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  • Writer's pictureThe Climate Coach

Octopus Energy

When talking about energy usage, energy tariffs or reviewing your energy supplier - you may have heard about Octopus Energy. Who are they and what are they doing to support climate change?

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Octopus Energy is a UK-based renewable energy supplier and technology company that has gained significant recognition for its innovative approach to combating climate change. Their work is actually quite pivotal in transitioning to a sustainable future by driving renewable energy adoption and promoting energy efficiency - arguably they are doing significantly more than any other supplier in this space at the moment - hence why they are featured here!

OK, but what specifically are they doing?

Renewable Energy Supply: They aren't the only supplier to do this but Octopus Energy sources and supplies only renewable energy to its customers. Read more here for more info on what this actually means in practice. They prioritise clean energy sources like solar - and even offer to install this for you as well as other technologies which help you make the most of renewable energy - for example via heat pumps. They are also attempting to do this at scale - by offering "simple" installs first and more complex installs at a later date (because this aligns more with their focus on reducing emissions as quickly as possible).

Smart Energy Solutions: Octopus Energy leverages advanced technology and smart energy solutions to optimize energy consumption - sounds like marketing but it does make sense. The bit you'll see the most is their speed of rolling out smart meters to customers - but the bit you don't see is all the technology that sits behind it on their side that enables all the clever stuff such as their numerous smart tariffs. More recently they've also offered incentives to customers to use lots of energy for free (yes -you read that right...!), or reducing energy consumption during peak times or even exporting energy (via battery home storage or solar) at certain times of day to help balance the grid. Clever stuff.

Grid Flexibility and Electric Vehicles: Very importantly, Octopus Energy are doing a huge amount to support the integration of electric vehicles (EVs) into our energy system. By encouraging EV owners to charge their vehicles when there is surplus renewable energy available, Octopus Energy helps balance the electricity grid and reduces reliance on fossil fuel-based power stations. One example of this is their "Intelligent" tarriff which lets them take control of when to charge your car based on when the grid is cleanest. You just tell them when you need it ready by - and they will do the rest communicating directly with your car or charger. So if you need 4 hours charging, the grid is fully renewable between 3am - 7am and you need your car ready for 9am - they'll charge it for you between 3am and 7am.

energy pylons carrying electricity with a sunset in the background

What could this mean for the future then?

You can definitely see in the future how this kind of technology can really support the transition to renewable energy. The one downside of renewables is that generation goes up and down rather than being fairly constant via a power station so we need to find ways to utilise it when it's generating and also covering the times when it isn't. If you take the transition to EVs as an example, you can start to see how this technology could come into play. When we have excess renewables on a sunny and windy day, Octopus can use this excess to charge any cars which are plugged in vs a time where we are short of renewables, Octopus could potentially (with permission of course) discharge any cars which are plugged in to help make up the shortfall. The latter isn't a thing yet beyond a few small scale trials but there is definitely plenty of work happening in this space and something along those lines feels like it is needed.

Ok I'm sold...

Well, what are you waiting for? Ultimately this is a very easy low/no cost way to support a company who are doing a lot to support the transition to renewables. Oh and finally, worth saying that no, there is no incentive behind this post. Although if you have a friend on Octopus they run a referral scheme if you sign up using their link.

If you have any thoughts, feedback or ideas you wish to contribute on this or any other topic covered by The Climate Coach - please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.

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Sep 03, 2023

Octopus do not charge me a reduced or free tariff for using off-peak electricity, economy 7, for my two storage heaters. I have not got an electric car and do not have resources to fund one, or anywhere where one could be charged. Octopus do charge me over £100 a year standing charge for gas, which I don't use for 9 months of the year, as the only gas appliance I have is a gas fire. Octopus do charge me a premium tariff because I pay by top up monthly, always in credit, as I cannot set up a direct debit again. Direct debit allows the energy company to take control of your bank account and help themselves to whate…

The Climate Coach
The Climate Coach
Sep 03, 2023
Replying to

Hi, I can't comment on their customer service (which is obviously important) but compared to other providers, they do offer a much broader range of tariffs however many of them do rely on smart meters. They (and many other providers too) offer an economy 7 tariff with a cheaper off peak rate so it may be worth re-visiting the available tariffs. Octopus (and again, most others) allows you to change your direct debit to whatever you want - they provide a recommended figure based on your actual usage and if they think you are paying too much or too little, they will advise you give them a call to discuss. This allows you to pay a flat fee per month…

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