ARE OCTOPUS ENERGY ANY GOOD? YES AND THIS IS WHY!

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OCTOPUS ENERGY CASH BACK

ARE OCTOPUS ENERGY ANY GOOD?

My customer review = Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes!

octopus energy cashbackApart from being the Which? highest-ranking energy supplier for 2020, providing 100% green energy and embracing technology Octopus energy do not treat customers like fools.  Octopus energy encourages those who love tech to reimagine and engage with them in order to make their energy supply even greener.  They provide support online via social media links (which I love) and keep customers fully informed of developments within their company. As if that’s not enough they are also, in my opinion, a highly ethical company and an inspiration for a greener future!

We are in a global pandemic and how companies treat their staff speaks volumes! I have seen both the good and bad over the last few weeks and was delighted to read Octopus Energy’s latest blog on their Covid-19 challenges.

HOW HAS OCTOPUS ENERGY ADAPTED DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

OCTOPUS ENERGY STAFF

Since Monday 23rd March, the Octopus office-based team has moved entirely to working from home.

Octopus has established OctoKids and OctoTV to help parents balance work with looking after their kids. Some teams have set up buddy systems, making sure no one working from home ever feels isolated or lonely.

Octopus Energy maintains full pay for everyone we employ directly. Where people can’t work, we may use the government’s furlough scheme and top salaries up to 100%.

Octopus gives employees access to company resources (like vans and computers) so they can assist in NHS and other volunteering programs.

For engineers who need to go to people’s homes, Octopus Energy are providing special training and equipment in the wake of Coronavirus as well. They are expected to upgrade from protective coveralls and face masks to full Hazmat suits as of March 30th where they’re necessary.

OCTOPUS ENERGY CUSTOMERS

Octopus Energy’s phone answer times and email response times have been fairly good. Overall service levels have been about the same as pre-Covid-19 and are expected to keep improving!

Now, this is where it becomes interesting. I was trying to summaries Greg Jackson, the CEO of Octopus Energy’s comments about how he is trying to help customers but I just can’t. I am usually good at skipping through people’s waffle and finding the hidden meaning BUT there isn’t one!! It is an open and honest response just as I have come to expect from their CEO.

Well done on being so upfront and for doing so much! I wouldn’t expect anything less!!! It’s very odd how as a family we feel we know you Mr Jackson!! I couldn’t say that about any other provider for any home service we’ve been with. Stay safe!! This is the reason I stick with you! Stay safe!! 

THIS SECTION IS A DIRECT QUOTE FROM THE BLOG OF CEO GREG JACKON – 30TH MACRH 2020.

How working from home impacts customer bills.

Our data scientists have done some initial analysis using smart meter data and found that a typical household moving from working outside the home to working at home will use around £3-£5 per week more energy at the level of the government’s energy price cap (read the analysis in full here). There are two things to note about that – an Octopus customer pays less than the price cap, and we also expect this £3-5 weekly figure to come down with a reduction in gas usage as we start to hit warmer months.

I am conscious that for everything I write, there will be exceptions – and some very serious ones – but for most households, this extra energy consumption is not likely to be the big driver of hardship. Indeed, for households with the same income as before, the increased energy cost of £3-£5 per week is a lot less than the typical cost of commuting (about £66/month). Of course, in a household where one person has lost their job, and another is working from home, they’ll see a drop in income and higher energy costs – and similarly for people with commission and other variable earnings. We recognise those differences. Similarly, we also know that for many households lockdown has led to lower outgoings. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but on the whole, drops in income are more instrumental in making it difficult to pay energy bills than the fact that people are using more energy at home.

octopus energySo, what are we doing to help when people have had big drops in income as a result of Covid-19?

First – we signed up for a government charter that outlines the support energy companies are voluntarily giving to customers.

This has been covered by the media “energy companies to waive bills” or similar, but when you read the charter it’s much more nuanced. For example, here’s the section on helping people whose finances have been impacted:

‘Based on individual circumstances, this could include:

– Considering reassessing, reducing, or pausing debt repayment and bill payments for domestic customers in financial distress.

– Considering referring customers who are struggling to pay to third party debt advisers such as StepChange and Citizens Advice.’

This fairly low-level commitment is the current reality not just for Octopus customers, but we believe for customers of other companies as well.

We’d love to do more – and our team and I have been working night and day with other energy companies, EnergyUK (our trade association), Ofgem, and Government departments (BEIS, Treasury) to try to find a solution for people who need it.

I’ve been asked why Octopus aren’t, for example, just giving all customers a blanket payment holiday – or even writing off bills. I heard someone on the radio saying “these energy companies make so much money, why can’t they help?”

I’d like to show respect to customers and all readers by responding to this candidly – even when it could mean my words are misrepresented – but I’d rather be open and clear than opaque and evasive.

Energy companies – at least most – don’t make shedloads of money. Octopus lost £29m last year. Our rivals, Bulb, lost £129m. And here’s Centrica’s share price over the last 5 years:

Of course – there’s a reason for all these. In our case, and perhaps Bulb’s, we’ve been investing in growth – payments to comparison sites, for example, are not cheap. In the case of the incumbents, their inefficiency has made it hard to handle price competition from companies like ours.

But underlying it is a fact of the modern energy market: margins are wafer-thin. The CMA (government authority) reckons energy companies should make 1.25% margin. We’re very efficient and target 3% – and expected to hit something like that next year. This year was roughly breakeven at what’s called the EBITDA level. I can’t speak for other companies – but this is the way energy should be – super low margins meaning that customers get better value. That’s exactly what we’ve been fighting for since we were founded – better value for customers.

So as a typical example from the numbers above – If a company makes a 3% margin, then for every customer spending £1000 (roughly the average annual energy bill), it makes £30 profit. If a single customer doesn’t pay, it loses £1000. So a single customer not paying wipes out the earnings from 33 othersSo if just 1 in 33 customers doesn’t pay, the company goes from profit to loss. On the CMA’s 1.25% figure, it’s worse – 1 customer not paying wipes out the earnings from 80 other customers.

At Octopus, we take a long term view of everything – it’s why we’ve invested in the systems and people to make energy cheaper and greener, rather than focusing on short term profit.

So we are hugely aware that a time like now is a time to focus on doing the right thing – and I’m very happy to take a financial hit throughout this period to help customers affected by Covid-19.

But from the numbers above, you can see that we can’t take a massive hit. Helping 3% of customers is enough to send a company like ours into losses – and the numbers in energy are huge.

Our estimates are that 10-20% of UK households could see significant drops in income from Covid-19, so let’s take the middle of that – 15%. If we help 15% of customers by waiving their bills, the first 3% wipe out any profit. The next 12% are pure losses. Using Octopus as an example – we have 1.5m customers – so our revenue is about £120m a month. 12% of this is £14m.

So Octopus would be losing £14m a month. If the Covid-19 crisis lasts 3 months, it’d be £42m; 6 months, £84m. That just wouldn’t be sustainable. And of course, the economic impact could hit payments for longer than the immediate health crisis.

And that leaves us in the difficult position that we cannot help everyone we would ideally like to.

Instead, we’ll be working hard to ensure that customers who can afford to pay to keep doing so, and that we do everything we can to help those who’ve been affected on a case by case basis – but we’ll need to be selective and that’s hard. Really hard.

This is why we’re working tirelessly with other energy companies and the government to see if there could be a uniform approach across all companies to provide standardised levels of help – and mean that it’s not down to the lucky dip of which energy company you’re with, but your circumstances, which define the outcome.

And it’s why we ask people to be understanding – we’re working hard to ensure we push our own finances to the max to help everyone with service, and those who need it most financially. And we know that our customers will do the same.

With everyone doing their bit, we can all emerge from this crisis together. We’re just at the beginning and we’ll push in every way we can to try to make things work for everyone.

TIME TO RETHINK HOW WE USE ENERGY!

Switching to renewable energy will have the biggest impact on your carbon footprint.  Recycling and using public transport, as an example,  will also help but by far switching to renewable energy will have the greatest impact. If you are not using green energy please switch today!! It is something you can do in 2 minutes online. We need to act and we have to act now! We can make a difference to our planet. I have created this website to help give my view on Octopus Energy. I hope it will reassure you that switching is the way to go!! We all have to do our bit and whilst in isolation, this is a part of mine.

I hope everyone reading this stays safe. I salute the emergency services. Stay well and share the power of love and kindness by making a difference. Step up and do what you can. I’ll see you at the party hopeful on the other side. We will get through this!

SAVE MONEY WITH OCTOPUS ENERGY

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WHO DO YOU TRUST TO SAVE YOU MONEY? MARTIN LEWIS, THE GOVERNMENT OR ALEXA?

octopus energy agile tariff

CASHBACK OCTOPUS ENERGY

It is a valid question. Who do you trust to save you money? Personally, if it was a choice between Martin Lewis, from Money Saving Expert, or the Government I would without doubt pick Martin every time. He has saved me thousands and I even got a cashback from a mis-sold endowment mortgage.  Yet I ignored him for years when he went on and on about switching energy provider.  Why? I didn’t think it was worth the effort for a few pounds. I just dismissed his advice and it appears I was not alone.

Misplaced Loyalty

A lot of people are loyal to the Big Six energy provider, as was I, and are afraid to try a smaller supplier. I was with British Gas for ten years. They offered me very little incentive to stay but I did.

The government I fear is adding to this misplaced loyalty by the introduction of the energy price cap. Customers feel I suspect, that as energy prices have been capped they are not overpaying for their energy but they are as explained by Martin Lewis this week.

 

The price cap came into effect on 1st April this year and was set at £1254.  The price cap will last for six months and Martin feels this has stopped people switching.  Consumers believe the price must be reasonable as it is capped BUT prices have dropped. Octopus Energy reduced their prices, as an example, from the 1st May 2019.   Some people will always pay more but who are the acceptable victims who should be allowed to overpay, Martin, asks?

Are you an acceptable victim?

Martin is right people who don’t take on-board advice and don’t even attempt to research will pay more but no one should overpay for energy. It is a valuable commodity we just can’t live without. The government price cap has added to the issue as people feel they can’t be taken advantage of but they quite obviously can.  No one should overpay for energy especially when it offers no additional benefits. It just adds to the profits of the supplier.

Fast forward to the 21st century

We have gadgets galore. iPhones, ipads, apps, smart TVs, doorbells which you can answer even when you’re miles away and yet the biggest commodity which all these run on we are ignoring. We have an abundance of wind, water, and sometimes sunshine in the UK. surely we can use this to power and technology to run our homes and reduce energy bills?  The answer is you can. Even without buying solar panels you can reduce your bill and take advantage of 100% renewable energy.

The planet is in crisis, we have people protesting on the streets to affect climate change and we have the technology as individuals to make the biggest impact on reducing our own carbon footprint by switching to 100% renewable energy.  We can wait for the government to act on both climate change and energy pricing but we can jump ship and go green at home. It takes just two minutes to switch to a new provider.

Cheaper bills and greener energy

There are several green energy suppliers in the UK most of whom would give the big six a run for their money in terms of pricing. We chose Octopus Energy as we loved its approach to renewables. They invest heavily in technology and not only offer cheaper tariffs than the big six but they reward their customers for using energy when there is less demand on the national grid making it even greener.

We opted for a super green tariff where we pay slightly more than their standard tariff to offset our gas supply.  They invest in carbon-neutral projects such as Renewable World.

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So how can Amazon Alexa save you money?

I asked who would you trust to save you money, the government, Martin Lewis or Alexa?  How does Alexa fit in?

Octopus Energy has teamed up with Amazon to become the first energy company to provide voice automation with Alexa to provide real-time energy pricing.

If you’re on the Agile tariff you will be able to use Amazon Alexa to find out when energy is at its cheapest.   (The Agile tariff tracks energy prices throughout the day. )  So using the voice automation provided by Amazon you could ask Alexa when prices are cheapest.

Alexa, ask Octopus when is electricity cheapest today?amazon and octopus energy

Based on this information you could turn on, for example, your washing machine or charge your devices when energy is at its cheapest. You can even automate this too!

I haven’t switched to Agile yet as we are on Super green but it may well be on the cards for us later this year. To go for the Agile tariff you need a SMETS 2 smart meter which we are waiting to roll out nationally.

Who do WE trust?

Without a doubt Martin Lewis. We also now, after almost a year with them, trust Octopus Energy and their CEO Greg Jackson.  Mr. Jackson personally resolved an issue we had when I emailed him several months ago. The firm is very transparent and open about their prices which is amazingly refreshing and more importantly, they are saving people money and helping to reduce the impact of fossil fuels on the environment.

OCTOPUS ENERGY REFERRAL LINK

How can I get a free cuddly Octopus from Octopus Energy?

octopus energy cashbackOnce you have signed up to Octopus Energy if you want to get your hands on a free cuddly Octopus they will send you one in the post, although it can take a few weeks depending on stock. Her name is Constantine. (I am not joking)

Borrow a free thermal imaging camera from Octopus Energy.

If you would like to borrow a thermal imaging camera to find out where the heat is escaping from your home or workplace you can request one here.

Spin to win.

Also, don’t forget you get a chance to win a cash prize when you enter your meter reading with “spin to win.” 

Competitions.

The Green Friday prize draw to win a funky green electric VW Beatle has now ended but keep an eye on their social media for more competitions. (The big competitions usually appear in your Octopus Energy dashboard)

Octopus Energy Refer a friend.

Once you have chosen to switch to Octopus Energy as a new customer using a referral link, you’ll be given £50 credit on your first bill and your own personal referral code to share with friends and families. For every person that switches with your code, you both get £50 credited towards your next bill. It takes just two minutes to switch and your code is effective immediately. (I would be delighted if you use mine to get you started, thank you!)

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WHAT IS BIOGAS?

biogas at home

CAN I GET BIOGAS?

When switching energy suppliers we wanted 100% renewable energy because we wanted to reduce our environmental impact. We had two green energy companies in mind both offering renewables. I could understand how my electricity could be renewable. The energy provider simply generates green energy and plugs it into the national grid. It replaces every kWh of energy I take from the grid with a kWh of renewable energy. Quite straight forward BUT how do they make my gas supply renewable?

The simple answer is they can’t. There is a carbon-neutral gas called biogas. Biogas is made by a process called anaerobic digestion. In the UK, however, there simply isn’t enough AD plants to generate the supply needed. One of the two energy suppliers we had selected stated it supplied 10% biogas to your gas fuel mix and 90% natural gas, the other 0% but they converted it to electricity. In order to offset your use of natural gas, they both invested in carbon reduction projects.

Here’s a map of all the AD plants in the UK.  I found it really interesting. My local authority seems to take our food waste and create biogas which I assume they then use locally. Some local authorities run public transport on it.

I found this video to be very helpful in understanding the process of generating biogas.

HOW WE HAVE CHOSEN TO USE BIOGAS

We decided to switch to Octopus Energy. They don’t supply biogas directly to their customers.  Instead, they produce and then burn biogas to generate electricity.  Octopus then sends this to the national grid.   The anaerobic digestion makes up 49% of Octopus’ renewable energy.  This allows them to produce energy even when the sun is not shining or the wind not blowing.  Octopus Energy offsets your gas use with carbon reduction projects. In their mix of waste, Octopus Energy does not include meat food or farm waste in their AD process, unlike some other suppliers.

So quite simply biogas can be made but not in large enough quantities. Well not yet anyway. The best we can do, if we need to use gas, is to switch to a green energy company who makes the best use of the biogas available and offsets any natural gas consumption with carbon reduction projects.

CARBON REDUCTION PROJECTS

The main carbon offset project for Octopus Energy is through Renewable World. These guys tackle poverty through renewable energy.  They improve incomes, health and education in fuel-poor areas by introducing tech that’s driven by renewable energy.  Their projects empower local communities with innovation in clean energy tech. OCTOPUS ENERGY GAS RW’s clean energy hubs provide whole new careers and income streams in the communities they work with and return agency to local people and businesses who’ve been constrained by unreliable, high-polluting energy sources.

Funding from Octopus Energy carbon offsetting now goes directly towards Renewable World’s Global Programmes.

If you decide to switch to Octopus Energy you will get £50 credit on your first bill by using our link.

Posted by Sarah at www.octopusreferral.link

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