Ovo Energy is widely held to be the UK’s biggest independent energy supplier. Since acquiring Spark Energy in 2018 and Economy Energy in 2019, Ovo is one of a handful of suppliers that are really competing with the infamous Big Six. Its supply of green energy and smart technology has boosted its public image. Find out what Ovo Energy can offer you as your energy supplier.
About Ovo Energy
Ovo Energy has made leaps and bounds since it launched into the energy market a decade ago. Find out where it all began and where they’re headed.
- 2009 - Stephen Fitzpatrick, a British businessman, founded Ovo Energy. It was registered as a private limited company on 29th April 2009.
- 2014 - The Ovo Foundation was set up, with the charitable objectives of supporting organisations that give young people from around the world a better future.
- 2016 - As of July 2016, Ovo supplied 685,000 customers with gas and electricity. Across its offices in Bristol and London, Ovo employed more than 1000 people.
- 2017 - Ovo introduced Boost Energy, a sister company that runs Ovo’s smart prepayment platform. It allows customers with prepayment meters to top them up using OVO Energy’s Smart PAYG+ mobile application. This removed the inconvenience of resorting to a card or key top-up systems. Ovo registered a total 680,000 customers as of June 2017.
- 2018 - Ovo acquired Spark Energy in November 2018, which included Spark’s 290,000 customer accounts and its staff in Scotland and Wales. In the same year, Ovo reported revenue of over £1 billion.
- 2019 - After Economy Energy went bust in January 2019, Ofgem selected Ovo Energy to take on the failed company’s 235,000 customers. This brought Ovo’s customer base up to around 1.4 million households.
Ovo claims to be the current leading independent energy retail company in the UK. With only 15 independent energy suppliers in the UK market competing against the Big Six, Ovo may well hold this title. According to its website, it boasts 1.5m retail customers. The Ovo Group employs over 1,900 members of staff across six retail brands:
- Ovo Energy
- Corgi HomePlan
Ovo also runs a charity known as the OVO Charitable Foundation (or OVO Foundation for short) which funds projects that help young people build a better future. The OVO Foundation develops projects in three areas: energy and the environment, youth poverty, and education.
The OVO Foundation set up the Future Builders scheme, aimed at breaking the cycle of youth homelessness in the UK. Launched in Bristol, Sheffield and Birmingham, it gives young people at risk of homelessness the chance to renovate derelict properties to live in. They gain skills and experience within the construction industry while completing a traineeship that equips them with the skills needed to secure a job in the sector.
Shares and Finance
At Selectra we did some digging around among Ovo’s company documents filed at Companies House, together with other publicly-available information. Within the Ovo Group, we’ve focused on Ovo Energy Ltd and the OVO Foundation. Let’s look at each of them in turn.
OVO Energy Ltd
Ovo’s Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2017, gave us a good indication of its financial state and how this has changed from the previous year. The information below is based on Ovo’s KPIs, risks, income statement, its evaluation as a going concern and its share purchases.
Key financial and performance indicators (KPIs)
|Annualised gross profit margin||%||14.1||15.8|
Principal risks and uncertainties
Ovo aims to manage the risk of volatile wholesale energy prices by securing gas and electricity under forward-contracts and placing customers on fixed-price contracts. It aims to mitigate the risk of bad debt by collecting monthly direct debits from its customers while keeping bad debts to a minimum.
Also known as the profit and loss statement, Ovo’s income statement focuses on its revenues and expenses from 1st January 2017 to 31st December 2017.
|Unit||£ 000||£ 000|
|Cost of sales||(637,120)||(588,475)|
|Net finance cost||(1,330)||(1,959)|
|Profit/(loss) before tax||4,510||(18,759)|
|Income tax (expense)/income||(1,274)||1,876|
|Profit/(loss) for the year||3,236||(16,883)|
Ovo Energy Ltd, as a going concern, made a loss for the year ending 31 December 2017 and has net liabilities.
It is worth noting two major transactions that affect Ovo’s shares and liabilities respectively.
(1) Shell - Security Over Shares Agreement
On 10 January 2019, Shell Energy Europe Ltd entered into a contract with Ovo to take a fixed charge over its shares held in Spark Energy, in consideration for Ovo’s liabilities owed to Shell under a separate transaction. This meant that Shell took a fixed charge with full title guarantee over 14,566,180 ordinary shares of £0.01 that Ovo had held in Spark Energy Ltd.
(2) Mitsubishi - Share Purchase Agreement
On 14 February 2019, Mitsubishi Corporation bought a 20 per cent stake in OVO, valuing the company at £1 billion. Ovo said it would use the proceeds to expand into new markets across Europe and Asia Pacific. It pledged to invest the proceeds into developing its new energy technologies unit, Kaluza.
The OVO Foundation is a separate charitable organisation created in 2014. It’s funded partly from customer donations, and partly from the OVO business.
At the end of 2017, 81,000 customers donated to OVO Foundation each month. During 2017, Ovo Energy Ltd made charitable donations of £867,000.
Ovo Energy in the News
Ovo has its press page filled with articles about what it has been up to. However, we wanted to see what real stories were being published in the national press. Here’s a flavour of what has been hitting the headlines concerning Ovo Energy.
SSE in talks with Ovo over sale of UK energy business - August 2019
Energy supplier SSE revealed that it’s in talks with the Ovo Group to sell off its struggling energy retail arm “SSE Energy Services”. Ovo offered to buy it for £250m.
If a deal goes through, this would mean that Ovo would add SSE's 5.8 million domestic customers to its 1.5 million customer base. This would make Ovo the second biggest UK energy supplier, behind only British Gas, which boasts 12 million domestic accounts.
Ovo set to launch in the Australian market - August 2019
Ovo revealed that it plans to expand into the Australian energy market, after having formally applied for a retail licence with the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). It could be granted permission to sell electricity and gas in New South Wales, south-east Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.
Ovo’s application comes at a time when the Australian energy market is going through the largest shake-up since deregulation, with an array of changes affecting all retailers.
OVO installed the world’s first domestic vehicle-to-grid charger - December 2018
Ovo unveiled the world’s first widely available domestic bi-directional Vehicle-to-Grid Charger (V2G). It gives electric vehicle drivers the freedom to store renewable energy in their cars, use that to power their homes and sell back any unused energy to the grid at peak times. In turn, they can earn rewards from smart charging their car.
The V2G charger will take advantage of electricity when it’s available, at its cheapest and when there are more renewables in the system. This will allow more renewable energy to reach the National Grid, allowing households to reduce their electricity bills. The V2G charger is currently available only to Nissan LEAF drivers with a 30 or 40 kWh battery.
OVO announces first phase of European expansion - September 2018
Ovo announced its first phase of European expansion through its investment in the German-based energy supplier 4hundred. Through this investment, Ovo plans to export its digital expertise and new technology products to Germany.
The Munich-based energy provider currently offers a 100% green electricity tariff to over 2,000 customers in Germany and was set to achieve 10,000 customers by the end of 2018.
Ovo’s fuel mix is greener than the UK average. Let’s take a look at where its electricity and gas are sourced from.
Its electricity supply comes from just two sources: renewables (42.9%) and natural gas (57.1%). This is a lot better than the UK average, which weighs in at 29% renewables and 41.2% natural gas. Ovo doesn't use nuclear power, coal or biomass in the fuel mix of either its gas or electricity. Below is a breakdown of Ovo Energy's electricity sources calculated from every 204 grams of CO2 per kWh.
How does this translate into Ovo’s electricity tariffs?
- If you’re on either of the following three tariffs: Better Energy, Simpler Energy or 2 Year Fixed Energy, you’ll get 33% renewable electricity.
- The Green Electricity upgrade, for an extra £5 per month, will get you 100% renewable electricity. It works as an add-on to any plan you choose, be it fixed or flexible. Its green sources of energy include wind, solar, geothermal and hydro energy.
Ovo Energy, just like all the other energy suppliers, sources its gas from the National Grid. The majority of its gas is sourced from the North Sea; the rest comes from Norway, Continental Europe and some from further afield.
How does this translate into Ovo’s gas tariffs?
If you take any standard tariff, be it fixed or flexible, you’ll get what’s given to you from the National Grid. Given the scarce public data available on the fuel mix of gas from the National Grid, you can expect green gas to be a minimal proportion.
With any current plan you have with Ovo, you can opt for the “Green gas upgrade” for an extra £5 per month. With this, you’ll be guaranteed 15% renewable gas, i.e. sustainable biomethane gas supplied from green sources, such as biogas, landfill gas and synthetic gas, all of which are completely carbon-neutral.
As 15% green gas is a small amount, Ovo promises to “offset” the remaining 85% by funding projects that protect 500,000 hectares of threatened CO2-absorbing forests around the world. It’s not entirely clear from Ovo’s website on what it means by “offsetting,” nor does it explain where this money comes from or how it’s spent.
There’s also no way of monitoring Ovo’s execution of its promise. We’re just supposed to take Ovo at its word that with every green energy customer that it acquires, it gives back to the environment through philanthropic activities.
Activities and services
Ovo’s services and products are of the type that complements its green initiatives. These range from electric vehicles to boiler plans. We’ve done some digging to find out what you can expect from Ovo as your supplier.
Electric vehicle products
Owners of electric vehicles who are also Ovo customers enjoy an array of perks. They help to keep your costs down when powering and maintaining your car. Discover how Ovo achieves this through its EV Everywhere bundle, vehicle to grid chargers and EV smart chargers.
1. EV Everywhere bundle
Ovo’s “EV Everywhere” bundle allows you to combine your domestic tariff with the cost of powering your electric car. The bundle is a two-year fixed energy plan which boasts the following features:
- Free Smart Charger or POLAR plus membership
- 100% Green Energy
- Compatibility with Economy 7
Be aware of what will happen if you switch supplier before your two-year plan has ended:
- Your plan will be terminated and termination fees may apply (except if you’re moving out of your property, in which case there will be no termination fee).
- You will lose your Green Electricity.
- If you chose the POLAR plus bundle, you’ll lose your free subscription to POLAR plus.
- If you chose the Smart Charger bundle, you’ll need to pay £300 towards the cost of your Smart Charger.
At the end of your two-year Fixed Energy plan, you will have the choice to sign up for a range of energy plans from Ovo. If you fail to do this, Ovo will place you on the more expensive variable-rate tariff.
2. Vehicle to grid chargers
If you have a Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle, you’ll want to get Ovo’s Vehicle-to-Grid charger (V2G). It’s a device that stores electricity in your battery when it’s cheaper and then sells electricity back to the National Grid when it’s in demand. By using the V2G Charger, you could quite possibly save enough money to charge your vehicle for free.
Get up and running with your V2G charger in 3 simple steps:
- Tell Ovo when you need to use your car and your chosen minimum charge level via the Kaluza app.
- Plug your V2G charger into your car while at home. Ovo will charge your car when demand on the grid is low and export when demand is high.
- Ovo will sell back to the grid any exported electricity that your house doesn’t use. On your monthly statement, you’ll see the money you’ve saved.
3. EV Smart Chargers
You can reduce your charging emissions by up to 22% using Ovo’s EV Smart Charger. Schedule when you’d like it to charge according to your calendar in the Kaluza app. With this app, you can keep track of your charging activity.
The EV Smart Charger works with any electric vehicle, so it’s not restricted to Nissan Leaf. Just add your cable to use it. You get a 3-year manufacturer's warranty with the charger. If you’re on Economy 7 rates, you can set it to charge when your off-peak rate starts, saving you money.
GOOD TO KNOW:Get an EV Smart Charge for free if you’re eligible for the OLEV Grant. This government grant for Electric Vehicle owners provides £500 off the cost of purchasing and installing a home charge point.
Our complete UK Smart Meters guide explains what a smart meter is and what its benefits are. Ovo has been on board with the Government’s smart meter rollout scheme for a long time. This degree of collaboration reinforces its green credentials towards a sustainable network that’s free of fossil fuels.
Ovo energy reports on its website to have already installed 750,000 smart meters in its customers’ homes to date. Note that these are of the SMETS1 type, so if you get one from Ovo and then decide to change energy supplier, your smart meter could “turn dumb”. This would mean that you have to submit your meter readings every month, just as you’ve been doing up until now if you have a standard credit meter. This wouldn’t happen if you were to get a SMETS2 meter which stays “smart” no matter how many times you change supplier.
Find out what the difference is between SMETS1 and SMETS2 smart meters and why it matters to you.
Quantum smart storage heaters
A storage heater is a wall-mounted heater that uses electricity through the night to store heat in clay or ceramic bricks for use the following day. Ovo’s product, called Quantum, is a smart storage heater that boasts an award-winning design.
Ovo claims that it’s “the world’s most advanced storage heater”. While we can’t verify whether it holds this title, it does have several perks that may make it worthwhile getting one:
- Award-winning design for a stylish and discreet look.
- Efficiently retains heat, releasing it only when you need it.
- The adjustable LCD screen on which to see the current temperature.
- Saving of up to £244 (23%) per year* compared to a standard storage heater system.
- Remote control using the Dimplex Control app (available to download on Google Play and the App Store).
- Ten-year limited warranty when you register the product with Dimplex.
- Free, no-obligation survey to check if your quote is cost-efficient for your home.
- Option to have Ovo’s installer take your old heaters away, freeing you from having to dispose of them yourself.
*Annual savings based on a 90m2 3 bed semi-detached home, built to 1990s building regulations, on a “UK Average” electricity tariff.
Remember that the FiT scheme is closed to new applicants from 1 April 2019. However, the closure of the scheme does not affect you if your installation was already accredited before 31 March 2019. FiT support remains payable for 20 years (25 years in some cases) and tariffs are adjusted annually by RPI.
If you’re already getting the FiT from another energy supplier and you want to switch to OVO, you’ll first need to do two things:
- Switch your electricity account to Ovo Energy and
- Transfer your FiT by filling out Ovo’s FiT Switch Form.
It will take 28 days to switch your existing FiT account to OVO starting from the date of your application.
On your FiT switch date, Ovo will ask you to take a solar generation reading. This will count as your closing reading with your previous supplier and your opening reading with Ovo.
If you’ll be moving into a home where Ovo supplied the previous owner’s FiT, just fill out their FiT Change of Ownership Form.
Remember that you have the option to switch to Ovo for your gas and electricity supply but you can decide to remain with the same FiT supplier who originally installed your FiT system. Conversely, if you’re an Ovo customer and you want to switch to another supplier, you can opt to keep your FiT with Ovo.
If you want to switch both your energy supplier AND your FiT to another supplier, the following will happen:
- You will need to speak with your new supplier’s FiT team and tell them you’ll be switching both your supply and your FiT.
- Your new supplier will contact Ovo Energy through Ofgem to let Ovo know you’re leaving.
- Your new supplier will ask you for a “solar generation reading” on the day of your switch. This will count as your closing reading with Ovo and your opening reading with the new supplier. (Find out how to take opening and closing meter readings easily.)
- The new energy company will use this to open your new account with them and close your account with Ovo.
- Ovo will send you your final statement, which must be paid in full by the subsequent payment month.
Looking for boiler cover with your gas and electricity supply? Since Ovo acquired CORGI HomePlan in April 2017, this is now possible. CORGI HomePlan is the UK’s third-largest home services provider of insurance cover for boilers, central heating, plumbing, drains and electrics. It boasts around 150,000 customers.
Adding CORGI HomePlan to the OVO portfolio has expanded the brand’s services to include boiler maintenance and installation, thermostats, and other in-home technology. Every once in awhile, Ovo runs offers such as discounts on selected policies, which include boiler cover through CORGI HomePlan. For more details visit my.ovoenergy.com/login.
Before you rush into getting boiler cover, there are some things you should note:
- You’ll need insurance cover that’s adequate for your type of boiler. This could range from a gas boiler to a combi boiler.
- Ask yourself whether it’s best to repair or replace your boiler. You’ll want to weigh up the costs of each option.
- You don’t have to go through CORGI Homeplan to get boiler cover just because you’re an Ovo customer. You should shop around for the best boiler cover on the market. Corgi is just one of a handful you should be looking at.
- If you’re a landlord, you’ll want cover that specifically caters to landlords.
- When choosing a policy, you’ll want one that includes boiler service.
- Look after your boiler even if you have cover. Follow our boiler maintenance tips to keep it in tip-top condition.
Ovo Energy tariffs and prices
We’ll have a look at the types of tariffs available from Ovo and how their prices compare to the market average.
What types of Ovo tariffs are available?
We’ve grouped Ovo’s tariffs into either fixed or variable, along with its specific tariffs that correspond to owners of an electric vehicle, those on Economy 7, and those who have a prepayment meter.
Ovo’s two fixed-rate tariffs are as follows:
- Better Energy - fixed rate for 1 year
- Two Year Fixed Energy - fixed rate for 2 years
For either one, you get peace of mind knowing that you’ll be protected against price rises in the wholesale energy market.
Simpler Energy is Ovo’s only variable tariff. There’s no fixed contract, making it more flexible than either of the two fixed-term tariffs. Also there are no exit fees to pay whenever you decide to switch supplier.
Although Ovo doesn’t have a separate “Green tariff” as such, you have the option of getting a green “add-on” to your gas and electricity tariffs by paying £5 extra per month for each fuel. This means that for an extra £10 per month on top of your current tariff, you get:
- 100% renewable electricity, instead of 33%, and
- 15% renewable gas, instead of 0%.
Electric vehicle bundle
Ovo’s EV Everywhere bundle is a package deal from which you can benefit if you own an electric vehicle. With this bundle, you’ll be on a fixed-term tariff for two years (called the Two Year Fixed Energy) and the two main perks are:
- Free green electricity to charge your car, instead of the usual rate of £5 per month.
- Free smart charger for your car.
Here are the steps to follow to get yourself set up:
- Get a quote and fill in the details that correspond to your home.
- Choose whether you want a Smart Charger or Polar Plus membership.
- Hit the "Switch Now" button.
Economy 7 Tariffs
You’ll know from our Economy 7 guide that you can opt to have one electricity rate for the day and another for the night. This could save you money depending on when you plan to use lots of energy. It certainly complements having a storage heater such as Ovo’s Quantum heater.
If you have an Economy 7 meter, you can choose any OVO plan and they’ll give you two unit rates - one for the day and one for the night. Ovo doesn't specify on its website what those unit rates are, so you would have to contact them and get a personalised quote if you wanted this tariff. See our Ovo contact page to ensure you’re dialling the right number.
Ovo customers with a prepayment meter are on a pay as you go (PAYG) tariff, where they pay in advance for their energy.
Ovo Energy split off its pay-as-you-go (or prepayment meter) service, which is now run by Ovo’s sister company Boost Energy. It has developed a ‘smart PAYG+ meter’ which allows you to top up online. It also facilitates digital communication between your electric PAYG meter, your gas PAYG meter and Ovo’s central database.
Ovo Energy has a portfolio of business clients which is drawing to a close. Ovo is not taking on any more business customers. If you want your company’s premises to be supplied by Ovo, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Shop around for the best business energy suppliers on the market and look for one that offers the most competitive tariffs for a business of your size. If that supplier consistently receives glowing customer reviews and high ratings, even better!
How can I contact Ovo Energy?
If you have a specific question for Ovo, you need to go through a specific contact channel. If you don’t, you’ll be wasting your time being bounced from one department to another. You may even be placed on hold for a long time, which can be frustrating.
To get your question answered quickly and accurately, see our Contact Ovo Energy guide.
If your question relates to meter readings, try to find the answer from Ovo’s Meter Reading’s FAQ. Alternatively, you can contact Ovo directly to resolve your query.
Meter Reading Problems
Please check with your provider if you don't know how much a call will cost.
0330 303 5063
*Monday to Friday: 8am-6pm
Social media: Tweet them or post your question on Facebook
If you’re moving
If you’re moving into a new home and you’re considering Ovo as your new energy supplier, simply go to ovoenergy.com/moving-home and insert your new postcode. You’ll then be given a quote on how much you'll pay for gas and electricity usage at your new property.
If you’re moving out of a home that was supplied by Ovo, log in to your online account and let them know.
Logging into your online account
To set up your Ovo online account, all you need is the email address and password associated with your account. If you are having problems logging in, follow our step by step guide on how to log in to your Ovo Energy accoun (guide coming soon).
Customer reviews and Selectra’s verdict
Let’s see how customers have reviewed the services and products received from Ovo Energy before we come to Selectra’s own verdict on this supplier.
Customer reviews of Ovo Energy
Reviews from customers of Ovo Energy are very positive, with customer ratings ranging from four to five stars. Its portfolio of happy customers is perhaps one of the reasons why this supplier has quickly climbed the ladder to become a leading UK independent energy supplier.
How have consumer association websites, including Selectra, rated Ovo Energy? Find out how Ovo weighs up against its competitors in our Ovo Energy Reviews guide (coming soon).
Taking into account Ovo’s value for money and its ratings on consumer review websites, including our own, we give Ovo Energy a rating of 3/5 stars. This score is also based on its fuel mix and extra features that enhance the customer’s experience, such as smart technology. Here’s our summary of what Ovo Energy has going for it:
|The Pros||The Cons|
|Well-reviewed customer service.||Unclear how much green gas is received without green add-on.|
|Competitive energy costs.||Not the cheapest on the market.|
|Easy to understand billing.||Discontinued business tariffs.|
If you’re not an Ovo Energy customer, we’d recommend not rushing into switching just yet. Call an energy expert to find out if Ovo offers the best deal on the market, or if there’s another one you don’t know about which would be even better for you.