Ovo aims to halve customers’ carbon footprint by 2030, offer heat pumps to replace gas boilers

Ovo Energy celebrated its tenth anniversary and acquisition of SSE’s domestic customers by announcing plans to drive emissions down to zero in its own operation by 2030 and help its customers halve their carbon footprint over the same period. Launching the plan, founder and group chief executive Stephen Fitzpatrick said achieving the target would cut the UK’s emissions by 21Mt per year – 5% of the total in 2018.

When Ovo takes on SSE’s 5 million customers – the deal has still to pass regulatory tests – it will be the UK’s second largest supplier. It wants to convert customers to ‘members’ who have a long-term relationship with the company and a package of benefits.

Among the offerings is ‘Ovo Beyond’, which provides 100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon neutral gas (15% green gas plus carbon offsets). But Ovo plans to convince its new customers to reduce their emissions by providing them with a detailed dashboard showing which appliances use most energy – and emit most carbon – and offering more efficient appliances paid for via energy bills over several years.

That will include offering heat pumps to replace boilers. Ovo’s SSE acquisition will include the company’s home service business, which will give the company an installer base visiting homes regularly, who can provide energy efficiency advice and offer heat pumps as an alternative to new boilers. Ovo said, “We are convinced that smart electric heating can be delivered at comparable costs to gas heating today and is the most practical route to decarbonising heat”. SSE’s customer base includes a relatively large number in northern Scotland that do not have a mains gas connection.

The company also plans to call on its customers to offer flexibility services to the grid. It noted that the UK’s 1.5 million homes with electric storage heaters could provide 8GW of flexibility and it already has a partnership with manufacturer Dimplex aiming to integrate heating controls with Ovo’s Kaluza energy management platform. An electric vehicle package, with vehicle-to-grid options as well as flexible charging, will also be part of the company’s offering.