Welcome to Octopus Energy US, we’re excited to be here and have you as our customer in our mission to provide the world with greener, cheaper energy while demonstrating superior customer service. While this is our official introduction to you, given the events of last week, we’d like to first address the very recent crisis we’ve faced together here in Texas.
We’ve weathered quite a storm.
Texas experienced a massive grid failure that affected 90 percent of the state, resulting in catastrophic loss, and leaving customers stranded in unbearable conditions: loss of heat in below freezing temperatures and lack of access to water, food and other essentials. As many of our own employees didn’t have heat or water for days, we understand the pain and frustration you feel to our core.
Simultaneously, while the storm was forecasted to be a single-day event, we announced to the world that Evolve Energy is now Octopus Energy US. We’d been waiting for the right time to launch — and we did so one day before the forecasts for the coming week went from somewhat manageable to downright terrifying. As power plants began to drop offline, we stopped everything and immediately began figuring out ways to help our customers get through this. In addition to adopting a one-time Bill Forgiveness Plan for all of our Texas customers, we are also urgently working to initiate a price-cap on any dynamic pricing products to ensure our customers are protected from extreme events in the future.
Why did we do this? Not for profit, not for good publicity, but because we genuinely care. You, our customers, are at the heart of what we do. And as we look to recover from this unprecedented crisis and provide Texas residents support, we hope our customers understand that we did our best.
So now, as we look to recover from an unprecedented week, we ask ourselves: Where do we go from here?
Renewable energy creates grid resiliency
Despite what fossil fuel enthusiasts may tell you, more fossil fuels are not the answer. It’s important to note that fossil-fuel generators are even more susceptible to extremely cold temperatures than renewable generators.
Ultimately, the grid is best served by a diverse mix of advanced energy technologies. Wind, solar, energy efficiency, and energy storage — both distributed and large-scale — strengthen grid resilience and reliability. Unlike fossil-fuel generators which froze across the state of Texas last week, these resources have fewer mechanical parts to freeze or fail if properly weatherized.They also don’t rely on delivered fuels that can freeze or become inaccessible during a crisis.
In fact, if there’s one thing we can count on every day, it’s that somewhere, the sun will be shining and the wind will be blowing. We expect to see increased interest in residential solar panels coupled with battery storage as a result of this event.
Energy innovation is key
As climate change increases the frequency and intensity of extreme weather, events like last week will only become more common, requiring forward-thinking, sustainable solutions rather than a continued “business-as-usual” approach.
Wholesale pricing is key to building a sustainable grid and has the potential to revolutionize energy. Dynamic pricing not only motivates consumers to use clean energy when it is abundant, but it is also essential for allowing more battery storage to come online when it is needed most.
We realize, however, that certain events are unpredictable. Last week we saw energy prices jump incredibly, resulting in massive energy bills for wholesale customers. That’s why we’re working to introduce price caps to protect our customers from system-wide collapse and astronomical energy prices. We want our customers to feel good about choosing wholesale energy and know that they are ultimately protected.
Private companies should not receive government bailouts
There’s been talk of government entities bailing out private energy companies in Texas. But, private companies assume a certain level of responsibility as a willing participant of a free-market system. Because of this, they have to manage their own risks and determine ways to best serve their customers even when things go wrong. Government entities should not be required to rescue private corporations when they’ve miscalculated, especially as for-profit entities. To do so would create a moral hazard — or lack of incentive to guard against risk when one is protected from its consequences — for future events. As we see more extreme weather related events due to climate change, it’s imperative that market players who have the potential to see huge profits should hedge their bets accordingly.
We’re your partner in energy
We understand that energy can feel complicated. It isn’t a physical product that you can touch and feel, and dealing with utilities and legacy providers can be frustrating. But energy is also one of the most essential resources in your daily life, not to mention one of your largest household expenses, especially in the summer and in times of extreme weather. We want to make energy easy for you — on normal days and when times are tough — by providing you with cheaper, greener energy that saves you money, while saving the planet, all with the best customer service around.
If you have any questions or feedback as to how we can make your electricity experience better, I’m always available at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are grateful that you have joined us and look forward to building a cheaper and greener modern energy grid together.
CEO | Octopus Energy US
Photo credit: Jonathan Cutrer