What does the competition investigation mean for energy consumers?

By OVO Energy Wednesday 18 February 2015

The latest report from the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) is good news for energy customers. It is an important step in making sure that loyal customers are no longer punished because of the way the energy market works.

A bit of background. The CMA inquiry was launched last year. It followed years of complaints that the energy market was not working properly and that many customers, in particular some of the most vulnerable, were losing out. The CMA is looking at every part of the energy market and has gathered a huge amount of information and data from energy companies (including OVO). They then work out what is working well and what is not working. 

Today, the CMA published its latest thinking of where the worst problems are. It will reach firmer conclusions in the summer and the final findings are due (a piece of cruel punishment for energy geeks like me) on Christmas Eve.   

The most important findings that the CMA highlighted, from the latest paper, include: 

  • 95% of duel fuel customers of the Big Six (British Gas, EdF, EoN, npower, Scottish Power and SSE) could have saved money by switching supplier or tariff in the last couple of years. On average they would have saved between £158 and £234 a year.
  • A third of customers surveyed by the CMA said they had never even considered switching or thought it was impossible. This group is more likely to include pensioners, people living in social housing, or those on lower incomes.
  • 40-50% of customers have been with a supplier for more than 10 years. For one supplier, the figure is 60-70%.
  • Customer complaints for the Big Six have increased fivefold between 2007-13.

So why is this bad news about the problems in the energy market good news for customers? Most importantly, the CMA shone a spotlight on the fact customers on standard variable tariffs with the Big Six are losing out. While it’s been reported that the Big Six have around 70% of their customers on their expensive tariff*, OVO has around 75% of customers on its cheapest tariff. By exposing these problems, particularly with how loyal and often vulnerable customers lose out, it makes it more likely that these problems will get fixed.  

There is still a long way to go. But a better energy market where suppliers compete on great service they offer and making life easier for customers (as well as keeping their prices low for all) is a step closer. Fixing the market is a nice Christmas present for all of us… 

*UK Utilities: What To Expect from the CMA Investigation on Energy Retail? - The Detailed Low-down, BernsteinResearch, 28 Oct 2014

O​VO​ Energy Ltd, registered office 1 Rivergate Temple Quay Bristol, BS1 6ED, company no. 06890795 registered in England and Wales, VAT No. 100119879

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1Monthly cost - Representative monthly direct debit costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying in advance by direct debit, including online discount.  All rates correct as of 20/3/2018, but may go up or down.

2Weekly cost - Representative weekly costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas).  All rates correct as of 22/11/2017, but may go up or down.

3Pay Monthly Savings claims: Saving based on the estimated annual cost of Simpler tariff for a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying monthly in advance by direct debit, including online discount. Comparisons made against the average of the Big 6 standard variable tariffs with equivalent features. All rates correct as of 20/3/2018.“The Big 6” are British Gas, Scottish Power, SSE, Npower, E.ON and EDF.

4Pay As You Go Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYG OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location. 

We include almost twice as much renewable electricity as the national average: At least 33% of electricity in all of our tariffs comes from renewable sources. The national average, according to Ofgem as at March 2014 was 16.7%. For more information please visit this page.

33% of your electricity comes from renewable sources: 33% renewable electricity as standard as of 1st April 2015. Renewable electricity is generated from wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogas.

OVO Interest Rewards: Interest Rewards are paid on credit balances of customers paying by monthly Direct Debit. It is calculated at 3% in your first year, 4% in your second year and 5% in your third year (and every year thereafter) if you pay by Direct Debit. Interest Rewards are paid monthly based on the number of days you’re in credit and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill. Full terms apply:

95% of new customers save when switching to OVO: Savings based on the average estimated annual costs for all new OVO customers quoted through the OVO website, compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/05/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT.

94% of surveyed customers would recommend us: OVO conducted a survey of their customers in between 1st January 2016 and 15th April 2016. Out of 15,312 customers who responded, over 94% rated OVO 6+ when asked 'how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend and family, on a scale of 1 to 10.

uSwitch's Energy Supplier of the Year 2017: OVO energy was voted and awarded  'Energy Supplier of the year' and best for: Overall Customer Satisfaction, Most Likely to be Recommended, Value for Money, Best Deal for You, Customer Service, Billing Services, Energy Efficiency, Meter Services, Online Services, Green Services and Transfer Process. OVO Energy scored a 96% customer satisfaction score.

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