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Description

OVO Energy is a major energy supplier based in Bristol, England.

It was founded by Stephen Fitzpatrick and began trading energy in September 2009, buying and selling electricity and gas to supply domestic properties throughout the UK. By June 2017 OVO had 680,000 customers, an increase of 10,000 over the previous year, representing a 2.5% domestic market share. In November 2018, OVO Energy acquired one of its largest competitors, Spark Energy. Although at first one of over 15 smaller energy companies competing with the Big Six which dominated the market, in January 2020 OVO completed the acquisition of the retail arm of SSE, becoming itself one of the Big Six and the country's third-largest domestic energy supply company.

History

The company sources energy from various suppliers throughout the UK and from further afield. OVO Energy's headquarters are in Bristol. The company is British-owned and privately backed. OVO Energy has been supplying gas and electricity to domestic customers since 2009, and to business customers since 2013. This sector of the UK economy is dominated by a number of larger companies known as the Big Six.

On 14 February 2019, Mitsubishi Corporation bought a 20 percent stake in OVO, valuing the company at £1bn.

OVO Energy is part of OVO Group, which in turn is a subsidiary of Imagination Industries Ltd, a holding company wholly owned by Stephen Fitzpatrick.

In 2022, OVO Energy was ranked second to last (only behind Utilita) in customer service by Citizens Advice.

Acquisitions

The 2018 acquisition of Spark Energy included a subsidiary, Home Telecom Limited, which specialises in providing telephone and broadband services to tenants of private landlords.

In September 2019, OVO agreed to pay £500 million for SSE Energy Services, the retail business of SSE plc, and the purchase – which included SSE's 8,000 employees and their phone, broadband and heating insurance customers – was completed in January 2020. This made OVO the UK's second-largest energy supply company (after British Gas) with around 5 million customers. OVO stated that the SSE brand would continue for the time being. SSE had earlier intended to merge the business with Innogy's subsidiary Npower, but this was called off in December 2018.

Regulator action

In January 2020, OVO Energy agreed to pay £8.9m into Ofgem's voluntary redress fund, after an investigation by Ofgem found instances of undercharging and overcharging, and inaccurate annual statements sent to more than half a million customers between 2015 and 2018. Head of Ofgem enforcement, Anthony Pygram, said "The supplier did not prioritise putting these issues right whilst its business was expanding."

In March 2021, as part of a wider investigation into price protection failings by energy suppliers, OVO's practices were found to have caused detriment to 240,563 customers totalling over £2m, and the company was required to pay redress of over £2.8m – the highest amount of compensation among the 18 companies investigated.

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