Last updated: 18th November 2023
Shell Energy vs Octopus, two of the best-known UK suppliers. Shell is one of the largest energy suppliers outside of the Big Six.
Octopus, by comparison, has been around for six years and have only grown in popularity during that time.
Here we put them head-to-head in the areas that matter most to consumers to see which could be the best supplier for you.
Who are Shell Energy?
Shell Energy purchased Utility Point and its 700,000 customers back in 2018. Following that, they bought Hudson Energy Supply, the parent company of Green Star Energy, in 2019, which took their customer numbers close to one million.
Shell offers their customers 100% renewable electricity and fuel discounts.
In addition, Shell has taken on customers from Green. Energy and Usio Energy when they ceased trading. They currently have around 1.4million energy customers.
Who are Octopus Energy?
Octopus Energy has been around for just eight years. In that time, they have built a loyal customer base of over 5 million customers.
They state they offer great value for the long term and aim to make energy straightforward for their customers.
They have recently taken on customers of the following suppliers who have recently stopped trading such as Bulb and Avro Energy.
Octopus vs Shell Energy: What’s the difference in price?
With the Energy Price Guarantee currently being in effect, most suppliers are offering a similar price to new customers. Octopus do however offer a 4% discount on their standing charge, which may make them slightly cheaper.
We compared energy quotes from both suppliers using the details below:
- Dual Fuel supply
- Standard/Smart 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:
Shell offered us a choice of two tariffs:
Flexible 6 Direct Debit Ebill costing £107 per month, estimated to be £1283 per year. Which offers no fixed contract and what Shell state as flexible rates.
Go Further December 2023 plus Shop Vouch Direct Debit ebill. This is a fixed rate tariff until 2023 and costs £146 per month or £1757 per year.
We used the same parameters to obtain a quotation from Octopus energy. Again, we were offered a choice of two tariffs:
The cheapest tariff offered was Octopus Fixed at £144.47 per month or £1733.64 a year.
Octopus also offered their Super green Octopus costing £146.99 per month, or £1763.88 for a year.
Shell wins on Value for Money.
Octopus vs Shell Energy: What’s the difference in tariff options?
Shell offered us two tariffs, let’s compare them quickly:
Flexible 6 Direct Debit Ebill is a flexible rate tariff with no fixed contract. These flexible rates are subject to the Ofgem price cap, meaning they can rise and fall at any time.
In addition, on this tariff, 100% of your electricity will be supplied from renewable resources. There are no early exit fees should you want to change supplier or tariff. Customers can also benefit from rewards from Shell Go+, and they offer discounts on Broadband.
Shell’s second tariff offering is Go Further December 2023. This is a fixed rate tariff when rates are fixed until December 2023. If you want to exit the contract early, there is an early exit fee of £75 per fuel (£150 combined). Customers on this tariff will also get 100% renewable electricity, carbon credits for electricity and gas, and money off the smart tech in the Shell Energy Shop. In addition, you will have price rise protection until December 2023.
They are currently offering two tariffs based on the details above:
Their most popular tariff, Octopus Fixed. As the name suggests it’s a fixed-rate tariff that runs for two years, meaning your rates are locked in for that period. If you decide to switch suppliers earlier than this there are no early exit fees for changing. Which is something quite unique on fixed-price tariffs. With Octopus fixed, 100% of the electricity supplied to your home comes from renewable sources.
Super Green Octopus
Octopus Energy’s greenest tariff is Supergreen Octopus. Just like with Octopus Fixed, your rates are locked in for two years when you sign up, and if you choose to change tariff early for any reason, there are no early exit fees. Octopus Green customers will also benefit from 100% renewable electricity. In addition, all the gas used by Supergreen customers is offset, making your home carbon-neutral.
Shell also offers a fixed and variable rate tariff. However, if you want the security of locking in your unit rates on their fixed tariff, you’ll also have to pay a hefty penalty if you choose to leave earlier. Shell also offers customers fuel discounts and money off smart technology which could be an incentive to switch.
Octopus wins here with its fair prices that secure customer rates and don’t penalise customers who want to change suppliers in the future.
Octopus vs Shell Energy: Who offers the greenest energy?
Both Shell and Octopus Energy market themselves as green suppliers, but what does that actually mean? Is one greener than the other?
We compared them to find out:
Shell offers 100% renewable as standard across all tariffs. Their electricity is certified by Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin or REGO for short.
For Shell customers, that means the electricity they buy from them is matched with the same number of units from 100% renewable energy generators across the UK.
Currently, Shell Energy do not invest in the production of green gas.
Octopus is one of the energy suppliers that has led the way in supplying greener energy to our homes. 100% of the power the Octopus Group generates is from renewable sources. Renewable electricity is standard on all tariffs they offer.
In addition, Octopus Energy supplies 40% of the UK’s solar energy. They are also contributing to the development of new renewable energy solutions to replace fossil fuels.
Octopus vs Shell Energy: Who has better customer reviews?
To compare customer reviews, we consulted Trustpilot to see how Shell Energy and Octopus customers rate their experience with them. Both companies have 10,000s of customer reviews.
Here is what we found:
- Shell Energy scored 4.4 out of 5 based on over 72,000 reviews
- Octopus scored 4.8 out of 5 based on over 197,000 reviews
From checking their stats, 56% of Shell Energy’s customers rate them as excellent, compared to 89% of Octopus Energy’s customers. 15% of Shell’s customers rate them as bad compared to just 3% of Octopus’s customers giving the same reason.
From reading some of the reviews, it seems that their customers are generally not dissatisfied in both cases. However, we have noted that Shell receives frequent complaints about how hard it is to speak to a customer service team member. For fairness, there seem to be several negative reviews relating to their broadband service, which is not something we are looking at today.
Octopus Energy customers frequently praise the quick and efficient service they have received, stating that they are easy to deal with and their communications are always clear. Shells customers note they receive a better service using the online chat and Facebook contact functions than calling customer services. When Shell customers do speak to an advisor, they are usually happy with the outcome.
Octopus vs Shell Energy: Who has the better website and app?
Both Shell and Octopus Energy customers can manage and access their accounts online. The websites are clean and easy to use. You can view your bills, tariff and contact the supplier easily. In addition, Shell has a webchat function that seems popular with its customers. However, when it comes to websites, they appear to be evenly matched.
When it comes to apps they are also pretty close. Both suppliers offer an app for their customers to manage their accounts and view their bills and usage online. On the app store, Shell’s app scores an impressive 4.4 out of 5 from over 30,000 reviews. Octopus’s app scores a slightly better 4.8 from over 75,000 reviews. It’s clear that both suppliers have built apps that provide what their customers want.
Octopus vs Shell Energy: Who has the better customer service?
We use Citizens Advice for an unbiased customer service comparison for energy suppliers. They have details of how suppliers perform in the areas that matter, such as call wait time, complaint resolution time, and contact their supplier via different methods.
This table gives a summary of how both suppliers compare:
|Average call centre wait time||03:44||00:37|
|Emails responded to with 2 days||56.8%||93.7%|
|% customers with an accurate bill||97.8%||97.3%|
|Switches completed < 15 days||98.1%||100%|
|Opening hours||9 am – 5 pm (4 pm Friday)||8 am – 6.30 pm (9 am – 4 pm Saturday)|
|Contact via Phone||Yes||Yes|
|Contact via Email||Yes||Yes|
|Contact via Webchat||No||Yes|
According to Citizens Advice, both suppliers offer a good level of customer service. If you call Octopus, your call will be answered nearly 3 minutes later than with Shell, on average. With Shell, you are much more likely to receive a reply to an email within two days.
Both companies have regular opening hours. Shells customers can contact them up to 6.30 pm during the week, which may be more convenient for some customers.
Octopus Energy vs Shell: 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 2022.
We have summarised the data in the below table:
|Octopus Energy||Shell Energy|
|Complaints per 100,000 customers||1,126||1,179|
|Resolved next working day||71%||43%|
|Resolved in 8 weeks||90%||88%|
Octopus vs Shell Energy: What are the main differences between the two?
These are two well-known suppliers who supply millions of customers across the UK. They both offer different tariff options and have invested in green energy generation. We put them head-to-head in a variety of categories to give you a fair comparison of how they perform, and here is a recap of how they did:
- In the price category, both are currently very evenly matched. This one is a tie.
- Octopus won due to their fair fixed tariffs with no early exit fees when it comes to tariff choices.
- Both Shell and Octopus are environmentally friendly suppliers and support green energy. However, as Octopus generates their own green electricity and supports green gas generation, they win here.
- When we compared customer reviews, Octopus came out miles ahead.
- Both Octopus and Shell offer good web and app-based management for customers’ accounts. Octopus has better reviews on the App Store, however, so wins here.
- When it comes to customer service, Shell wins this one due to lower call centre times and faster email responses.
- Octopus received slightly fewer complaints per 100k customers but resolved them much faster than Shell, making them the winners again.
Is Octopus Energy better than Shell Energy?
The results are 5-1 to Octopus Energy proving they are one of the UK’s all-around best energy providers. While Shell took the lead in some categories, they have some work to do, especially regarding complaints and customer reviews.