Launched in late 2014, GB Energy was part of the wave of new organisations that came onto the British Energy sector scene over the last decade. They began taking on customers in January 2015. One of their main selling points was how easy it was to switch suppliers and save money.
Who Are GB Energy?
It attempted to bring a fresh approach to business that would keep costs low by running a highly efficient business that would allow it to provide meagre energy costs to its customers. By not taking the marketing route that many of its competitors do where large amounts of money are spent on TV, radio, and other advertising expenditure would be kept at a low rate.
This outcome was also to be more easily achieved through offering a primarily online product that kept overheads to a minimum. Keeping costs low would mean that the company would not need to charge such high prices to its customers to turn a profit. That was the plan, at least.
However, it only took two years for the company to collapse in the end. Of the cluster of companies that fell by the wayside in the UK’s energy sector in the late 2010s, GB energy was effectively the first of all of them.
What Happened to GB Energy?
Luckily, a system in place in the UK means such an event doesn’t just leave all of the collapsing company’s customers in the lurch. When GB Energy announced that they would cease trading, Ofgem said it would be Co-Operative Energy who would become the supplier of last resort and take on GB Energy’s former customers.
Not long after that, Co-operative Energy was bought by Octopus Energy. Co-operative Energy had 30,000 domestic energy customers, and Octopus Energy took on all of them after the acquisition. This included the customers who were supplied by GB Energy as well as Flow Energy.
When this transition occurred, the customers from Flow Energy and GB Energy that were moved across who were on fixed price deals had their tariffs maintained as part of the deal. The moving customers who were not on fixed price deals were instead moved over to the flexible tariffs. The transition also protected and moved any credit balances as part of the taking over customers’ direct debits by Octopus Energy.
Octopus Energy’s acquisition of the Co-operative Energy brand allowed Co-op energy customers to continue billed by Co-op Energy. Customers also continued to get 100% renewable electricity at the same rates as before.
Whereas the electricity supplied by Octopus energy was 100% renewable, GB Energy’s supply was much more of a mixture. 41.4% of their supply was from natural gas, 5.2% from coal, 18.7% from nuclear, 32.8% from renewable and 1.9% from other sources.
Those who still wish to switch to GB Energy will have to switch to Octopus Energy since the former has become the latter. Comparison sites are available that let you compare your current rates to your potential new ones and look at what tariffs are currently available from Octopus Energy.
What Has Changed With GB Energy?
The login process is not what it used to be either. The new account system allows customers to track energy usage, view past and current bills, pay bills, submit meter readings and manage personal details. Another benefit of the switch is that whilst GB Energy didn’t have a mobile app, Octopus Energy does. It has generally received positive reviews online and gives customers the ability to manage their energy accounts anywhere from their phone at any time.
It can be accessed by people with devices on either the Apple or the Android operating system and is free to download from both the App Store and the Google Play Store.
People who used to be GB Energy customers can now submit meter readings to their new energy supplier via the tool provided with their new online account. You can easily submit by uploading your accurate reading for the month after logging in. The process is also straightforward of the mobile phone app. It may be worth looking up how to take meter readings if you’re unsure how. Once you know the process, it is a quick and straightforward process, though.
Those with outstanding complaints with GB Energy may be disappointed to hear that new suppliers are not obliged to handle existing complaints. This means you’re unlikely to find that Octopus Energy is hugely enthusiastic about helping you out with any problems that arose before you officially became their customer. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s not worth asking them, and you may find that you get the outcome you want if you ask them to help you solve a relevant problem.
Ongoing complaints leftover from GB Energy customers will likely need to be dealt with by the Energy Ombudsman. However, new complaints that arose whilst a customer of Octopus Energy should still be handled by Octopus Energy.
Any plans on moving home by former customers of GB Energy should be relayed to the new energy provider. You can use your online account with Octopus Energy to do this, or it is a process that can be completed over the phone or through email if preferred.
It’s important to remember that final meter readings need to be submitted at least three days before you plan on moving house. If you had begun this possessed when the GB Energy company was taken over, then the process should remain unaffected. However, it will be worth double-checking that your new supplier has gathered your details correctly.
GB Energy – To Conclude
Due to the brevity of GB Energy’s existence, we’ll never know if their business model could’ve worked long-term had there not been such intense fluctuations in prices in the UK. The company’s reviews on Trustpilot weren’t as bad as some of its competitors, who fell into disrepair similarly quickly. The 3.9 out of 5 company rating certainly isn’t indicative of a terribly-run organisation. Customer reviews kept coming in on the site until late 2021, even though the company stopped trading in 2016.
We may yet see their model work in the future.
Find out more about prepaid energy meters here.
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