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Thread: Challenger Electricity Supplier - Octopus and their Agile tariff

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    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Default Challenger Electricity Supplier - Octopus and their Agile tariff

    Morning all,

    Has anyone looked into or changed to Octopus as their energy supplier? They are a new supplier but came top of Which? review of the market last year. One of their tariffs is called Agile this has 30 minute pricing slots that follow the wholesale market so overnight if generation is high and consumption is low the cost of electricity could actually be negative (happened 4 times in 2018 and was below 2p / kwh 31 times). A home with lots of automation could probably make use of this for some good savings for things like the washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher.

    The API appears to be fully documented and is based on REST endpoints (https://developer.octopus.energy/doc...#agile-octopus), they also have a IFTTT connector with pre-made connections for Philips Hue, Tado, WeMo, Nest, Sonos

    Paul

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    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    I think I'd prefer to act on pulled data rather than have to send my usage via a 'smart' meter every 30 minutes, so on that basis sounds like a good option. Time of use tariffs are I think one of the main intents of the disingenuous smart meter campaign. All I still see in promotional material is emphasis on how these meters will result in huge reductions in energy consumption, even after results from not unbiased utilities have shown an effect of something like 2% at best. I'd feel more inclined to fit one if the campaign simply came clean about the real intents, oh and after I felt that the meters themselves were beyond the 'minimum viable product' stage. Also, I think that although the nobler aim of TOU tariffs is to improve supply balancing, past experience would suggest that these will likely be utilised to try and obfuscate price comparison. But I doubt we'll have much choice in the end anyway, sigh..

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    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    I can't argue with any of the points you have made Karam. The idea of Smart meters making billing more accurate and homeowners aware of the power they are consuming at any given point is good. However, the way this has been sold to the populous as a huge benefit and the overall implementation is a disaster. Octopus alude to these issues in a couple of blog posts from February and April of this year. The original Smart meters, refered to as SMETS1, are now not so Smart and if you change supplier likely become dumb, only SMETS2 meters count as smart - you couldn't make this up!

    Octopus currently have two tariffs of interest to me as a geek and EV hybrid owner. The Agile tariff which I described in my initial post as following the wholesale price of electricity and the Go tariff. Octopus Go is simpler and is aimed at Electric Vehicel owners, for four hours between 00:30 and 04:30 the cost of electricity is 5p/kwh. They have also partnered with MyEnergi who produce a smart charger, Zappi, so that your car will only charge during this period unless you override the setting becuase you need to charge sooner.

    How this all pans out will be interesting, as you say it will make comparisons harder. In this respect we need to be able to plot our own consumption against mulitple tariffs rather than just the headline peak figure. I also charged to Octopus because they are a challenger, they have a bias towards renewables and they achieved top position from Which? review of energy suppliers.

    Paul

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    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Someone has created a site which connects to the Octopus API to pull both historical data and the upcoming cost of electricity for the next 24 hours (16:00 to 16:00) - https://www.energy-stats.uk/ It would be trivial to pull this data into Cortex using the REST configuration already available.

    The cheapest time to use electricity is without too much surprise early in the morning where the cost is around 3p/KWH, the time you don't want to be using it is in the early evening where it can go over 25p/KWH. I have been invited to participate in a government-backed trial between Octopus & PowerVault (UK Li-Po battery storage supplier) the idea is to supplement my own solar generation with cheap electricity in the early hours and consume during the evening. Already people have come up with a phrase for this which is "charge cheap, use peak" - the benefit to the grid would be a flattening of demand to iron out peaks and troughs. With home automation this could be taken further whereby devices are turned off during peak times and things like dishwashers, washing machines, tumble dryers are set to start in the early hours. It'll be interesting to see how this panes out

    Paul

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    interesting ...

    we already do run our dishwasher in the early hours ... Cortex starts it a few hours after we've gone to bed - ie: a few hours after we tell Cortex we've called it a day, please sort everything to whatever's appropriate - cancel scenes, lights off, MVHR trickle, doors & gates, secure, UFH ... whatever ...

    Chris

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    the point about flattening demand, etc ... noticed recently that in Germany East & West, rather than South, alignment of solar panels is being encouraged, for just that reason ... well, supply & demand ...

    Chris

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    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_j_hunter View Post
    interesting ...

    we already do run our dishwasher in the early hours ... Cortex starts it a few hours after we've gone to bed - ie: a few hours after we tell Cortex we've called it a day, please sort everything to whatever's appropriate - cancel scenes, lights off, MVHR trickle, doors & gates, secure, UFH ... whatever ...

    Chris
    Chris,

    How do you do this with the dishwasher does it have an API? Our dishwasher, if turned off, would restart but not start a cycle, same goes for the washing machine. I've noticed that Bosch now have Home Connect which as well as providing an app has a documented API which could be used with Cortex.

    Paul

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    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Westerly arrays in the Northen hemisphere make so much sense. Our house has Easterly and Westerly aspects to the roof, the biggest area being to the East where I have 12 panels. I soon noticed, not too surprisingly, that we weren't making the most of the electricity we were generating and with negligible FITs export price it was being wasted. Adding a smaller Easterly array last year has made a significant difference as in the summer we can generate around 1KW on a sunny day up until 19:00 rather than 16:00 with just the Easterly, this is the time you need generation most.

    The following is the output of a script I've written to query the wholesale price of electricity updated daily at ~16:00 in essence Octopus Agile uses this pricing plus 2p and a cap of 30p per KWh. As you can see, in this example for 07-08/10/2019, the cost of electricity in the early hours is minuscule reaching a low of 3.70p / KWh the cost in the late afternoon / early evening is huge, rising to a maximum of 25.54p/KWh. With a battery there is nothing stopping you charging at low rates and discharging to the grid at high rates, you will make a small profit if you are on the Octopus Agile Consumption and Export tariffs. Though the profit won't justify the cost of the battery for about 25 years. However, it is an indication of how the grid is going with the increasing number of plug-in electric vehicles. Quite how the average Joe/Josephine on the street is going to work this out is @Karam's point earlier in the thread, but those willing to research and learn may have a significant advantage going forward to reduce their energy bills.

    OctopusTariff.jpg

    Paul
    Last edited by Paul_B; 7th October 2019 at 07:17 PM. Reason: Proof reading correction

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    ours pre-dates things like API on dishwashers - 'though, having said that, many years ago, Siemens did offer appliances with EIB (now KNX) interfaces ...

    would be interesting to see what the API offered / allowed, because that EIB interface was too limited ... temperatures, doors, on & off, etc ...

    we had the top off our dishwasher (Miele) to see what we needed to do ... but experiments showed it remembered where it was after power was cut, and would resume where it left off ... so we just used a DRH module to turn power on & off, and the usual logic objects in Cortex to do that sensibly & conveniently ...

    point being that it's all too easy to get things wrong with a dishwasher - door not closed properly, rotating arms clouting plates, items dislodged, etc ...

    meaning our scheme is to press a button on the wall (QBI, DRB, whatever), dishwasher is powered-up, we set it running & it runs for 20s, allowing us to confirm all's alright, after which dishwasher powered-down, and brought on again at an appropriate time ... the button presses having indicated what we wanted - run immediately, run in twenty minutes (allows us time to go get something we forgot, but ensures it still runs when we fail to come back with whatever it was, having been distracted), run when house becomes unoccupied, run two hours after NighNight, whatever ...

    this is all way beyond what most people imagine when they talk Home Automation ...

    btw, noticed these short videos ...

    http://www.halohaus.com

    how many years ago did Idratek enable the sort of things they talk about ... it was a long long time ago !

    wonder how they implemented the variations of the blinds - the solar following part of it ?

    Chris
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 8th October 2019 at 01:35 PM.

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    good luck with the tariff games ...

    we had a look at solar-PV & batteries recently ... PV efficiencies continue to rise, with a lot of the gains coming from the wiring & management side of things ... we were quite tempted, until we looked at the cost of batteries ... costs are coming down, but they still seem to be well into deal-breaker territory ...

    Chris

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