Energy > Our Reviews

OVO Energy Review

Fred Isaac

Fred Isaac
Mar 23, 2017

OVO Energy review - Windfarm

In the last five years, 10% of households have switched from the Big Six energy providers, favouring smaller energy firms instead.

One of these providers is OVO Energy, who have added 500,000 customers in six years.

“Simplicity” is the buzzword at the Bristol based firm. We'll analyse how closely they adhere to this in our OVO Energy review.

The company is the brainchild of Steven Fitzpatrick, who from his family’s kitchen table in the Cotswolds aimed to create the most trusted energy supplier in the UK and “make energy as effortless, simple and inexpensive as possible.”

OVO Energy is pretty big on the environment as well, offering the greenest standard dual tariff anywhere on the market.

 

How much does OVO Energy cost? 

OVO Energy is competitively priced, if not the cheapest on the market.  

It has a long history of price cuts: June 2016 saw OVO decrease prices by an average of 4.8% for dual fuel customers.

But, as a smaller supplier, it has been exposed to sudden rises in wholesale energy costs, in part caused by the post-Brexit collapse in the value of the pound. 

On 3 November 2016, OVO reviewed it's pricing and announced an 8.7% price increase for gas and electricity and, later in November, a £50-a-year hike for a typical standard customer, taking the average bill from £1,004 to £1,054 - a 5% rise on average. 

The price changes kicked in on 10 January 2017, and saw prices go up for 122,000 customers on the Pay Monthly Simpler variable tariff. Price is an important factor in all of our energy reviews and influences all of our decisions so the chances of a price increase should be considered.

To see how OVO stacks up against the rest of the market (and whether it could save you cash), compare energy deals now. 

 

OVO Energy tariffs

With all of OVO's tariffs, you have the option to get a £60 discount for managing your energy online. 

It currently has four main plans on the market: 

2 Year Fixed Greener Energy

It's a fixed-rate tariff, meaning you will pay the same every month, regardless of changes in the market.

How much you spend will depend on how big your house is, where you live and, of course, how much energy you end up using.

Key tariff details: 

* Average monthly price - £86
* Fixed unit rates - 2 years
* Green electricity - 33%
* Exit fees - £60

Greener Energy Better Energy

If your carbon footprint matters to you, and we find it sways a lot of people in our reviews, OVO’s Greener Energy plan offers 100% renewable energy; and coming in at just £88/month, it doesn’t cost the Earth!

Key tariff details: 

Average monthly price - £88
* Fixed unit rates - 1 year
* Green electricity - 100%
* Exit fees - £60

 

Better Energy

Key tariff details: 

Average monthly price - £83
* Fixed unit rates - 1 year
* Green electricity - 33%
* Exit fees - £60

Simpler Energy

This is OVO's variable rate tariff, which means the price you pay for your energy rates can go up or down month to month, depending on the market rate. You may end up paying too much and find yourself in credit, or too little and find yourself in debt. For OVO’s variable tariff, customers are on a rolling contract but expect to pay more.

A big perk of OVO’s Simpler Energy plan is that, because you're not tied into a 12 month contract, there are no exit fees. So, if you decide at any time to switch to another tariff or energy supplier, you can do so at no extra cost.

That being said, with energy prices expected to carry on rising in 2017, a variable deal leaves you exposed to higher bills. 

Key tariff details: 

Average monthly price - £88
* Fixed unit rates - N/A
* Green electricity - 33%
* Exit fees - £0

ARE YOU BEING RIPPED OFF BY YOUR ENERGY PROVIDER?

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OVO Energy green credentials

With 33% renewable electricity as standard, OVO Energy is one of the greenest suppliers in the game.

Let's review where it gets its electricity from (the national average is in brackets):

* Coal: 0% (17%)
* Natural Gas: 46.9% (32.3%) 
* Nuclear: 0% (23.7%)
* Renewables: 53.1% (24%) 
* Other fuels: 0% (2.5%)

Source: OVO Energy fuel mix

OVO is, clearly, at the forefront of the renewable energy game. Its Greener plan, offering 100% renewable electricity, is clearly one of the most eco-friendly on the market and for each customer that signs up to the tariff, OVO will plant five trees. 

The supplier has also taken pains to make sure renewable power isn't unaffordable, promising you can go green for just £5 extra a month. 

 

OVO Energy customer service

OVO’s customer service is one of its strong points.

In 2017, it was ranked 1st for the second year in a row in uSwitch's survey of 5000 customers, coming 1st in 10 out of 12 categories, including: value for money, customer service, billing, meters and green services.

A phenomenal 96% of OVO's customers told uSwitch they were happy with their supplier, while Which? gave them five stars in their 2015 ratings.

Between October and December, OVO Energy received just 78 complaints per 100,000 customer accounts, making the best performing small-medium sized suppliers, according to official data from regulator Ofgem.  

In the same period, rivals First Utility received 1479 complaints per 100,000 accounts, Co-op Energy 563, Utility Warehouse 1385 and Extra Energy 2403, while the worst performing provider, Utilita, received 3839. 

So Ovo are doing something right. 

If you’ve got a problem with OVO, complain on A Spokesman Said. The company's Bristol-based call centre can be contacted on 0800 5999 440. 

When we called OVO at lunchtime on a Thursday, we were put through in just two minutes (after, appropriately, listening to Eddie Grant’s Electric Avenue on hold).

Customer service were polite, helpful and cheery. Full marks.

 

Switching to OVO Energy

Before you move to OVO, make sure you’re getting the best deal with our energy switching tool.

Starting from the day you sign up, you get fourteen days to cancel if you get cold feet. Once those fourteen days have gone, OVO will liaise with your previous supplier and complete the switch for you.

Give OVO a meter reading so they can estimate your usage. Your first bill will come through your letter box in six-eight weeks.

It’s important to remember that, when you move from an old energy supplier, you may be in debt or credit.

If you’re in debt, pay it off as soon as possible. If your old supplier owes you money, you are entitled to an instant refund.

 

Can I switch energy if I’m renting?

Tenants have as much right to switch their energy supplier as homeowners, but are often far less likely to do so.

Landlords don’t encourage renters to switch energy supplier but, if you are the ones paying the bills, you are legally allowed to move provider and save money on your bills.

Top Tip: Refer a friend to OVO and you'll get a £25 Amazon gift card.

 

Ovo’s Smart Meter

Following the Government’s push to install smart meters in every home, OVO has already rolled out 100,000 to customers.

Smart meters mean you don’t have to constantly provide accurate readings because it will tell OVO exactly how much energy you’re using.

How you pay for your energy determines how you can access information about your energy usage.

If you’re on the most common payment method – monthly direct debit – you can choose between an In-Home Display or a Smart Gateway.

An In-Home Display is a little tablet-like screen plugged in near your meter. A Smart Gateway connects your meter via your broadband to your OVO account, meaning you can view all the information online.  

PAYG Standard plans also get an In-Home display.

 

OVO Energy Billing and Payment

You can pay OVO using any of the main payment methods: flexible or standard direct debit, cash, cheque and pay as you go.

OVO ask customers paying by direct debit to stump up one month in advance. They say this helps them keep their costs down, which keeps your costs down. It also means you’re likely to build up credit, giving you greater flexibility if you ever wanted to switch.

 

Ovo doesn’t have a spotless history when it comes to billing; in November 2014, a computer glitch meant 13,000 customers were sent the wrong bills.

 

Our Verdict

All in all, we’re pretty positive about OVO. Here are a few of it's key strengths and weaknesses:

Pros: 

* Competitive tariff prices
* Focus on renewable energy
* Effective app

Cons:

* Question marks over billing
* Some cheaper tariffs come with limited customer service

 

ARE YOU BEING RIPPED OFF BY YOUR ENERGY PROVIDER?

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