Octopus Energy to take on Co-op Energy's 300,000 customers – here's what you need to know
Octopus Energy will take on all 300,000 customers supplied by Co-op Energy, GB Energy and Flow Energy after a buyout was agreed – if you're with one of these firms, here's what you need to know.
Following the takeover, Co-op Energy will become a 'white label' supplier under Octopus Energy. This means energy, billing and customer service will be operated by Octopus Energy, but will still be supplied under the Co-op Energy brand.
Customers of GB Energy and Flow Energy are also affected as Co-op Energy owns and operates both of these brands. These are set to be scrapped completely, with customers transferred to Octopus Energy.
The additional 300,000 customers takes Octopus to well over one million customers – making it one of the largest challenger energy firms, behind the big six, Ovo and Bulb.
The suppliers have said the process to transfer customers on to Octopus Energy's systems has started, and will take a few months to complete.
If you're with Co-op, GB or Flow Energy, don't worry – Octopus Energy says it will honour all current fixed deals, and if you're on a variable, your prices will either stay the same or will drop.
What's more, Octopus is a stronger performer for customer service, with 88% of its customers rating it 'great' in our May 2019 poll, compared to 38% 'great' for Co-op Energy.
Check now to see if you're on the best deal by doing a quick full-market comparison via our free Cheap Energy Club.
I'm a Co-op, GB or Flow Energy customer, do I need to do anything?
At the moment, you don't need to do anything – Co-op Energy says it'll be sending out emails and letters to all customers, including to those with GB and Flow Energy, from today (Thursday) to let you know what happens next.
Octopus Energy says it will take them a few months to move all customers over to its systems, but your energy supply won't be interrupted, your prices will remain the same, and you can continue to use the normal Co-op, Flow and GB Energy contact details for now.
Once the transfer happens, Co-op Energy customers will still essentially be with Co-op Energy, so you likely won't notice any real changes, as it's mostly all happening behind the scenes. You should still be able to log on to your online account as you do now, contact numbers will stay the same and you'll still see the Co-op Energy name on your bills.
For Flow and GB Energy customers, you'll be provided with a new Octopus Energy account once the transfer is complete.
Will the price of my energy change?
If you're on a fixed tariff, your prices will remain the same – Octopus has said it will honour all fixed deals.
If you're on a variable tariff, and your deal is more expensive than Octopus Energy's standard variable tariff – known as Flexible Octopus – you'll actually see your prices fall to match this.
As Co-op, GB and Flow Energy's current standard variable tariff is £1,253/year for a typical dual-fuel household, compared to £1,029/yr for Flexible Octopus on the same usage, some customers could see bills drop by over £200/yr.
If your variable tariff is cheaper than Octopus Energy's standard tariff, your price will remain the same.
What's more, if you're currently on a tariff that offers 100% renewable electricity, Octopus Energy will continue to supply you with green energy.
I'm in credit, will I get this back?
If you're in credit with any of the three brands Octopus has taken over, you'll keep this. Your credit will remain on your Co-op Energy account, or will simply be transferred to your new account under Octopus Energy for GB and Flow Energy customers. You're then free to use it to cover future energy use or ask for it back.
I don't want to move across to Octopus Energy, can I switch?
You're free to switch away if you don't want to be with Octopus Energy, though the supplier has said there will be a short period while it's transferring Co-op, GB and Flow Energy's systems to its own when the switch might not go through.
Octopus has said it will let you know in advance when this particular period will be for you in future communications.
If you're on a variable tariff, you're free to switch penalty-free. However, if you're on a fix and your existing tariff has exit fees, you'll still need to pay these to switch away.
Do a quick full-market comparison via our free Cheap Energy Club.
What do Octopus and Co-op Energy say?
Octopus Energy chief executive Greg Jackson said: "This acquisition and our ongoing partnership with Midcounties is another step on the road to improving the domestic energy market for good. Co-op is one of the most well-respected British brands and we're delighted to be working with them alongside our other cherished partners."
Phil Ponsonby, chief executive of Midcounties Co-operative (the parent group of Co-op Energy), said: "The Midcounties board is extremely proud of what has been achieved by our energy business since we entered a market dominated by just a few energy companies back in 2011. The market is now more competitive than ever, and it is clear that having the best technology is absolutely critical to delivering the best service to customers while maintaining a sustainable business for the longer term.
"Octopus have developed what we consider to be the most innovative and customer-focused technology anywhere in the industry today. But it isn't just about technology, we found an organisation that shared our values, and put customers, colleagues and the environment at the heart of what they do."