Trailblazer: Octopus Energy's Greg Jackson
Launched in 2016 by CEO Greg Jackson, Octopus Energy Group is an energy pioneer that is focused on delivering green energy to homes in the UK – and now globally, too.
With investment from names such as Origin Energy, Tokyo Gas and CPP Investments, the sustainable investment fund co-chaired by Al Gore, Octopus Energy is leading somewhat of a green energy revolution, with the company now valued at £4 billion.
Jackson isn’t your typical company CEO: in his youth, his first job was making milk rounds in his neighbourhood, he subsequently went on to join Green Peace at the age of 16, and then spent his young adult years as a video game developer.
Jackson eventually started Octopus Energy when he realised that there was a severe lack of affordable energy providers. Growing up with a single mother who struggled to pay electricity bills, Jackson’s overarching goal with Octopus Energy is to ensure that customers are treated fairly and are not burdened by inflated energy bills. In his own words – and as seen on his LinkedIn – Jackson wants to “disrupt industries that underserve customers and society.”
“After experiencing my bills jump frequently when I was paying them myself as an adult, I knew that something had to be done to change this,” Jackson said.
Through his work at Octopus Energy, Jackson has managed to absorb £150mn of the cost increase on behalf of customers since the start of the energy crisis.
Octopus Energy Group works out just how much power customers are taking out of the grid annually from a mix of power sources – such as fossil fuels–- and ensures an equal amount of renewable energy is added into the system in its place over the year, buying energy directly through renewable sources, such as solar and wind farms. This makes electricity consumption effectively net zero and, concomitantly, gradually helps make the energy system greener.
One of Europe's largest investors in renewable power, Octopus Energy Generation manages a total of 300+ UK green energy producers. Although the company currently powers over 1.2 million homes, the goal is to raise this number to 50 million worldwide by 2027.
Speaking on issues surrounding the net-zero goal and how sustainable energy is integral to this effort, Jackson said: “If we’d moved to renewables sooner as a nation, the crisis would be less bad now. We can’t carry on like this; we have to escape from these colossal gas prices of the global markets.”
The founding team of Octopus are mainly from tech backgrounds, as opposed to energy-focused. Consequently, this means that the company is more interested in utilising technology to keep prices fair and push towards a renewable future through the use of a smart grid.
Prioritising customer service
A key factor of Jackson’s strategy, and a personal love of his own, is ensuring a high level of customer satisfaction. Octopus Energy prides itself on providing just this and is the only energy supplier to receive Which?’s highest endorsement for five years in a row.
Jackson personally spends around an hour each day dealing directly with customers to understand how the company can better their experience. He also discusses pricing strategies, trade-offs and how to implement better infrastructure.
A growing global presence
With just a single base in the UK initially, now in 2022, Octopus Energy Group powers homes with green energy in Germany, the USA, Japan, Spain, Italy, France and New Zealand. There are a total of 10 businesses working across 4 continents to tackle energy transformation.
As for the future, Octopus is looking to expand its reach globally, having recently also launched in Australia partnered with Hanwha Group – a leading solar panel manufacturer – expanding the move to greener energy. “Energy companies are going to end up more like technology companies, like AirBnB, Amazon, Google and Monzo,” says Jackson. “They will be global.”