Octopus vs British Gas (2024 Comparison)

Last updated: 15th March 2024

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 eight years.

Here, we will compare Octopus Energy and British Gas to see how they match up against each other and find out if bigger really means better!

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.

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Who is 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, which also owns Bord Gais, an Irish Supplier. British Gas has 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).

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 6.5 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.

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 Energy vs British Gas: Is Octopus Cheaper than British Gas?

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)
  • 2,900 kWh of electricity and 12,000 kWh of gas
  • Postcode in the East Midlands

Let us look at how they compare and see if Octopus Energy is cheaper than British gas or vice versa:

British Gas

On running a quote for British Gas, I was given 3 different tariff options:

Tariff NameTariff DescriptionMonthly Cost
Standard Variable v16Variable tariff. Rates and charges may fluctuate over time within the Ofgem Price Cap£165.02
Price PromiseThis is a 12-month fixed tariff at a rate with an exit fee of £100 per fuel.£143.79
Source

Octopus

The same details were used for an Octopus energy quote. You can see the results below:

Tariff NameTariff DescriptionMonthly Cost
Tracker TariffSmart tariff where prices change daily. No contract. No exit fees.*£92.99
Flexible OctopusFlexible tariff where prices go up and down with the market. No contract.£141.67
Octopus 12M Fixed12-month, fixed rate contract. No exit fees.£138.61
*Using an average rate over previous months for both fuels. Only available to existing customers. Source.

Conclusion: Is Octopus Cheaper than British gas? Yes, Octopus is cheaper than British Gas across each of the tariff options. Its exit fees are lower, too.

If you opt for the Tracker tariff, then Octopus could be over £60 per month cheaper than British Gas.

What’s the difference in tariff options?

Here, we compare the tariffs that Octopus and British Gas offer to new customers to see if Octopus or British gas is better.

British Gas

These are the two tariffs offered by British Gas:

Fixed Energy Tariff

  • A fixed tariff rate for 12 months
  • If energy prices increase, the tariff price stays the same
  • £100 exit fees per fuel
  • Optional sign up for PeakSave, a scheme that rewards customers for mindful energy usage
  • Ofgem caps don’t apply

Standard Variable Tariff

  • Available to customers who pay via direct debit.
  • No end date for the tariff, you can leave with no exit fees
  • Variable tariffs that go up and down
  • Choose to sign up for PeakSave, a scheme that rewards customers for mindful energy usage.
  • Ofgem caps apply

Octopus

At this time, Octopus is offering three tariffs:

Flexible Octopus

– This is a variable rate tariff
– Offers 100% renewable electricity
– No exit fees

Octopus 12M Fixed

– This is a 12-month contract with unit prices and standing charges fixed for that time
– No exit fees
– 100% renewable electricity

Tracker Tariff

– Unit rates change daily
– No exit fees
– Only available with a smart meter
– Not available on signing up – see below for more details
– Unit rate is capped at 100p/kWh for electricity and 30p/kWh for gas (including VAT)
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.

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 states 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 to 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 is responsible for supplying 40% of the solar power generated in the UK and plays 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 has successfully cut its 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 or 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 4.1 out of 5 based on over 188,000 reviews

Octopus score 4.8 out of 5 based on over 246,000 reviews

Both suppliers ask their customers to review their service, both good and bad. Both companies respond to negative reviews in the majority of cases.

On reading a selection of the reviews, British Gas customers frequently complain about the price increases, 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 fare 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.

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 callouts, chat with 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 2.5 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

Octopus have really worked on their apps in the past couple of years. Previously there wasn’t an Android app, this is now available and is rated very favourably.

Their iPhone app is now rated 4.8 out of 5, which is a big increase from the score of 1.6 we saw previously.

The apps allow you to fully manage your account, make payments and watch your energy usage over time. You can also supply meter readings if you don’t have a smart meter.

Conclusion: Octopus is a clear winner here. They provide well-rated apps for both Android and iPhone that allow total management of your account, crucially they seem to have no issues with reliability too.

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 time04:5005:29
Emails responded to within 2 days66.1%61.2%
Opening hours9 am – 5 pm (4 pm on Fridays)9 am – 5 pm
Contact via PhoneYesYes
Contact via EmailYesYes
Contact via WebchatNoYes
Source: Citizen Advice

Both suppliers come out reasonably well when it comes to customer service statistics. Octopus are about 40 seconds quicker to answer the phone, on average, and also respond to a higher percentage of emails within two days.

Both offer comparable opening hours, and British Gas offer a webchat service where Octopus does not.

Conclusion: This one is close, but with better call answering times and slightly more emails responded to within 2 days, Octopus Energy wins this one.

British Gas or Octopus: Who has fewer 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 Q4 for 2023.

We have summarised the data in the table below:

Octopus EnergyBritish Gas
Complaints per 100k customers1,1421,765
Resolved per 100k customers1,0791,686
Resolved the next working day64%47.2%
Resolved in 8 weeks84%87.4%
Sources: Octopus Energy Q4 2023. British Gas Q4 2023
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.

British Gas vs Octopus Energy: 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:

AreaSummaryWinner
Tariff OptionsOn the range of tariffs available, Octopus won the battle due to the range and flexibility in their tariffs.Octopus
PriceWhen it comes to price, Octopus are cheaper across all tariff options. If you opt for their smart tariff, they are even cheaper.Octopus
Green EnergyThe award for the greenest energy supplier goes to Octopus, with being green at the heart of what they do.Octopus
Customer ReviewsOctopus came out on top in the customer review category with more happy customers than British Gas.Octopus
AppWhen we compare their website and apps, Octopus has it with their better functioning and well-reviewed apps.Octopus
Customer ServiceWhen it comes to customer service, due to faster email response times and faster call centre pick-up times, Octopus wins this one.Octopus
ComplaintsIt was close again when it came to customer service. But overall, Octopus received fewer complaints and resolved them quickly.Octopus

Is Octopus Energy better than British Gas?

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

There is just one clear winner: Octopus Energy!

If you’d like to change from British Gas to Octopus, then you can use our Octopus Refer a friend code and get £50 energy credit when you successfully switch.

You can read more about each supplier if you aren’t sure about switching right now in our Octopus Energy review and British Gas review.

Other comparisons

If you are looking a British Gas or Octopus as a potential supplier to switch to, we have some other comparisons you may be interested in:

British Gas

Octopus

Our top rated supplier Octopus Energy is currently offering £50 credit to any new customer that uses our referral link. Click below to see how you can use a referral code

Get an Octopus Referral Code

Rob
Rob

Hi, I'm Rob and I run Energy-Review.co.uk. I initially started this project 5 years ago when I was looking to switch energy suppliers and found there wasn't a website that provided simple, data backed reviews on all the suppliers available. Since then, I spent have a lot of time (too much some may say!) looking at all publicly available data about each supplier and writing reviews using this information. These reviews are updated as regularly as possible and any data is backed up by a source where necessary. I have also started writing guides on various energy related topics which hopefully you will find useful. If you find any issues, please use our contact form to let us know.

2 Comments
  1. Hi Rob: please what is your referral code? I am registering directly with Octopus and I am being asked. Thank you.

  2. 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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