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Intelligent Octopus v OVO Charge Anytime.

On Monday 27th February OVO Energy launched a new Electric Vehicle (EV) tariff called OVO Charge Anytime. I was blissfully unaware until someone on Twitter asked me what I thought of the Ovo Charge Anytime tariff.  It looked like a really interesting EV tariff and at a quick glance very similar to the Intelligent Octopus tariff I am currently on.  So I decided to make a comparison of the two tariffs. Here we go with a comparison of Ovo Charge Anytime versus Intelligent Octopus.

UPDATE: Since comparing the two tariffs back in February Octopus has slashed both its off-peak rate and its day rate. The debate would have been much shorter if this had been the case back then. The only edge now Ovo Charge Anytime has over the Octopus intelligent tariff is you can plug in anytime and get a 10p per kWh charge for your EV. You can’t however use the off-peak rate for the whole house which you can with Intelligent Octopus and the Ovo Ev charging rate is 2.5p per kWh more than the Intelligent Octopus tariff. I’ve kept the review but updated it on 25th June 2023.

From 1st July 2023, the new rates for Octopus Energy will be reduced to 7.5p per kWh off-peak with a day rate of 30.5p per kWh and a standing charge of 52.18p per day. Whilst Ovo Charge Anytime remains at 10p per kWh for EV charging with an almost identical day rate. (They both now base their non-EV charging rate or daytime on the Energy Price Cap.)

What are the similarities between Intelligent Octopus 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 is 7.5p per kWh off-peak and Ovo Charge Anything is 10p per kWh for EV charging. (This works out at around 3p per mile with Ovo and 2.4p per mile with Octopus.)

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 – Head of Zero Carbon Living at Ovo Energy this week. He had read one of my Tweets and wanted to explain the intention behind their new EV tariff. I really appreciated the telephone call.

I will discuss what makes the two EV tariffs different in terms of costs a little further down as the price is similar, they did both charge 10p per kWh hour, BUT how it’s applied is different. (Octopus has now dropped its price to 7.5p per kWh) The price difference is one of the key features that separates these two tariffs and needs some consideration.

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.

Fast forwarding to 2023, 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 total 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 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.

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

@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 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’ll need to try to link both EVs by using multiple emails. 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 10p 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.

On 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 10p per kWh.  However, the 10p 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.

On OVO Charge Anytime you will be charged, as an example, if you are on the standard variable rate of 34p per kWh when you charge your EV but the following month you will be credited the 24p 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.

The 10p per kWh with OVO 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.

Intelligent Octopus 

On the Intelligent Octopus tariff, you simply get charged 7.5p per kWh and the whole house gets the rate every night regardless if you charge your EV.  Plus offers 7.5p per kWh to multiple EVs registered to your home address, you just charge these in the off-peal window.

You can also use Intelligent Octopus 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 intelligent Octopus 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.

OVO Charge Anytime doesn’t add a premium to your daytime rate and now neither does Octopus Energy. From the 1st of July 2023, the day rates for both the Octopus intelligent tariff and Ovo Charge Anytime are both based on the Energy Price Cap.

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 10p per kWh.  Alex, Head of Zero Carbon Living 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 IF you don’t have solar PV or battery storage. (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).

Also if you can’t or don’t want to load shift your home energy to the off-peak night rates, which you could do on the intelligent tariff at 7.5p per kWh, then you will be happy that you won’t pay any more for your energy during the day on Ovo Anytime.

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.

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.)

You won’t pay more during the day for your energy with the Intelligent Octopus Tariff plus by load shifting, you can really bring down the price you per on average per kWh. So you’ll save more on EV charging compared and running your household appliances. 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 you do need to be comfortable using appliances at night.

I much prefer the ethos behind the intelligent Octopus 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 Guarantee On the Octopus Intelligent Tariff?

Now that Octopus has reduced the day rate of the Intelligent tariff this question is no longer a consideration when comparing Ovo Charge Anytime and Intelligent Octopus. However, it does highlight how you can bring down the average you pay per kWh for the whole house each month by charging your EV and load-shifting appliances. This isn’t an option with Ovo Charge Anytime as the discounted rate of 10p per kWh is limited to your EV. (Octopus is 7.5p per kWh)

Just remember this is before you even add in the EV charging at night which will dramatically reduce your average price per kWh even further. I’ve based the load shifting just on household items and not EV charging. You cannot load shift on Ovo Charge Anytime as the EV rate is applied as a discount on your next energy bill. It isn’t a blanket discounted period for EV charging and the whole house.

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

By load shifting just 30% of your household energy to the off-peak window, customers can take advantage of Octopus’ lower off-peak rate and make it the more affordable of the two tariffs. This looks to be the most environmentally friendly choice for the planet too.

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. You may use more or less.

70% x 30.5p per kWh = 169 kWh x 30.5p = £51.55

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

£51.55 peak rate + £5.48 off-peak rate = £57.03

£57.03 % 242kWh (typical monthly electricity use) = 24p per kWh (which is well below 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 Guarantee of 34p 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!!

I don’t have solar PV or battery storage yet but it is important to remember OVO does not integrate with solar PV or battery storage, you can use the Intelligent Octopus tariff to fill your home battery at the 7.5p off-peak rate, dramatically reducing your monthly electricity bill even further!

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)
Dishwasher 2829.7%
Washing Machine
Tumble Dryer (Condensor)

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.

You also have to consider your own electricity needs.  You may use the washing or dishwasher more or less than the average home. As an example, an average dishwasher (condenser) uses 1.8 kWh per cycle if you look at the chart above this would mean the average home uses the dishwasher on average 4 times a week but you might put yours on every night. This would mean your % saving using off-peak would increase. It really does depend on how often you use your appliances.

I have 3 kids and my washing machine and dishwasher are on every night so my percentage of off-peak use is much higher, meaning a higher saving on my energy bill whilst on the Octopus Intelligent tariff.

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 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 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 10p 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 which at the moment is set to come in on 1st April 2023.

I asked Alex, (Head of Zero Carbon Living at Ovo) 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 intelligent Octopus 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 ALWAY been well below 30p per kWh even with the old 40 per kWh day rate. It’s usually 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 average!!

One of my many TikTok videos on load shifting on the Octopus Intelligent 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. (I started it to annoy my youngest daughter and got dragged in, I don’t dance.)

@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 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 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 Octopus Intelligent 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. 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.


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