Octopus Energy was brought to my attention today from this Wired article written by Simon Hill. They’re a British utility company that provides 100% renewable electricity to their customers. Since you can’t control the flow of electrons once they enter the grid (a wind farm’s electrons will be mixed with a coal plant’s electrons, for example), the company is able to provide this through a combination of buying power directly from green energy producers and through purchasing renewable energy certificates. In other words, if I’m a customer of Octopus, I can say with certainty that 100% of my monthly bill is being spent towards green electricity.
This is not the only thing that makes Octopus so interesting though. Head to their website and you’ll see something that more closely resembles the look of a tech startup; which, to their credit, they kind of are — much of the company’s success in the past seven years since it was founded is due to a proprietary software system called Kraken. It’s essentially a “one-stop shop” platform for managing billing, payments, meter data, customer data, and more. Octopus licenses out the software to other utility companies and now controls roughly 40% of the market share according to their website.
The company’s vision is to help accelerate the world’s transition to 100% renewable power. Particularly in the U.K., where the company is based, Octopus has a portfolio of solutions for homeowners to support this transition. These include installing electric heat pumps, EV chargers, and smart meters. Their Founder & CEO, Greg Jackson, is frequently seen on social media demystifying complex energy & utility topics and answering customer questions. They’re also obviously aware of the fact that most utility companies have awful customer service — their website boasts a 5-star Trustpilot rating and numerous photos of smiling customer service reps (fun fact from the Wired article: if you call customer service and the lines are busy but they have your birth date on file, Octopus will play the No. 1 song from when you were 14 years old. Tell me that isn’t hilarious).