Octopus acquires Engie's 70,000 domestic customers

23 January 2020   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Engie decide to focus on commercial energy supply, transferring domestic customers to Octopus in coming months.

The deal also includes customers from Qwest Energy and Roar Power who are also currently supplied by Engie.

Customers don't need to do anything and will be updated by Octopus as accounts are transferred across to their new energy provider.

This is the latest acquisition by Octopus who have rapidly become a major challenger in the UK energy market.

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Engie exiting

Engie only entered the UK domestic energy market in May 2017, stating at the time they were the biggest entrant into the market for over 15 years.

Their offer included 100% renewable electricity alongside a commitment to roll customers on to the cheapest available tariff at the end of any fixed term plan.

However, Engie's business interest is more focused on commercial energy supply, so it's unsurprising they have decided to sell their domestic customers to another green electricity provider.

For customers of Engie, Qwest and Roar, nothing will change immediately and Octopus have promised to contact all customers directly as and when any changes to their account take place.

Octopus continuing expansion

The 70,000 customers Octopus are acquiring from Engie represent further growth by a energy supplier who has seen their market share rocket over recent years.

From a standing start in 2015, they now have a 3% share of the electricity and gas markets with around 1.35 million customers according to the most recent figures.

This growth was helped by being appointed as Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) by Ofgem when Iresa collapsed in 2018. They gained over 90,000 customers from this move.

In March 2019, they were reported to have around 600,000 customers, and they further improved their standing in the energy market by acquiring Co-op Energy in a white label deal affecting 300,000 customers in late 2019.

Octopus's offer to customers is based around 100% renewable electricity with some tariffs also providing carbon offsetting for gas usage too.

This is combined with a commitment to helping customers prevent heat loss from their homes through the loan of FLIR cameras and integrating with Amazon Alexa to check real time pricing information on their Agile tariff.

Energy sector settling

After many publicised small energy supplier collapses in 2018 and 2019, the UK energy market seems to be entering a period of consolidation.

As well as Octopus acquiring customers from rivals, the move by OVO Energy to acquire SSE and their 3.5 million customers has recently been completed.

This follows the somewhat quieter acquisition of Npower by E.ON in an asset swap between their parent companies which has essentially reduced the so-called Big Six to a Big Five, with OVO replacing SSE in that list and becoming the second largest energy supplier in the UK.

While smaller suppliers are still struggling (Toto Energy collapsed in October after failing to make Renewables Obligation payments), Ofgem intend to introduce reforms to check on existing energy suppliers as they grow.

These reforms would ensure the financial health of suppliers, along with checking their customer service provisions are sufficient to cope with increasing customer numbers.

It follows the introduction of tougher checks on new energy suppliers in June 2019 which were designed to stop unprepared providers entering the market and potentially collapsing soon afterwards.

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