octopus have gone on to win the coveted Supplier of the Year 2018 in the uSwitch energy awards.

The independent supplier was also awarded the following accolades, due to their top performance in related survey categories:

  • Most Likely to be Recommended
  • Best Customer Service
  • Best Online Experience
  • Best Billing Services

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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?

Greg Jackson: 

Three things:

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.

Why pay more for the same energy?

Find and switch to a better energy deal in minutes

  • Mary Ayres

    I am currently with OVO energy and they installed 2 new smart meters in our property in the summer. I can obviously still read them if necessary but do you cope with these meters?

  • John Payne

    I have been with Octopus for 9months and can vouch for their customer service. Queries by email are usually answered within the hour and the prices are very competitive with no termination fees

  • Zelda James

    I was supposed to have switched to you in January..did what you asked and am still awaiting the switch from british gas

  • Alfred N Goff

    Can I join Octopus Energy if I have Smart Meters fitted

  • Heather Davidge

    Hi. I cant have a smart meter fitted as we have 3 phase electricity – will you physically read my meter if I switch to you

  • hamish fenwick

    How do you contact Octopus to confirm they have you correct email address as I think I made a mistake when I signed up.

  • Susan Thole

    My current supplier pays the feed-in tariff for our solar PV panels – if we switch to you, what happens to that ie do they still pay it or does it transfer to you?