Intelligent Octopus v OVO Charge Anytime.

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Intelligent Octopus Go v OVO Charge Anytime.

On Monday 27th February 2023 OVO Energy launched a new Electric Vehicle (EV) tariff called OVO Charge Anytime. It was the first real competitor to the Octopus Intelligent Go tariff that offers smart home charging for your EV with a very attractive off-peak rate. So I decided to make a comparison of the two tariffs.  Fast forward a few months and the competition has heated up further as on the 1st November 2023, Ovo slashed their discounted Electric Vehicle charging rate to just 7p per kWh.

Written by Sarah Chambers

Ovo Charge Anytime reduces its EV charging rate to 7p per kWh but is it the best value on the market?

There have been lots of discussions and headlines about this new offer by Ovo. The Ovo rate of 7p per kWh is now the cheapest EV home charging rate in the UK but do the headlines stack up?  If we look under the bonnet is Ovo Charge Anytime really a better deal than the Octopus Intelligent Go tariff?  In reality, it really depends on your individual EV charging and home energy needs.

Today (2nd November 2023) I had a chat with Alex Thwates, Director of EV at Ovo Energy. We spoke earlier in the year when the Ovo Charger Anytime tariff was launched and today we just did a quick catchup to make sure I had all the facts about their recent price reduction.

I will discuss the benefits of both Ovo Charge Anytime and Octopus Intelligent Go but at a glance the key differences are;

  • Octopus Intelligent Go (7.5p per kWh) – 6 hours off-peak every day 11.30 pm to 5.30 am for EV charging and the whole house’s energy needs. The tariff daytime rate has a premium of around 3p above both the Energy Price Cap and the Ovo Charge Anytime cheapest standard rate.
  • Ovo Charge Anytime (7p per kWh) –  There is no off-peak window, you can charge your EV at the discounted rate anytime BUT the discounted rate only covers EV charging. The standard rate can be any of the Ovo tariffs, including their standard variable tariff which is around 3p per kWh cheaper than Octopus Intelligent Go.  (You pay your standard rate for EV charging but then the Anytime EV credit is added the following month to your bill.)

What are the similarities between Intelligent Octopus Go and Ovo Charge Anytime?

The key feature that makes both Electric Vehicle (EV) tariffs stand out in the market is their ability to manage EV charging intelligently.

Managed or Intelligent EV charging, as it’s called, involves the energy supplier taking control of your EV or your EV charger. As a customer, once you have completed a test charge, you can plug in your EV and use the energy suppliers app to indicate when you would like your EV to be charged and to what percentage. Your chosen supplier, such as Ovo Energy or Octopus Energy, will then carry out the charging process, turning your EV charge off and on remotely.

Summariming similarities.

  • Both Ovo and Octopus Energy take control of your EV or your EV charger to remotely charge your EV.
  • Intelligent Octopus Go is 7.5p per kWh off-peak and Ovo Charge Anything is 7p per kWh for EV charging. (This works out at around 2.24p per mile with Ovo and 2.4p per mile with Octopus.)
  • The standard rate on Ovo Charge Anytime variable tariff is around 3p per kWh cheaper than Octopus Intelligent Go.

Both Ovo and Octopus Energy have their own software that makes this technology possible. At the moment the Octopus software seems to have the edge as it is compatible with both battery storage and solar.  If you have either solar PV or battery storage at the moment Ovo can’t offer you this managed tariff. Its software isn’t able to distinguish between energy used from solar PV and energy drawn from the national grid BUT they are working on it!

How do I know this? Well, I was fortunate enough to spend 30 minutes on the telephone with Alex Thwaites – Director of EV in March when the tariff launched and we caught up again today now the price has been dropped to 7p per kWh. I really appreciated Alex keeping me in the loop and answering my questions. He is really passionate about driving down the costs of EV charging and is a real credit to Ovo Energy.

I will discuss what makes the two EV tariffs different in terms of costs a little further down as the price is similar. The lower standard rate combined with the slightly cheaper EV charging rate does make this tariff very attractive.

Why do we need managed or intelligent EV charging, isn’t off-peak good enough?

Off-peak EV charging is similar to the old-fashioned Economy 7 which my mum used to use in the ’70s. It is still going strong today and offers consumers a reduced night rate when there is less demand on the national grid.  An off-peak EV tariff works in the same way as Eco 7.

Heading towards 2024, our energy consumption has increased dramatically compared to the 1970s. In order to make the grid greener with the addition of resources such as electric vehicles (EVs), we need to consider how we can use software-driven tariffs to manage our consumption.

Managed or intelligent tariffs take the responsibility out of the hands of the consumer and allow the supplier to decide when it’s greenest to charge your EV. I would suspect in years to come we will see other items in our home working in the same way.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) forecasts that yearly energy demand will roughly double as we replace gas central heating with heat pumps and buy new electric vehicles rather than petrol or diesel cars.

The new tariff EV tariff that OVO Energy has launched to compete with Octopus Energy’s Intelligent Go tariff is a positive step forward in helping to future-proof the national grid. We need more competition in the energy market to help push forward the change and innovation we need. The additional drop to 7p per kWh by Ovo can only help drive competitive pricing which is great for consumers too.

Quick overview following my telephone conversation with the Head of Zero Carbon Homes, now Director of EV at Ovo Energy. (Well it’s ten minutes but you can fast forward 🤣)

The rates have changed since this video was made in March but it gives a good idea about the difference between the two tariffs.

@sarah_go_green Comparing OVO Anytime EV tariff with @Octopus Energy intelligent tariff. #evtariffs #evhomecharging #ovoenergy ♬ original sound – sarah_go_green

Can I charge more than one EV on either Intelligent Octopus Go or Ovo Charge Anytime tariffs?

Yes, you can.

  • If you have more than one EV then it’s important to remember that on OVO Charge Anytime you can add multiple EVs in the Ovo Charge Anytime App. This forum post might help if you’re struggling with how to achieve this.
  • If you have more than one EV you can link one of the EVs to the intelligent charging and charge the other EV during the off-peak window from 11.30 pm to 5.30 am. You’ll just need to set a timer on the second EV to set up the charge.

Let’s talk price. What’s the difference between Octopus Intelligent Tariff and Ovo Charge Anytime?

Ovo Charge Anytime.

Ovo Charge Anytime offers EV charging for 7p per kWh and Intelligent Octopus charges 7.5p per kWh. You will notice I don’t say they both charge a particular price per kWh for EV charging. This is where the two tariffs start to differ.

Ovo EV tariffOn Ovo Charge Anytime you add the EV charging as a bolt-on to your current Ovo tariff.  I suppose it is similar to adding all-you-can-eat data to your mobile telephone in that respect. Your tariff remains the same but you can charge your EV, as the name suggests, for 7p per kWh.  However, the 7p per kWh isn’t applied at the time of use. You are charged full price for charging your EV and then the credit is applied the following month to your energy bill.

The benefit of Ovo Charge Anytime being a bolt-on means that you can add the 7p per kWh EV charging rate to any of the Ovo tariffs.  If you take the standard variable rate you’ll be paying around 3p per kWh less than the daytime rate on Intelligent Octopus Go, alternatively, you could pay a little more and add it to a fixed energy tariff.

On OVO Charge Anytime you will be charged, as an example, 27p per kWh when you charge your EV but the following month you will be credited the 20p per kWh for EV charging.  Alex from OVO explained that their software will allow them to detect when and how much energy you use to charge your EV.

Home Battery Charging Ovo Charge Anytime.

The 7p per kWh with OVO Charge Anytime only applies to EV charging and cannot be used to charge a home battery or for load-shifting energy in the home. As the name suggests, however,  you can ask for a schedule anytime time both day and night. So if you work shifts you can still get discounted EV charging.

Octopus Intelligent Go

On the Octopus Intelligent Go tariff, you simply get charged 7.5p per kWh and the whole house gets the rate every night regardless of whether you charge your EV or not.  Plus IOG offers 7.5p per kWh to multiple EVs registered to your home address, you simply charge these in the off-peak window.

You can also use Intelligent Octopus Go to fill your home battery and it works with solar PV. Your schedule will appear at around 5 pm or when you plug in after 5 pm and you can’t ask for the EV to be ready before 4 am.

The Octopus Intelligent Go off-peak times are 11.30 pm to 5.30 am every night.  The schedule may include these hours or it may charge outside this window. When the EV charges outside this window you also get the off-peak rate in the whole house!! So the minimum off-peak rate for the whole house is 6 hours every night but it could be more. I often get a schedule that starts from 8 pm onwards depending on how much charge I need and the conditions on the grid.

Here are the rates for South Wales.

  • Octopus Intelligent Go – 30.52p per kWh daytime rate and 7.5p per kWh off-peak. (Minimum 6 hours off-peak)
  • Ovo Charge Anytime – 27.45p per kWh standard rate and 7p per kWh Electric Vehicle charging rate. (This is using the standard variable rate but the Ovo Charge Anytime can be bolted onto any Ovo tariff.)

Don’t forget to look into Octopus Electroverse too. You need to sign up separately for this but it is free of charge to Octopus customers. You’ll get discounts on a variety of public charging networks and just by tapping your Electroverse card the charging fee will be added to your monthly Octopus Energy bill.

Who would benefit from Ovo Charge Anytime over Intelligent Octopus? 

Ovo is very proud that they can offer anyone the opportunity to charge their EV at 7p per kWh.  Alex, Director of EV at Ovo was very passionate when I spoke to him about not excluding anyone from this new tariff. If you work nights and can’t take advantage of off-peak EV charging you will love this tariff!

Ovo Charge Anytime isn’t a stand-alone tariff like Octopus Intelligent Go, it bolts onto your current Ovo tariff to allow for cheap EV charging anytime. So you can be on a fixed or variable tariff for your electricty and still get the 7p per kWh rate.

Ovo would argue that their bolt-on approach to this tariff, with no premium for daytime energy usage, is the way forward. They are passionate that there should be no restrictions to offering cheap EV charging.

I understand their sentiment BUT personally, I worry that putting the consumer first may not be the best solution for the grid. Yes, it’s a plug-and-play all-you-can-eat EV charging tariff that is very simplistic. It does offer scheduling to help charge when it is greenest but if the end-user asks for a charge between 4 pm and 8 pm then they will provide a schedule. Ideal for a taxi driver who wants to go electric but I worry about the end user who doesn’t want to consider the needs of the grid over their own.

I do love Ovo’s commitment to EV drivers and their openness to share their vision for the future. Alex, Director of EV at Ovo really does want to make this accessible for everyone and I applaud that.

Ovo EV tariff v Octopus EV tariff

Who would benefit from Intelligent Octopus over Ovo Charge Anytime?

Simply those who can charge their EV off-peak and load shift their energy use to the off-peak window or households which have both an EV and Solar PV or battery storage. (If you have solar PV and battery storage also look at Octopus Flux which is a great idea for the summer months.)

By load shifting on Intelligent Octopus Go, you can really bring down the price you per on average per kWh.  You’ll save on EV charging and running your household appliances on the Octopus Intelligent Go tariff but you need to be prepared to do this usually at night or when there is an abundance of green energy on the grid.

I have 3 kids who are home all day as we home-educate and I manage to get my energy use to a staggering cheap average per kWh each month BUT to do this  I run appliances at night.

I much prefer the ethos behind the intelligent Octopus Go tariff. Apart from Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariffs up until the launch of EV tariffs customers didn’t really think of load-shifting their energy.  Yes, both these tariffs offer managed to charge BUT the end user can in effect override this by putting in a narrow window asking for a charge during peak times or anytime on the OVO anytime tariff.

How much energy do you need to load shift to bring your average daytime rate below the Energy Price Cap On the Octopus Intelligent Go Tariff?

Octopus Intelligent Go charges more than the Energy Price Cap for the standard energy rate. On Octopus Intelligent Go about a 3p premium is added to the day rate per kWh.

Putting EV charging aside and just looking at your home energy use, how much electricty will you have to use to bring the day rate down to the same as the day rate on the Energy Price Cap? If you load shift just 30% of your home energy use to the off-peak window on Intelligent Octopus Go you’ll bring your average down to roughly the same as the Energy Price Cap. This is before adding in EV charging.

Here are examples of appliances you could load shift to a cheaper overnight rate.

The table below is based on Which? energy consumption estimates. Lots of appliances have timers or you can add a smart plug to easily time them to come on during an off-peak window. You just need to make sure your appliance is in good working order and you service it regularly. It’s about personal choice and how comfortable you are using appliances at night.

Appliances.kWh per year.This is based on typical use.
You may use more or less.
Washing Machine2267.8%
Tumble Dryer (Condensor)50017.2%
Tumble Dryer
(Heat pump)
2006.9%
Dishwasher 2829.7%
Washing Machine
Tumble Dryer (Condensor)
Dishwasher
34.7%

You cannot load shift on Ovo Charge Anytime but you can bolt the Charge Anytime rate onto their standard variable tariff which is already the same as the Energy Price Cap.  Ovo Charge Anytime just covers EV charging.  This becomes a bigger issue if you have home battery storage and need a cheap off-peak rate to fill it during the winter months.

Loadshifting on Octopus Intelligent tariff v Ovo Charge Anytime flat rate.

I calculated this by taking the typical yearly electricity consumption, 2,900 kWh and dividing it by 12.

The monthly typical electricity use is 242 kWh without EV charging. You may use more or less in your home.

70% x 30.5p per kWh = 169 kWh x 30.52p = £59.49

30% x 7.5p per kWh = 73 kWh x 7.5p = £5.48

£51.55 peak rate + £5.48 off-peak rate = £64.97

£64.97 % 242kWh (typical monthly electricity use) = 27p per kWh (which is the same as the Energy Price Cap.)

On your Octopus Energy bill, you’ll get the breakdown each month of your peak electricity use, your off-peak electricity use and your average price per kWh. So it’s really easy to understand if you are load-shifting enough to beat the Energy Price Cap rate of 27p per kWh.

Here is my electricity bill for March 2023 on the Octopus Intelligent tariff. My average was 20.31p per kWh BUT this was based on a day rate of 40p per kWh so now it would be even lower!!

Considering your own electricity needs and the percentage you can load-shift to off-peak.

You just have to remember these are average energy use figures. If you have a newer appliance it may use less or if you have an older appliance it may use more. If you want to get really geeky a power monitor plug will be able to tell you exactly how much energy each appliance uses per cycle.

Another tariff also worth considering at the moment is the Octopus Tracker Tariff. It may work out even cheaper than either Ovo Charge Anytime or Octopus Intelligent Octopus Go. It’s not an EV tariff but if you have low mileage and don’t use a lot of electricty the current day rate on the Octopus Tracker Tariff may be less than your average price per kWh after EV charging rates have been applied.

Charging your Home Battery off-peak with Octopus Intelligent Go.

In October 2023 I had solar panels and battery storage installed.  I have a 13.5 kWh home battery which I can also charge during the Intelligent Octopus Go off-peak window. The plan will be over the winter months to charge my EV and my home battery on Intelligent Octopus Go. I can then run the house from the home battery when there is limited solar.

Sadly OVO Charge Anytime I don’t think integrates with solar PV or battery storage, but I would watch this space! Ovo is very competitive and maybe they will take the lead and allow customers to do this in the future. (If you have an Indra Pro Smart Charger and solar then the Anytime tariff will work for you, that’s the only exception at the moment.)

Low carbon technology 

It’s a debate that making EV charging cheaper for everyone is a good idea but it is open to laziness and abuse, just asking for a charge that suits your preference. On the flip side, it encourages more people to consider an EV, if they had thought they would be excluded from cheap EV charging as they work shifts.

You may find this Octopus blog post interesting on demand v intelligent energy use. The full title is demand side response (DSR) to intelligent demand. It sounded less scary my way 🙂

Quote from Octopus terms of use;

The Intelligent Octopus tariff is for customers with low-carbon technology at home, including electric vehicle home charging, heat pumps or home batteries. Any electricity used by low-carbon technology as well as any other electricity used in your home during off-peak hours will be charged at the night rate.

Can I skip the scheduling and just charge my EV on Ovo Charge Anytime and Intelligent Octopus?

Both tariffs offer a boost function where you can charge instantly.

  • Yes, if you just want to skip waiting for a schedule or you don’t want to use the intelligent scheduling you can do your own thing between 11.30 pm and 5.30 am on the Octopus intelligent Go tariff. Toggle smart charging off and use the timer on your EV charger or EV. You just need to ask for at least one intelligent charge a month to comply with the tariff terms.
  • If you charge outside the off-peak window on Intelligent Octopus Go you’ll pay the peak daytime rate. You just click “bump charge” in the Octopus app or toggle off smart charging.
  • If you don’t want to schedule on the Ovo Anytime tariff you can also simply charge at your standard rate, however, I have talked with Ovo and there’s little point doing this as you can ask for a charge schedule any time of day or night and the end user sets the parameters. If you opt for a schedule NOW with an end time and percentage charge that would require an immediate charge you would get it at 7p per kWh.

The software that makes Intelligent Octopus and Ovo Charge Anytime possible.

Both Ovo and Octopus pushing boundaries with these tariffs. It’s all thanks to Kraken software with Octopus and Kaluza with Ovo Energy.

When comparing these managed tariffs, I would say one seems more advanced than the other.  The Kraken software looks like it covers more bases BUT Alex from Ovo pointed out that they brought the Charge Anytime tariff to market early because they wanted to announce it the same day as the Energy Price Rise increase was set to come in on 1st April 2023 just after the Ovo Anytime tariff was launched.

I asked Alex, (Director of EV) if Ovo Energy had any intention of making the API open source, and he told me that it’s still in the discussion phase at Ovo Energy. The compatibility will solar is also a work in progress and he hopes to have some updates within the next month. (I will update the blog post if any new features develop).

If you are geeky and are reading this the Octopus Energy API is open-source. You can also integrate the Intelligent Octopus tariff with Home Assistant.

Thinking of the environment these particular parts of the terms stand out when comparing Ovo Charge Anytime to Octopus Intelligent.

Ovo Energy terms state;

  • Our smart tech aims to charge your car when the grid has more renewable energy in it, within the time you’ve set. Meaning it’s less likely your EV will be charged by energy from fossil fuels.

Octopus Energy terms state;

  • You can specify the ready-by time between 4:00 and 11:00 am. We work out how long it will take to reach that level and then schedule the exact hours when the vehicle will charge across all of the hours you’re plugged in. This enables us to help you make the most of low prices on the grid or times of high renewables output, or help stabilise local or national energy grids when they’re under pressure. 

To be fair to both companies they both offer something different to EV drivers. We all have different lives and needs which makes a new EV tariff a very positive step forward for consumers. In some instances, you may also have the luxury of having different priorities as you have access to lots of low-carbon tech or you may be away from home at night and have struggled to find cheap EV charging. Between these two tariffs, they cover most EV drivers’ home charging needs.

A quick personal tip about load shifting

Before I switched to my first-time-of-use tariff I attempted to shift my energy consumption around for a couple of weeks first. It was surprising how quickly both myself and the kids got into the habit of programming the washing machine and dishwasher to come on at night. Now I am slightly obsessed and try to use my immersion rather than gas to heat my hot water too.

I save a lot of money by doing this and it is better for the planet! You’ll have electricity you can’t shift like cooking lunch and tea, plus your fridge and fridge freezer but just making an effort can make a massive difference!

If you opt for the Octopus Intelligent Go tariff on your monthly bill it will show you very clearly your daytime and off-peak use PLUS the average price you pay per kWh. It’s the price I glance at each month and cheer!

Since I’ve been on the intelligent tariff it’s my average rate has usually been more towards 20p per kWh depending on if we have had friends or family staying. Even with 4 kids and 3 adults all coming home with wet towels from swimming in the summer and cooking large meals at peak times we surprisingly never went anywhere near the 30p per kWh daytime rate!!

One of my many TikTok videos on load shifting on the Octopus Intelligent Go Tariff.

This TikTok shows how you can get carried away when you get extra slots on the intelligent tariff. 🤣  Six hours is the minimum off-peak window. You can get more depending on when Octopus schedule your EV to charge. If the EV is charging the whole house get’s it too. So if Octopus think it’s greener outside the off-peak window or your EV needs more than 6 hours of charging you will get the extra time slots.

You find more of my videos where I load shifts and review my Octopus energy bill over on TikTok.

@sarah_go_green If you have an #electricvehicle you can #savemoney on #energybills by getting cheap off-peak electricity while charging. Its a great #octopus ♬ original sound – sarah_go_green

What do you need to sign up for a managed EV tariff?

For both Intelligent Octopus Go and Ovo Charge Anytime you will need;

  • A smart meter that can send half-hourly readings.
  • Either an EV or EV charger that’s on their compatibility list.
  • A smart device, such as a tablet or smartphone. (To download their app)

You can read a full review of the Octopus Intelligent Go tariff in my previous blog post.  You can also read more about Ovo Charger Anytime on the Ovo Website.

Customer service Ovo Energy v Octopus Energy.

I won’t labour the point about the differences in customer service. Octopus has won the Which? Energy Supplier of the year for the last 6 years. Ovo Energy came 7th this year. It just depends on how important customer service is to you.

Ovo Energy v Octopus Energy customer service

How balanced is my review of Intelligent v Ovo Charge Anytime?

As my website name suggests if you choose to switch to the Octopus Intelligent Go tariff we both share £100 and from my bio, you can tell I am an Octopus Fan girl so how balanced can my review be? Well, I simply love the idea of protecting the planet for my kids more than anything else. I really try to make blog posts to help people save money and make sense of tariffs. There is no point in me recommending one tariff or firm over the other if the costs may turn someone off going green and driving electric. We all benefit from less CO2 and pollution. That’s why I was really excited to talk to Alex from Ovo Energy.

Thanks to Alex at Ovo Energy.

Many thanks to Alex at Ovo Energy for spending time explaining the tariff again. I think it’s a tariff that stands out from many other competitors. It uses software to try and help the grid and it is evolving with our growing needs. We need more competition in this field and Ovo have stepped up. Many thanks, Alex it was a pleasure talking to you.

Updated 2nd November 2023