As we enter the New Year, we’ve been reflecting on our journey so far. And it’s been quite the ride! We’ve grown incredibly fast – almost trebling in the last 12 months, and doubling our workforce, with a 150% growth in our call centre alone. We’ve also launched some ground-breaking new products and services, including OVO Communities, Mylo and My OVO.
This year, we want to ensure we stay true to our values and keep the focus on you, our customers, in everything we do. So we thought what better way to start 2015 than to commit to a series of New Year’s resolutions? Here they are, let us know what you think and what your New Year’s resolutions are on Twitter @OVOEnergy, #newyearsresolutions.
We think around 70% of the Big Six’s customers are languishing on higher rate tariffs which they have rolled on to. Many of these customers have perhaps never switched, or switch rarely. A high proportion are vulnerable. Little or no effort is made to get them off these tariffs and on to the more price competitive ones offered to new customers.
Only 12% of OVO customers are on the variable rate and we do all we can to encourage customers to move onto a fixed tariff, as our variable is genuinely intended as a temporary measure to ensure continuity of supply out of contract.
The Big Six segment their customers into sticky, loyal customers who are routinely over-charged; and regular switchers who are targeted with aggressively priced short term tariffs, designed to protect market share. The one cross-subsidises the other. This is bad for customers and seriously harms competition.
Our tariffs are cost-reflective. This means they broadly reflect the real cost of doing business, so whether they go up or down, customers can always see why and trust they’re getting a fair deal.
The Big Six are under fire for holding in excess of £202 million, spread across 3.5 million closed household accounts. A further £204 million has been held from 300,000 business accounts.
We automatically refund any credit balances when customers switch away so this shouldn’t be a problem for us at all. Customers will have a full refund within a few weeks. We also did a big sweep a few months ago to ensure that there were no aged credit balances that had been missed.
Scottish Power and Npower have been threatened by Ofgem with a ban on taking on new customers following the introduction of a new billing system. (Meters must be read once a year and when the customer has sent in meter readings, the next bill must accurately reflect those readings).
Npower has been told by Ofgem it must meet strict targets to fix billing problems and to improve its complaints procedure or face a curb on sales, after it sent ex-customers huge bills months, and in some cases over a year, after they'd left the firm.
In 2014, we’re sorry to say we had a less than perfect record on billing. Though none of our customers were left out of pocket by what happened, we know how important it is for people to receive accurate statements and it’s a top priority for 2015 that we get this right.
Which? and others have pointed out that bills are hard to read and that customers find it hard to know which is the cheapest tariff.
We have won an award from the Campaign for Plain English for how clear our bills are. However, we have had to change them to meet the new regulatory requirement from Ofgem. We do not always think this in the best interests of customers.
Prepay customers are overcharged and last in the queue for smart meters, many of which will not be the most cost-efficient or effective technology option.
Our pre-payment tariff is the cheapest in the country and our smart enabled Pay As You Go technology is revolutionising the pre-payment experience.
Although the industry is moving toward faster switching, switching rates are still down 50% since 2008.
At OVO we will have six day switching in 2015, but we aim to get even faster. Beyond just faster switching, we want to restore trust so people think it’s worth switching at all.
The focus is still very much on building expensive new generation rather than saving and several companies have been fined for not completing their energy efficiency targets. The smart meter roll out also looks set to be an expensive failure.
Asking customers to subsidise expensive new generation should come second to helping them save. We look forward to starting our ECO roll out in 2015 and have ambitious plans for our smart meter/IHT business as well.
Through community generation, crowdfunding and collective switching, 2014 has been a good year but we are still a long way from democratising the energy industry.
However, we are pleased to say that 2015 will see the launch of our first pioneering OVO Communities partnerships.
Energy is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK (35% in 2012) and power stations, the largest contributor to energy emissions (79% in 2012). Coal, although an important part of the UK’s history, is a dirty pollutant and has very little place in our future.
We’re working hard on the policy side to encourage new market mechanisms to allow us to replace coal in the fuel mix. While this may be a long fight, we are consistently increasing the amount of renewable power we buy which directly reduces the amount coal-generated power we sell. We have to balance this with the cost, but we are proud of our track record.
OVO Energy Ltd, registered office 1 Rivergate Temple Quay Bristol, BS1 6ED, company no. 06890795 registered in England and Wales, VAT No. 100119879
Additional terms and conditions
Please see below for full terms and conditions on 33% renewable electricity, 3% interest rewards, exit fees and saving claims.
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 23/08/16, 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 23/08/16, but may go up or down.
3Pay Monthly Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYM 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.
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.
3% interest: Calculated at 3% per year, paid monthly based on number of days in credit and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill. OVO Interest Reward is capped at 12 times the amount of the current direct debit amount and is available to customers paying by advance direct debit. Terms apply: http://www.ovoenergy.com/terms/
95% of new customers save when switching to OVO: Based on all new customer signups between 01/02/2016 and 31/07/2016
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.
Britain's top rated energy provider: Britain's top rated energy provider in the Which? 2015 satisfaction survey. Survey conducted in October 2015. Awarded in January 2016.