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Which Octopus Tariff is best for you?

Have you considered switching Octopus tariffs with the seasons? If you have solar panels or a heat pump it may be time to give this question some thought.

These are some questions that come up time and time again when people are considering Octopus Energy smart tariffs. The main focus seems to be finding the right tariff to suit the green tech rather than energy usage and time of year;

  • Which Octopus Tariff is best if I have solar panels?
  • I have a heat pump which Octopus tariff is best?
  • I have just had solar panels and battery storage which tariff is right for me?
  • My home is a power station. I have solar panels, battery storage, a heat pump and an Electric Vehicle which tariff should I consider?

If you are electrifying your home and are looking for the best Octopus Tariff you will there is no one simple answer. It doesn’t really matter what equipment you have be it solar panels, Air Source Heat Pump or an EV. What matters and can help you pick the right Octopus tariff is considering how much electricity you import and export from your home and deciding if your energy needs change throughout the year.

Written by Sarah Chambers


How do you use electricity in your home?

There isn’t always a straightforward best option when considering an Octopus Energy smart tariff BUT there are options that can help you save money if you are prepared to think a little bit outside the box.

Firstly you have to consider how and when you use electricity and most importantly are you prepared to change your usage pattern to save money and become a little greener. You also have to consider the time of year. Lots of very geeky Octopus customers have two tariffs, one for the spring and summer and another for the autumn and winter.  They just switch between the two by sending Octopus a message when they are ready to move from one tariff to another.

I am going to give you a very broad overview of the Octopus tariffs you could consider and why you would consider them at a particular time of year.

Spring and Summer through to early autumn Octopus Energy tariffs. ☀️🏚️

The day rate almost becomes irrelevant to many households that may live almost off-grid in the summer months thanks to their solar panels. What you need to do in the spring and summer is maximise your export rates and get as much as you can to get the payback on your solar panels.

Octopus Flux Tariff – If you export more than you consume then this might be the tariff for you.  It is a simple tariff that has high rewards for exporting excess solar energy to the grid. I think this is a really great tariff to maximise your export rates and earn sunny money. Plus there is now Intelligent Octopus Flux which automates it all for you!

Octopus Agile – If you have more time on your hands and you are going to pay close attention to your energy use then you could consider Octopus Agile. If you have an EV and it is home all day you could charge off your excess solar and still play around with plunge pricing if it happens. (Plunge pricing is when you get paid to use excess electricity on the grid)  You can combine Octopus Agile with any Octopus export tariff so the minimum you can get is 15p per kWh for your excess solar.

Octopus Air Source Heat Pump Tariff in the Summer.

If you own an Air Source Heat Pump then really the summertime isn’t really a worry for electricity use as your heating will be off. More attention will be needed in the winter when you are using electricity rather than gas to heat your home. You can just pick any tariff that gives you the best import rates to meet the rest of your energy needs. The Octopus Tracker Tariff is very attractive at the moment. Today, 2nd July the rate for electricity is around 9p per kWh, which is very low. There is excess solar and wind on the grid so prices have really dropped customers on Octopus Agile are getting paid to use energy!

Octopus EV Charging in the summer.

If you can’t charge your EV off excess solar as it’s not parked at home in the day and you drive a high number of miles or your solar doesn’t last until you get home, assuming you don’t have battery storage then Octopus Intelligent or Octopus Go might be a better option as you’ll be able to get an overnight rate of 7.5p / 9.0p per kWh. You will however be restricted to Octopus Outgoing Lite with an export rate of 8p per kWh on Octopus Go.  So you may want to check if your EV or EV charger is compatible with the Intelligent Octopus tariff as you’ll get a better export if you sign up for this tariff rather than Octopus Go.

Octopus Battery storage tariff in the summer.

If you have both battery storage and solar panels again it depends on how much you consume. Ideally, you’ll be off the grid for the summer and what you consumer you’ll be storing and using to meet your home energy needs.  If you have excess solar and you are exporting then Octopus Flux is the obvious answer for the summer. If however, you need to top up your battery then you just need to do the maths based on how much you export and how much you’ll import. Although I suspect if you have solar PV you won’t need to be considering topping the battery up at all.

Autumn and Winter through to early spring Octopus Energy tariffs.

Now, this is the time of year when you really do need to hustle. However you have chosen to have electricity your home you’ll have more appliances on and you’ll be generating less energy (if you have solar) to power your home.

Again you need to consider how and when you use electricity and most importantly are you prepared to change your usage pattern to save money and help the planet.

Octopus Flux – Now would be a good time to jump ship as your solar generation will not in the majority of cases be meeting your home energy. In the winter you now have to consider your choice of import tariff to save money as in the majority of cases you won’t be exporting to the grid. Instead, you’ll consume what you generate and will be looking to draw more from the grid. This is the time of year when your seasonal switch will really make a difference. (Also look at Intelligent Octopus Flux which is about to launch)

Octopus Agile – If you have time on your hands then you can consider Octopus Agile. You can load shift your energy use to cheaper times of the day and try to reduce the average amount you pay each month for your electricity.

Octopus Air Source Heat Pump Tariff in the Winter.

Now is the time for your heat pump to do its thing and heat your home in the cold winter months.  Your import tariff has to be carefully considered. You will need to consider this alongside any other items that will need to draw large amounts of energy from the grid such as battery storage or an Electric Vehicle. This is where it becomes very obvious that there isn’t just one tariff that covers everyone’s energy needs with a heat pump it depends on so many factors.  The Octopus Cosy tariff, however, is a good place to start.

If you have an EV and battery storage look at Octopus Go or even better the Intelligent Octopus tariff if you have a compatible EV or EV charger. If you can fill your battery and EV at 9.0p or 7.5p per kWh that is going to make a big difference to your overall monthly average price per kWh. It depends again on your energy use and your battery size.

Octopus EV Charging in the winter.

This could be a very short answer as Intelligent Octopus is the clear winner for me. I suspect you won’t be getting a full charge from your solar even if you are parked at home all day and so you have to find the cheapest way to fill that battery. Intelligent Octopus is the cheapest Octopus EV tariff but you do have to have a compatible EV or EV charger. Octopus are constantly adding to the list so hopefully by the winter of 2023 lots more vehicles and EV chargers will be added. I know the Zappi looks like it is close to being added to the list which will please lots of EV owners.

Intelligent Octopus can have its downside if it causes your EV to draw from your home battery instead of from the grid you could feel like screaming in the midst of winter.  I know some customers have had an issue with this and have opted for Octopus Go to avoid it but there can be ways around it. It really is worth considering as you’ll get more for your export and your off-peak rate will cost you less.

Octopus Battery storage tariff in the winter.

This all depends on if you have both an EV and battery storage. It is a no-brainer if you have both, you would just pick one of the Octopus EV tariffs and fill both your EV and home battery at the off-peak rate.

If you don’t have an EV then you just have to work out which is the cheapest import tariff. Economy 7 would be a good option, it is currently around 16p per kWh off-peak. You could also look at Octopus Agile if your battery works with the Octopus smart tariff or if you have time on your hands and can import electricity during the cheapest period of the day.

Seasonal Octopus Tariffs.

The overall message here is that a 12-month fixed isn’t the answer to save or earn money if you are an Octopus customer. You have to consider your home usage and how it changes throughout the year and maximise both the benefits of exporting solar energy and using green energy when it’s abundant on the grid. Switching Octopus tariffs at least twice a year has its benefits and is easy to do.

Octopus Energy tariff exit fees and additional information.

  • Loyal 12 months fixed tariff – £75 per fuel type.
  • Tracker tariff – No exit fee but you may have to wait 2 weeks to switch to another tariff. You also can’t go back onto this tariff for 9 months. (To stop people gaming the system)
  • Agile tariff – No exit fee, you can swap straight away but you can’t go back onto the tariff for 30 days. (To stop people gaming the system)
  • All other tariffs – No exit fee and you can move swap tariffs straight away.

If you have any questions drop me a message or tag me on Twitter.