Our fixed tariff with Octopus recently ended, and having an EV meant we were best to start exploring other smart charging tariffs.
What are smart charging tariffs?
Smart charging tariffs are an evolution of the existing “off peak” tariffs (such as Ocotopus Go) offered since 2018 when EV’s become common place in the market. Originally, this allowed you to get cheaper electricity during the night, allowing you charge your EV at a lower rate (often around 1/3 of the cost of the day time rate). This rate also applied to the entire house during this period, similar to the traditional “economy 7” meters.
Smart or Intelligent EV tariffs take this one step further, not only giving you a cheaper rate at night (and in Octopus’s case, a longer time period and cheaper rate), but they also intelligently schedule your EV charging to take into account drops in the cost of electricity during the day.
For instance, if you plug your car during the day, this could mean you see it charge in the afternoon, giving you the cheaper rate for your entire household during this period.
Who offers smart charging tariffs?
Smart charging tariffs are nothing new, and all providers in the UK offer them;
|Provider||Off Peak Charging Tariff||Smart Charging Tariff|
|Octopus||Octopus Go||Intelligent Octopus|
|British Gas||EV Tariff||N/A|
|OVO Energy||N/A||Charge Anytime|
|EDF Energy||GoElectric Overnight||N/A|
|Scottish Power||EV Saver||N/A|
What other options are available?
If you have an EV there is little to loose from moving to one of these tariffs, however, if you don’t meet the requirements you can still switch to a non-intelligent, off peak tariff. These provide cheap off peak charging overnight (usually from 00:30 to 04:30) similar to an older economy 7 meter.
These tariffs tend to provide an off peak rate that is ~2p more per kWh than the intelligent tariffs, but can provide a useful alternative if you don’t own the compatible equipment (although you will still need a smart meter).
Challenges with existing Home Assistant setups
These tariffs are so new much of the surrounding infrastructure has yet to keep up. You’ll find your in home display (IHD) won’t display an accurate cost, and by default if you’ve followed our SMETS2 and Home Assistant setup guide you’ll have the same problem.
You’ll have this problem with variable rate tariff and smart meter.
What are the requirements to use a smart charging tariff?
Moving to an intelligent tariff is not trivial, you need to make sure you have the right equipment for you energy supplier to control your charge. This means
- A Smart Meter – This is needed to ensure the latest readings are sent to your energy supplier.
- A Compatible Car or Charger – At the moment these are limited to chargers or cars that can be controlled over API (Namely the ID3, Tesla and Ohme chargers, although others are being supported all the time).
So you’ve picked a Smart EV charging tariff, whats next? We’ll cover these in our next article, but if you can’t wait we suggest exploring…
- Finding ways to optimise your charging for cheaper house electricity usage
- Adding your Smart Tariff to your Home Assistant install for better tracking