Octopus vs British Gas (2021 Comparison)

British Gas and Octopus Energy are two of the UK’s best-known energy suppliers. British Gas has been a major UK energy supplier for decades. While Octopus is still relatively new to the market, having been in the energy business for just five years. Here, we will look at how they match up against each other and find out if bigger really means better!

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Who are British Gas?

British gas is possibly the most well-known energy supplier in the UK and holds a firm place within the big six suppliers. They were established as a limited company in 1997 but have roots tracing back to 1812 when they were known as the Gas Light and Coke company! Today British Gas is owned by Centrica, who also own Bord Gais, an Irish Supplier. In 2021 British Gas have over 5 million gas customers and 6 million electricity customers. Although they still supply over a 3rd of British homes, they are losing customers (almost 300,000 in 2019). In Scotland, British Gas operates under the name Scottish gas.

Who are Octopus Energy?

By comparison, Octopus are relatively new. The company was established in 2016. In that short time, they have gained a solid customer base of 2 million customers.

They focus on supplying green energy from renewable sources using the power of the sun, sea and wind to generate 100% of their electricity. They are also becoming renowned for providing exceptional customer service. Octopus is part of the wider Octopus group, established in 2000 and in addition to their interests in energy, they also operate in the investment management sector.

In their short time as an energy supplier, they have won numerous awards, including the Which? Energy supplier of the year and the Uswitch supplier of the year.

Octopus vs British Gas: What’s the difference in price?

We did a like for like comparison quote with both suppliers. Our usage/search was based on the following criteria:

  • Dual Fuel supply
  • Standard Meter
  • Medium usage (3 bedroom house with four occupants)
  • 2900 kWh of electricity and 12000 kWh for gas
  • Postcode in the South East of England

Let us look at how they compared:

British Gas

On running a quote for British Gas, I was given four different tariff options. The lowest price tariff is the standard variable at £102.38 a month (1228.58 yearly). The other three possibilities varied between £112 – £115 a month. Interestingly there is a statement at the bottom stating that these are the only tariffs available through the website. Other offers may be available elsewhere. This indicates if you were to sign up through a comparison site or other third-party services, you might be able to access alternative tariffs.

Octopus

The same details were used for an Octopus energy quote. The lowest price tariff Flexible Octopus available to the selected postcode comes out at £70.20 monthly, which works out to £842.40 a year.

Even if we look at Octopus Energy’s most expensive tariff, supergreenOctopus, which comes out at £94.64 a month, that’s still saving £7.74 a month or £92.88 per year!

Conclusion: Octopus Energy is clearly the lowest priced option.

With a saving of £32.18 a month or £386.18 a year compared to British Gases standard variable tariff, Octopus is leading the charge over British Gas when it comes to competitive pricing.

Octopus vs British Gas: What’s the difference in tariff options?

Directly through the British Gases website, I was offered four different tariffs as follows:

Standard Variable

As the name suggests, this tariff is variable, which means your rates can go up and down with the cost of energy. British Gas state they will give customers 30 days notice of any price increase to their bill.

With a standard variable tariff, there are no exit fees or fixed-term contract.

The Ofgem price cap applies to this tariff, and there may be a price change effective from October 1st 2021.

HomeEngergy Secure Jul 2024

While £10 more expensive per month, this tariff will fix your energy prices until July 2023. If you choose to leave early, there is an exit fee of £40 per fuel.

On this tariff, 100% of your electricity use will be matched with renewable electricity through Guarantees of Origin certificates (GoOs) or Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origins certificates (REGOs) or both.

Complete Protection October 2023

This is a fixed price tariff until October 2023. The difference is this tariff also includes a range of cover for your heating systems for the first 12 months, including:

  • Central heating breakdown cover
  • Plumbing and drains cover
  • Home electrical cover

After 12 months, the added services above will automatically renew at the cost of £11.50 per month. (At this point, you can cancel these extras if not required).

If you choose to exit early, there is an exit fee of £40 per fuel.

Green Future 2023

This is British Gases greenest tariff offering. It is fixed until 2023.

With this tariff, they will match 10% of the gas you use and 100% of the electricity you use with renewable sources.

They will also offset your carbon footprint from 90% of the gas customers use on this tariff.

British Gas will also support the growth of up to five trees in the UK for every fuel you use and for each year you stay on this tariff.

As with the other fixed tariffs, there is an exit fee of £40 per fuel.

Octopus

Octopus energy offers six tariffs. Three are their more standard options, and they offer three innovative options. Here is a quick summary of each, starting with the standard options:

Super Green Octopus

This is, as you might have guessed, Octopus’s greenest tariff. With this tariff, you are locking in your standing charge and unit rate for two years. However, there are no exit fees.

100% of your electricity supply will come from renewable sources. Your gas use is carbon offset through Octopus’s partnership with Renewable World.

Octopus 24 months Fixed

Octopus’s most popular tariff. This is a fixed tariff with no exit fees if you change your mind and choose to leave early. Like the super green tariff, this is ideal if you want to fix your prices for the next two years.

Flexible Octopus

This tariff is comparable to British Gases standard variable tariff and can rise and fall with wholesale energy prices. If you choose this option, you will always be given 30 days notice before any price increase takes effect, allowing you time to switch tariff if that would suit your circumstances better.

 Next, we will take a quick look at Octopus’s more innovative tariffs:

Agile Octopus

This tariff tracks half hourly wholesale pricing and offers “plunge pricing”, which means that customers get paid when more energy is produced from renewable resources than is consumed in the UK. Octopus passes on the payment they receive for taking their energy off the grid when this happens to their customers as a reward.

Octopus Go

Targeted at those users who own and run an electric vehicle. This tariff offers low electricity rates at night between midnight and 4 am.  According to Octopus, this tariff is up to 50% cheaper than a comparable economy 7 tariff.

Octopus Tracker

The Octopus Tracker tracks the daily wholesale energy market prices and gives you an accurate breakdown of where your money is going. Octopus Tracker is Britains first energy tariff to do this.

Customers on this tariff will get daily updates and a 12-month forecast of the predicted energy price trends over the year.

Conclusion: Both British Gas and Octopus offer a range of tariffs to suit different customer needs. However, given that Octopus have a more diverse range of tariffs and no exit fees should you decide to try a different tariff, Octopus comes out on top for the choice and flexibility in their tariff options.

And the winner is Octopus when it comes to tariff choices!

Octopus vs British Gas: Who offers the greenest energy?

Octopus has green energy at the centre of their offering. They proudly promote that 100% of their electricity supply comes from renewable resources. But how do British Gas compare?

British Gas

British Gas state they are committed to a greener Britain and the future of generations to come. They are on a mission to become net-zero by 2050.

If you choose one of their Green Future tariffs, British Gas will match 100% of your electricity usage with a renewable source such as wind or solar power. However, the electricity supplied into your home will be from a mixed source.

They also state that 100% of your CO2 footprint will be balanced by carbon-cutting projects around the world and renewable biogas produced from food and farm waste around the globe.

Octopus

Innovative Octopus is already supplying 100% of their electricity from renewable sources. This is standard across all their tariffs. The excellent news for customers is they can do this without being more expensive than other suppliers. If you opt for their super green tariff, your carbon use is also fully offset.

Octopus Investments are responsible for supplying 40% of the solar power generated in the UK and play a significant role in developing renewable energy solutions.

Conclusion: British Gas has taken significant steps to become more green and sustainable over the last few years and have successfully cut their own carbon emissions by 39% since 2015. However, being green is at the heart of Octopus’s offering. Any environmentally friendly consumer can see they are ahead of the game when producing and supplying renewable energy across the UK.

We can admire both for their green efforts, but Octopus has always had green energy at the forefront of their tariffs, so they win this category!

Octopus vs British Gas: Who has better customer reviews?

We consulted Trustpilot to see how their customers feel about the service they have received from both Octopus and British gas. Both companies have 10,000s of genuine reviews:

British Gas score 3.5 out of 5 based on over 62,000 reviews

Octopus score 4.7 out of 5 based on over 58,000 reviews

Both suppliers ask their customers to review their service, both good and bad. Both companies respond to negative reviews. Octopus appears to have the edge on doing this, with over 80% of their negative reviews receiving a response while British Gas replies to 55%.

On reading a selection of the reviews, British Gas customers frequently complain about the price increases and poor customer service and lack of knowledge. However, many customers also seem to be happy with their supply and service. On the other hand, Octopus fair much better, with most reviews stating that they are helpful and knowledgable and resolve problems quickly.

Conclusion: Both suppliers have received a significant volume of reviews, and it’s no surprise that our winner is Octopus Energy, with their excellent score on TrustPilot.

Octopus vs British Gas: Who has the better website and app?

Both suppliers have clean, easy to use websites where you can sign up and manage your account online. It’s easy on both websites to navigate to find different resources, whether it’s contact information, FAQ or corporate information.

A popular option now is an App to manage and monitor your energy usage. Both suppliers offer one, and we will take a look at how they compare:

British Gas

In theory, the British Gas App allows you to manage your account, submit a meter reading, view and pay bills, arrange engineer call outs, chat to an advisor or change tariff, to name a few. However, the reality seems to be that it’s not functioning as well as it could. With a score of just 2.6 out of 5, there is certainly room for improvement. Customers complain that it crashes frequently, and you cannot reliably use it to manage your account.

Octopus

Another app that doesn’t quite match up to their customer’s expectations is the one from Octopus. Scoring just 1.6 out of 5, the Octopus App lets them down by being slow, regularly crashing and overly basic. Like British Gas, the best intentions are there to allow easy account management, but unfortunately, most customers prefer to login to the website for a more effortless experience.

Conclusion: Neither supplier came out well in this category. However, British Gas just comes out ahead with marginally better App reviews than Octopus overall.

Octopus vs British Gas: Who has the better customer service?

We checked out both suppliers customer service statistics from Citizens advice as they offer the best customer service data comparison, which gives a fair and unbiased view:

This table gives a summary of how both suppliers compare:

OctopusBritish Gas
Average call centre wait time02:0308:34
Emails responded to with 2 days61.2%85.4%
% customers with accurate bill99%90.3%
Switches completed < 15 days98.3%99.4%
Opening hours9 am – 5 pm (4 pm on Fridays)9 am – 5 pm
Contact via PhoneYesYes
Contact via EmailYesYes
Contact via WebchatNoYes
Source: Citizens advice

Both suppliers come out well on meeting the customer service statistics. However, the wait time when calling British Gas is substantially higher than Octopus. In addition, with British Gas, there is a higher chance of receiving an inaccurate bill, but British Gas are likely to respond to an email quicker, according to the data above. Both offer comparable opening hours, and British Gas offer a webchat service where Octopus does not.

Conclusion: It’s incredibly close, and depending on your priorities, you may feel differently, but we think Octopus is just ahead when it comes to customer service.

Octopus vs British Gas: Who has less complaints?

We looked at the complaint data each energy provider openly provides. To make sure we cover the same period for both, we will look at Q2 for 2020.

We have summarised the data in the below table:

Octopus EnergyBritish Gas
Complaints per 100k customers475590
Resolved per 100k customers471570
Resolved next working day66%41.7%
Resolved in 8 weeks93%88.7%
Sources: Octopus Energy Q2 2020. British Gas Q2 2020
Conclusion: Octopus received fewer complaints and resolved them quicker than British Gas. When it comes to the number of complaints and handling time, Octopus is the winner.

Octopus vs British Gas: What are the main differences between the two?

These two suppliers supply a substantial number of UK homes, but they are pretty different in their purposes. Here we will have a look and how they came out in the main categories customers look for when considering a new energy supplier:

  • When it comes to price, Octopus are more competitive and won in this area due to their cheaper pricing.
  • On the range of tariffs available, Octopus won the battle due to the range and flexibility in their tariffs.
  • The award for the greenest energy supplier goes to Octopus, with being green at the heart of what they do.
  • Octopus came out on top in the customer review category with more happy customers than British Gas.
  • When we compare their website and apps,  British Gas just got it with their slightly better functioning app.
  • It was close again when it came to customer service. But overall, Octopus received fewer complaints and resolved them quickly.

Who is the best?

Octopus Energy leaves British Gas and the big six standing when it comes to being innovative and sustainable. They are leading the way in customer services, tariff options and pricing for us.

There is just one clear winner: Octopus Energy!

🏆 Our top rated supplier Octopus Energy is currently offering £50 credit to any new customer that uses our referral link. Click below to see why we rate them so highly and get your £50.

Read our review

Avatar for Rob

Rob

Rob runs Energy-Review.co.uk. The project initially began when he switched energy suppliers for the first time and found there wasn't a website that provided simple, data backed reviews on all the suppliers available. Since then, Rob has spent considerable time looking at all publicly available data about each supplier and writing reviews using this information. Reviews are updated as regularly as possible and any data is backed up by a source where necessary. If you find any issues, please use our contact form to let us know.

1 Comment
  1. I agree totally with this Octopus are the best company I have dealt with for ANY utilities.Their green ethics and ideals are what all modern companies should be striving for.Keep it up and once I start travelling again I will be going on the green tariff well done Octopus.

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