Image credits Octopus Agile London

Just like the rest of the world, the UK energy market has experienced a surge in prices due to various factors including global inflation. However, Octopus Energy has stood out with fair prices lower than those of other providers, with occurrences of absolutely free electricity.

Saving Big with Octopus Energy’s Agile Tariff

Tom Warren, an editor at The Verge, stated that he used electricity for free for a couple of hours a few weekends ago to charge his electric car, cook lunch using his oven, and wash his clothes. He further revealed that he paid less than 8p per kWh to do similar tasks the previous weekend which is significantly less than what other UK residents pay at this time.

And while this might seem like a one-off occurrence, he stated that “On average, I’m currently saving 40 percent on my electricity bills compared to the extortionate capped rate that most people in the UK are forced to pay right now.”

Warren disclosed that he uses Octopus Energy as his energy provider and the provider’s Agile Contract as his tariff. Agile is a beta smart tariff, offering customers electricity prices that change every half an hour, based on the wholesale price of energy.

The Agile tariff works best for users who can change when they use electricity which enables them to enjoy low “off-peak” tariffs and maybe save some money while using the greenest energy possible while easing pressure on the energy grid.

“Outside of daily energy ‘rush hours’ (usually between 4 pm and 7 pm, when everyone’s generally using a lot of power, i.e. dinner time) wholesale energy tends to be a lot cheaper (and greener – a much higher % coming from renewable sources),” Octopus energy explains.

Octopus’ Agile pricing has significantly decreased in 2023 compared to the Energy Price Guarantee subsidy, which the UK government instituted to set a cap on the highest consumer power rates after wholesale prices skyrocketed as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Every day at 4 PM, Octopus Energy publishes its 30-minute pricing to users so that they may identify the ideal times to use their dishwasher, oven, and other electric appliances or even charge an electric vehicle.

Peak rates between 4 pm and 7 pm are typically 34p or 35p per kWh while outside of the peak window, the pricing has consistently averaged at around 20p per kWh in recent months, according to Warren.

Maximum, Average and Minimum pricing for each day of the last 365 days

Therefore, by moving your energy usage beyond the peak window, you can save a ton of money and even if you are unable to, you will still save money because the Agile prices are significantly lower for roughly 20 hours each day than the standard rates.

Currently, the average cost of power among UK providers is about 34p per kWh in addition to a daily service fee of up to 50p. If they’re not on a fixed contract with cheaper rates, the great majority of individuals in the UK today spend more than 30p per kWh although these prices and service costs vary slightly depending on the provider.

Even with the expectation that the cap in the UK will be set in July at 30p per kWh, which is less than the present Energy pricing Guarantee and signals the return of the Ofgem regulator and its own pricing caps, users subscribed to the Agile tariff are still spending significantly less than this price cap.

Compared to what most individuals would spend for the same amount of electricity, Agile subscribers are saving close to 50% on energy.

Getting Paid to Use Electricity

Important to note, Octopus Energy provides a warning that costs on the Agile tariff could rise up to 100p per kWh at any time, which would be a threefold increase over current rates. However, this rarely occurs and in the majority of locations in the UK in 2023, it has not even risen past 40p per kWh.

Additionally, in the event such a spike occurs, users can always instantly switch back to the standard rate, which will be capped by Ofgem’s guarantee.

Interestingly, Octopus Energy notes that there is a chance that users get paid to use electricity. The company states that due to a higher generation of electricity than users consume, the wholesale prices can drop so far beyond the zero point and any users consuming electricity at that time earns from their consumption.

Considering how good a deal the Agile Tariff is, it is no longer guaranteed that a sign-up gets you a contract. Instead, users get informed whether or not they are accepted based on the status of the energy market.

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