It will celebrate its 20th birthday next year but Simon Rogerson, co-founder of one of Britain’s fastest growing private companies, says that the financial services group Octopus has its work cut out for years to come. Its bread and butter is investing in small and medium-sized companies but the diverse group has six divisions including Octopus Energy, a rapidly expanding renewable power supplier, as well as a venture capital arm and a healthcare unit that invests in care homes and retirement villages. Octopus picks areas of expansion based on where it believes customers are poorly served. “Financial services and energy are the least two trusted sectors in the world so they’re ripe for disruption,” Mr Rogerson says. The company is making a concerted effort to try to attract more institutions such as pension funds to invest in areas such as venture capital and renewable energy infrastructure. However, there are no plans for Octopus to grow more limbs. “These are giant sectors,” Mr Hulatt says.
Times 20th March 2019 read more »
Green energy supplier Octopus has this week announced a new partnership with Amazon’s Alexa device, which will provide consumers with the chance to take advantage of time of use energy tariffs using voice automation. In what the companies describe as a first of a kind service, consumers will be able to use the Alexa hub to adjust energy usage based on half-hourly price changes offered by Octopus’ recently launched time of use tariff.
Business Green 19th March 2019 read more »
Oil companies want to become power utilities to meet rising demand from electricity in transport and from growing populations. The strategy makes perfect sense but could be risky for regulators and consumers if it results in a new breed of gigantic energy-controlling monopolies. On one hand, watchdogs in developed markets such as the UK should welcome the introduction of relatively new players such as Shell and BP to challenge the Big Six conventional utilities. On the other, electricity markets are politically sensitive and oil majors would make easy targets for politicians keen to look like they are protecting consumers if profits become too inflated. The Labour Party has threatened to nationalise parts of the electricity industry if it gains power in Britain. Meanwhile, regulator Ofgem was forced last year to introduce price caps to reduce household energy costs in response to political pressure. Introducing big oil into the debate could further fan the flames. There is also the question of shareholder value for oil industry leaders to consider. Can Shell and other oil majors afford to lift spending in their embryonic electricity businesses and still maintain adequate levels of expenditure on their conventional oil and gas divisions, which remain the main drivers of profits and investor returns?
Telegraph 19th March 2019 read more »