Stream of customers moving to energy supplier Octopus slows as gas price spikes

The number of customers choosing to switch to Octopus Energy has slowed in the last nine months as a surging gas price took away some of the company’s competitive edge.

The business used cheaper prices to attract about 15% of all households who changed energy suppliers in the 12 months to last April, around 700,000 in total.

Since then, the number of customers switching to the supplier has dropped as it and others struggled to compete by offering lower prices.

Only around 400,000 customers have switched to Octopus in the last nine months, it revealed on Saturday.

It is an unsurprising slowdown as the number of energy customers switching suppliers has collapsed in the last six months due to soaring gas prices.

The rise in gas prices has meant it is meaningless for customers to switch, as the cheapest deal on the market is the standard variable tariff, which is limited by the energy price cap.

However, the business has been able to find new customers elsewhere. Last year nearly 600,000 customers needed a new home after their supplier, Avro Energy, went bust.

Octopus said it is unlikely to join more than two dozen of its peers that have failed since September.

It has been helped by its hedging policy which buys enough energy in advance to supply its customers for parts of the coming year. This partly insures it against rising energy prices.

Revenue at Octopus Energy Group, the supplier’s owner, rose 62% to £2 billion.

Chief executive Greg Jackson said: “Our UK energy business charged loyal and new customers well below the price cap whilst delivering close to breakeven operations and undented service throughout the pandemic.

“Our technology is now delivering strong financial returns, attracting huge investment which allows us to maintain the pace of growth across the energy value chain, globally.

“2022 will be tough in energy but we will fight for customer interests and work with government and industry to find solutions which may mitigate the issues for customers whilst doubling down on the investments in technology, growth and renewables which will help avoid such crises in future.”

On Saturday the business also announced the acquisition of French green energy company Plum energie, which has around 100,000 customers.