Understanding Octopus Energy's Smart Tariffs: A Comprehensive Guide

As the world shifts towards a more sustainable energy future, Octopus Energy has been at the forefront, offering a range of innovative smart tariffs designed to empower consumers and promote efficient energy usage. These tariffs – Intelligent, Go, Cosy, Flux, Outgoing Fixed, and Outgoing Agile  are tailored to suit diverse consumer needs, offering flexibility, cost savings, and environmentally friendly options.

Please note, you can access these tariffs only if you have a smart meter. If you don’t have one yet, Octopus will install it free of charge.

Electric vehicle tariffs

Intelligent Octopus Go

Intelligent Octopus Go is an adaptive and intuitive tariff designed for households with electric vehicles and smart chargers. You will be given a day price and a cheaper night price so you can charge your electric car up for less. The day rate and standing charge differs slightly in each region, so you will need to contact Octopus to find out what this would be for you. 

This tariff aims to help you benefit from lower prices during off-peak hours, encouraging energy usage when demand is lower and greener energy is more readily available.

How does Intelligent Octopus Go work?

Octopus use smart charging schedules to stop and start your EV charger throughout the night so they can take advantage of fluctuating wholesale costs. As you’re giving Octopus this flexibility, they give you a guaranteed cheaper night rate of 7.5p per kWh between 23:30 and 05:30. Anything you use at your property during these times – not just the car charger – will be charged at the lower price. 

You still have the control and ability to set the parameters for the schedule, like when you want your car charged by and how much. Octopus just do the rest.

Octopus Go

Octopus Go is an alternative tariff to Intelligent Octopus Go which does not require Octopus to connect to your EV car or charger.

You still receive a competitive overnight rate for charging your EV or storage heaters during off-peak hours. The Octopus Go night rate is 9p per kWh between 00:30 and 04:30. 

Therefore if you can go onto Octopus Intelligent, it’s a no brainer. Octopus Go is the next best EV-focused product Octopus Energy offer, but only consider this tariff if your electric vehicle or charger are not compatible with their Intelligent charging system. You can check the compatibility of your system by visiting the Octopus website.

Octopus Go doesn’t have a smart charging schedule, so you need to program your car or charger to turn on when the prices drop at 00:30 am every night.

 

 

Solar panel tariffs

Octopus Outgoing Fixed

Geared towards households or businesses with solar panels, the Outgoing Fixed tariff provides a fixed rate of 15p per kWh for any energy you export back to the grid. This means no matter what time of the day you export, you will be paid this price – it ensures stability and predictability in earnings. 

If you don’t have solar batteries that allow you to control when you export back to the grid, this would likely be the best export tariff for you. However, if you have solar batteries, you might find Outgoing Agile a better option.

Octopus Outgoing Agile

For more dynamic control over exported energy, the Outgoing Agile tariff offers half-hourly rates that fluctuate based on market prices. So if you can generate surplus electricity during the day and store it until a time of the day when demand is high, you will be paid more for it.

You will be given advanced notice of the export prices in each half hourly period so you can plan when to export accordingly. 

This tariff suits those of you seeking to maximise earnings by exporting surplus solar energy during peak-priced periods, potentially capitalising on higher rates and making the most of the renewable technology you have.

Some info on other solar panel tariffs (not specific to Octopus):

Feed-in tariff

The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme was a government initiative designed to offer financial incentives to homeowners installing renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines. There was a focus on paying consumers for what they generated, rather than just what they exported – I can imagine was very lucrative in the early days! Although the scheme stopped completely for new applicants in April 2019, solars panels installed prior to that date will likely still have an active FIT contract. If you have recently moved into a property that has solar panels already installed, it would definitely be worth checking if an existing FIT contract is in place.

Can I have a FIT contract and an Octopus Outgoing tariff at the same time?

Yes! However it does depend on what type of FIT contract you have. If you only receive FIT generation payments, then you can go onto an Octopus Outgoing tariff and be paid for what you don’t use. 

If your FIT contract includes deemed export payments, then you are already being paid by the government for electricity you export. Although it would be nice, it wouldn’t make sense for you to be paid twice for the same thing! Therefore in this instance you would not be eligible for one of Octopus’s Outgoing tariffs. 

 

Smart export guarantee (SEG)

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is a UK government scheme introduced in 2019 as a replacement for the previous Feed-in Tariff scheme. It’s designed to compensate households and businesses for the renewable electricity they export to the grid.

SEG doesn’t have fixed or minimum tariff rates. The only stipulation is that the tariff price should always be above zero. Energy suppliers have the autonomy to determine the export price they offer customers so the price significantly varies depending on which supplier you are with. 

I’ve conducted some online research and visited other energy supplier websites, and found that SEG rates range anywhere from 1p to 15p per kWh. Octopus offer 4.1p per kWh for SEG which does seem low, but they are likely trying to incentivise one of their brand specific export tariffs instead like Outgoing Fixed or Agile which usually pay more. 

I would only recommend going onto SEG with Octopus Energy if it is the only solar panel tariff available to you. 

A heat pump tariff

Octopus Cosy

The Octopus Cosy tariff is specifically designed for households using electric heating systems, such as heat pumps or electric storage heaters. It’s aimed at providing you a balance between comfort and cost savings by offering tailored pricing structures to suit these heating methods.

The tariff aims to make electric heating more cost-effective. It offers different rates for specific periods, allowing you to take advantage of lower-priced electricity during off-peak hours.

While the primary focus is on cost savings and efficient heating, utilising lower-priced electricity during off-peak hours also aligns with environmentally friendly practices. This tariff encourages you to use energy when renewable sources are more prevalent on the grid and helps flatten the overall demand curve.

Similar to other time-of-use tariffs, the Octopus Cosy tariff involves varied pricing throughout the day. It is promoted by Octopus as a three rate tariff, with two ‘cosy’ periods of super cheap rates:

1. A day price – a standard day rate price, set depending on your area.

2. A cosy price – there are two discounted periods for the Octopus Cosy tariff: one between 04:00 – 07:00 and another from 13:00 – 16:00 daily. These periods offer rates that are 40% lower than the Flexible Octopus rate for your area. This is when you would ideally heat your home and use other energy intensive appliances.

3. A peak rate – this is when you want to reduce your electric consumption as much as possible. This is set from 16:00 – 19:00 and priced 60% higher than the Octopus flexible rate applicable in your area.

 

All-in-one EV, solar panel + heat pump tariffs

Octopus Flux

Octopus Flux is an import and export tariff designed to ensure you get the best rates for both consuming and selling your energy. It’s all about flexibility and support, especially during crucial periods for the grid.

Here’s the deal: You get super affordable rates between 02:00 – 05:00 daily, the perfect time to charge up your battery with any extra energy you might need. Then, during peak periods from 16:00 – 19:00, it’s your golden window to discharge surplus energy back to the grid, making the most out of your solar panels. 

Oh, and if you own an electric vehicle, you’re more than welcome to join Octopus Flux too. The super affordable rate means you can charge your car up for less during those off-peak times. 

Remember that Octopus offer EV-specific tariffs like Intelligent and Go, so ensure you thoroughly understand your energy demand and needs before deciding what would suit you best.

Intelligent Octopus Flux

Intelligent Octopus Flux connects with your battery, optimising charging and discharging to save you money and contribute to grid balance. Octopus export stored energy when it’s most profitable for you, ensuring you get the best deal for the solar power you’ve saved up. Their user-friendly app lets you easily track and manage everything happening with your energy. 

There is no off-peak time. During peak hours from 16:00 to 19:00, Octopus assist in discharging surplus energy back to the grid, maximising your benefits. To qualify for Intelligent Octopus Flux, you’ll need solar panels and a GivEnergy battery that is compatible with their Intelligent system. 

According to their website, Intelligent Octopus Flux steps up the savings game, offering Intelligent customers the potential to save over £100 annually compared to Octopus Flux!

Switching to this tariff is simple but does have a few more steps: download the Octopus Energy app, connect your battery, and then Octopus will seamlessly change your import and export tariffs and start optimising for you.

Interested in switching to Octopus?