Common questions about Saving Sessions

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Saving Sessions is the start of a new era in energy, where people get rewarded for the energy they don't use at the busiest times of day.

Get the answers to all of your burning questions below.

Skip to FAQs about...

🎟Signing up and getting started

🧑‍🏫 Rules of play

🏆 Understanding your results

💸 Rewards

🤔 Why am I not eligible for Saving Sessions?

📲 Saving Session notifications

How do I set up app notifications?

😲 How to I set up alerts for Surprise Sessions?

Including Saving Sessions WhatsApp and social media.

🔍 I have the app – why am I not getting notifications?



Getting started

How can I sign up?

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You’ll automatically be signed up to Saving Sessions if you join Octoplus. To be eligible for each Saving Session, we’ll need to have received 80% of your last 15 days of smart meter readings.

If you don’t have a working smart meter yet, read our FAQ about getting one below.

How do I opt in?

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  1. Tap 'Octoplus' in your Octopus app or online account
  2. Tap 'Opt in now' on the Saving Sessions banner

Am I eligible to take part?

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Any Octopus customer with an electricity smart meter and paying with a Direct Debit can sign up to Octoplus.

To also be eligible for Saving Sessions, we need to be getting regular half-hourly readings from your meter – specifically, we need to have received 80% of readings in the last 15 days.

We need this reliable connection to your meter so we can see how much you save each Session, and measure that against what you’ve typically used in the past.

Is this for electricity or gas (or both)?

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Saving Sessions is just for electricity.



Smart meters

Can I join Saving Sessions if my in-home display screen doesn't work?

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Yes! As long as your smart meter itself is working, you can join. Your smart meter is the unit attached to the wall, usually in a cupboard under the stairs.

The in-home display is different to your smart meter – it's the little screen that's usually plugged in and sits on a bench somewhere in the house showing your energy usage info.

You can join Saving Sessions even if your screen doesn't work, or you don't have one.

Why do I have to have a working smart meter to join?

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You’ll need a working electric smart meter so we can verify how much energy you’ve managed to save.

If you haven't got one, you can request one on our website.

We can generally install a smart meter in a few weeks (depending on engineer availability) but we can't absolutely guarantee it. Smart meters work great in most homes, but there are some areas where signal doesn't reach, and some types of homes where they'll have trouble connecting.

Saving Sessions sign-ups will be open throughout winter, so once your smart meter has been installed and we have received a couple of weeks of data, you should be eligible to take part.

How do I get a smart meter?

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Just request one on our website and we'll email you when we have appointments free.

Saving Sessions sign-ups will be open throughout Winter, so once your smart meter has been installed and we have received a couple of weeks of data, you’ll be able to take part.

We're installing around 40,000 smart meters a month, and can generally install one for you within a few weeks. But it depends on engineer availability, and a few other factors, so we can't absolutely guarantee when it'll happen.

Smart meters work great in most homes, but there are some areas where signal doesn't reach just yet, and some types of homes where smart meters can have trouble connecting.

What if you can’t take a reading from my meter during a Session?

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Very occasionally, external issues like data outages or connection interruptions mean we might not be able to retrieve readings from your smart meter during a Session you opted into.

If that happens, we won’t know how much you saved. Instead, we'll credit you the average number of redeemable points that other customers received for that Session, based on the assumption you got involved and saved power.

If we stop getting regular meter readings from your smart meter, that might mean you're not eligible for Saving Sessions anymore (we need 80% of all half-hourly readings for the last 15 days for you to be eligible). You won't be able to opt in and earn money in Sessions anymore.

What if my meter stops connecting altogether?

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If you sign up to Saving Sessions and then part way through the winter your smart meter stops connecting, please get in touch with us and we'll do all we can to get it working again.

Though rare, some problems can be very tricky to fix – we're dependent on a whole host of third party government-mandated systems to make smart meters work, so sometimes it's outside of our control. We'll do our best to keep your meter connected but we can't guarantee it.

If we're no longer getting regular meter readings (meaning half-hourly readings every day for the last twenty days) we may contact you to let you know you're not eligible to take part anymore, and you won't be able to earn redeemable points in Saving Sessions.

Of course, getting involved in saving power will help you save money and will help us build towards a future greener system anyway.



Why do meter readings occasionally go missing?

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We generally get 48 readings from a smart meter into our systems every day, one for every half hour of the day.

Occasionally, we won’t be able to retrieve a meter reading for the specific time of the Saving Session. This doesn't mean we're not connected to your meter.

It generally happens if your meter setup has a brief outage at the exact time of the Saving Session. It could be either your actual meter unit losing power for a second, or a brief drop in something called WAN signal, which is the network your meter uses to connect. (Think about when the wifi drops out for a second, then you refresh and it’s totally fine.)

This is a pretty rare occurrence, but if it happens to your meter when we try to pull your Saving Session readings, we won’t know what you used. We’ll reward you the average earnings for that Session instead.We think that’s a pretty fair solution – it’s very possible you’ll earn more than you would’ve with real readings – and it shouldn’t happen regularly.



Rules of play

How will each Session work?

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We’ll tell you about each Saving Session with as much notice as possible (ideally the day before) via either app notification, or email if you don't have the app. Make sure you have your app notifications turned on.

  1. If you want to take part in that Session, opt in via your dashboard before it starts.
  2. During the Session, you should try and avoid using anything energy intensive (for example, dishwasher, washing machine) – we’ll share some tips and tricks to help.
  3. A day or so after the Session, we’ll let you know how much you saved and how many points you've earned. If you choose to exchange them for cash, it’ll be credited to your account within 14 days.
  4. There’s no need for you to submit any meter readings – we’ll work how much you’ve saved using smart meter data.

What time of day will the Saving Sessions be?

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The Sessions could take place at any time – the specific windows will be based on when the grid needs help, so we don't know exactly when they’ll be yet (in other words, we can't schedule them far in advance).

We can say that the Sessions will usually take place during the busiest times of day, because that's when the grid generally needs more help balancing. The ‘peak’ time is usually between 4-7pm, so if you think you could manage to use a bit less power around then, Saving Sessions will likely benefit you.

Do I have to join every Saving Session?

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You can take part in as many or as few Sessions as you like (though we’d obviously encourage you to make the most of them!)

You never have to join a Saving Session if it’s not convenient for you. Any that you can’t join, just don’t opt in when we email you about it. We won’t send any reminders or follow-ups about that Session.

What happens if I don’t opt in to a Session?

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You can take part in as many or as few Sessions as you like. But if you want to earn points, you have to opt into a Session before it begins, so we know you’re planning to take part and use less electricity.

If you don’t opt in, you won’t earn any points, even if you do save power.

You can always take part in future Sessions though!

How will I be notified about Saving Sessions?

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  1. You'll get an invitation to opt in to every Saving Session. They'll be sent with as much notice as possible – ideally the day before - via either app notification, or email if you don’t have the app. Make sure you have app notifications turned on
  2. Within a few days of the Session, you'll receive your results.

We’ll also have some Surprise Sessions.

In these select Sessions, there’ll be shorter notice, no notifications – and sometimes, higher rewards. You may only get a few hours to opt in before the Session starts. We won’t have time to notify you as normal, but we’ll send up the octopus signal on social media and WhatsApp. Here's how to get notified

How many Saving Sessions will there be?

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It’s hard to say for sure - the total number will depend on how much help the electrical grid needs.

There'll be at least 12 Saving Sessions this winter (but likely many more), and they'll be between one and two hours long.

It’s likely that they’ll run more often in January, when the electrical grid is usually under most pressure.

Can I take part if I have an export tariff?

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Yes, customers who generate and export electricity (via solar panels, for example) with Octopus can take part in Saving Sessions, and we’ll credit you for any extra exporting you do compared to your usual "net" consumption, i.e. your imported energy minus your exported energy

E.g. If there’s an event between 6-7pm and we calculate that you usually export 2kWh during that time and don't import anything, then if you export 5kWh during the Saving Session, we'd credit you for this extra 3kWh that you're giving back to the grid (5kWh - 2kWh).

Your export tariff won't be affected, only additional energy exported during the Session will be paid at the Saving Sessions incentive rate.

I already save as much energy as I possibly can. Should I take part?

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There's no need to get involved if you feel Saving Sessions isn’t right for you. But this is quite different to just saving energy all the time in everyday life – it’s about shifting your electricity-intensive activities to different times of day – like cooking dinner earlier than usual, or scheduling your dishwasher outside of the Session hours. Any reduction in your usual usage, however small, will result in you earning a bit of reward.

We have some useful tips that should give you an idea of the sort of thing you might want to do with Saving Sessions here.

But if it still doesn’t sound right for you, there’s no need to get involved!

I already shift my usage outside of peak times - how can I benefit from this scheme?

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You’re still welcome to sign up, but you just might not make quite as much of a reward if your peak usage is already really low.

It's fantastic to hear how much you're already involved in the world of smart energy with solar, an EV and a battery. Saving Sessions is all about opening many more people up to that world, where you can get rewarded for using energy flexibly.
That does mean that early adopters like you who already do all sorts of stuff like this won't benefit as much from this specific project. But we've for many years run different tariffs just to give people like you awesome benefits.

For EV drivers, there's Octopus Go and Intelligent Octopus Go. For people who export, there's Outgoing Octopus, Octoplus Flux and Intelligent Octopus Flux.
(FYI: if you’re on export with us, we’ll measure the total reduction from your import and export MPAN).



Results

I didn't save as much as I thought – what's going on?

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We’re always comparing you to what you’d have normally used at the time of the Saving Session, so if you’re generally a low energy user around then, it’ll be a bit harder for you to make bigger savings.

If your savings still don’t look quite enough based on what you’ve used in the past, it might be down to the way we have to calculate your energy saving.

First, we need to work out your ‘normal energy use’ at the time of each Saving Session - so we can then compare it to what you use during the Session to work out your saving. There’s a strict formula we have to follow set by the National Grid.

We first look at your meter readings from the same time as the Session over the past 10 weekdays (excluding any days with a Saving Session). We use those to find the average amount of electricity you typically use then.

How come I earned a different amount of Octopoints this time even though I saved power in the same way?

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We work out your savings based on your normal energy use for the past 10 weekdays.

Even if you switch off the exact same stuff during each Session, the benchmark will be a bit different every time depending on your recent energy habits — so you’ll see slightly different results.

The rate you’re paid can also change from Session to Session. We’ll always tell you what you stand to earn on your invite notification and on the website where you opt in.

Is it true that if I’m already a low user, I won’t be able to earn as much?

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National Grid’s project rewards people for every kilowatt hour they save. The more you use normally, the more you can reduce and the more you stand to earn.

This isn’t something we can change — it’s the whole point of the project, helping the grid reduce megawatt hours of energy demand so they don’t have to find that same amount of generation (from fossil fuels).

But if you’re already doing all you can to cut down your energy, we want to celebrate your efforts too. That’s why we will sometimes offer different Octopoint bonuses for other types of participation, like streaks, or sometimes, for being one of the top Savers by percentage (so no matter how much you reduce, it’s the proportion of your normal power that counts). Plus, we have spot prizes every Session, giving you the chance to win 400,000 Octopoints or £500 just for opting in.

Beyond whatever you manage to earn, and our different bonuses and prizes, your efforts are part of something bigger.

Our Sessions are making a huge difference on the grid: sometimes saving as much power as all the homes in Leicester switching off. That’s all power the UK doesn’t have to generate, saving an enormous amount of fossil fuel emissions and making everyone’s energy a bit cheaper by reducing the need for the grid to burn gas last minute at a massive premium (balancing costs can be huge, sometimes tens of millions for a single day!)

How do you work out my typical energy use?

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We’ll look at your historical smart meter data leading up to a Session, and calculate what you usually use at that time of day, on average. 

If the Session is on a weekday, we’ll look at your half-hourly usage over the last 10 weekdays (excluding Saving Session days). If the Session is on a weekend, we’ll look at your half hourly usage over the last 4 weekend days.

We then use these half-hourly averages as a benchmark – so you’ll earn points for every kilowatt hour you save compared to that number during your Session.

Why can I still earn some Octopoints without saving energy overall?

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It’s got to do with the fact that we measure each half an hour of the Saving Session separately.

Over an hour-long Session, let’s say you cut your energy usage in the first half hour, but then used so much energy in the second half hour that overall, you still ended up using more power than usual. In this case, you’d still earn Octopoints for the energy saved in the first half an hour, even if you didn't save overall.



Getting rewards

How much could I be rewarded for taking part in Saving Sessions?

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You'll earn Octopoints per kilowatt hour for all the electricity you don't use compared to normal. We expect around 12 Saving Sessions this winter, and they'll likely be between one and two hours long.

It's hard to say exactly how much you could earn overall, because it all depends on a lot of factors we can't totally predict: from how many Sessions there'll be to how long each one is to how much National Grid will pay in each Session.

Plus, there are individual factors, like how many you choose to get involved in, and how much power you're able to save in each one.

A lot of the unknowns exist because this project is designed to help balance the energy grid, and we don't know exactly how much help it'll need this winter - as that depends on stuff like the weather, energy demand and supply issues (for example, particular generators not running.)

What are Octopoints?

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Octopoints are our way of rewarding Octopus Energy customers. You'll be able to keep track of how many you have in your online account, and they can be redeemed for all sorts of different rewards - prizes, donations to our Octo Assist fund for customers in need, or credit on your Octopus account (in GBP).

We'll give you more info about Octopoints once Saving Sessions kicks off.

Saving Sessions is entirely free to get involved, your tariff and energy payments won't change, and you can opt out any time.



More about the project

Why are you running Saving Sessions?

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With energy prices sky high, it’s never been more important to help people save power and money. But Saving Sessions isn’t just a way of easing the impact of the energy crisis on your bills - it’s the start of a new era of energy: one where people genuinely benefit by actively participating in making energy smarter, greener and cheaper.

Currently, the UK often has to fire up extra dirty coal and gas stations to satisfy everyone’s energy needs at the busiest times of day.

Rather than paying these (very expensive) fossil fuel generators to turn on, when demand is high, we want to reward people for switching off or delaying the energy they don’t need. Not only will this cut carbon emissions – it helps balance the energy system, and allows us to make the most of green energy when the sun’s shining and the wind’s blowing.

Who is paying for Saving Sessions?

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The money customers can earn in this project is paid by National Grid – it’s a reward for helping to keep the energy grid in balance by switching off at the busiest times. Which makes sense: when energy demand is high, it’s much cheaper to pay people to use a bit less power than it is to pay fossil fuel generators to switch on at short notice!

How could projects like Saving Sessions make the UK's energy cheaper?

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This is all about reducing the cost of energy at peak times by balancing the grid and lowering the UK’s dependency on gas.

It’s a chance for you to lower your bills when energy demand is high - and in time will make the system cheaper to run overall!

Will Saving Sessions only take place during winter?

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This time round, yes. Historically, the electrical grid comes under the most strain in winter, when people tend to use more energy. But in the future, schemes similar to this one will allow customers to get rewarded for playing an active role in balancing the energy system whenever needed.

Can I be in Saving Sessions together with other flexibility trials?

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Some of our customers are already contributing to (and financially benefiting from) other exciting grid balancing trials and projects. If there's a clash between Saving Sessions and any particular projects in the future, it might mean we need to withdraw you from Saving Sessions.

For this reason, customers who take part in Saving Sessions cannot join other similar projects run by other energy suppliers. Customers who are taking part in our Equinox heat pump trial won’t be able to join Saving Sessions either.

Customers signed up to any of our Smart Tariffs are absolutely able to sign up and take part, and if anything ever does change, we'll of course contact you about it.



Why am I not eligible for Saving Sessions?

This year, to join Saving Sessions you have to be part of Octoplus, our customer rewards scheme, and you need to have a Direct Debit set up.

The only way you can join Saving Sessions is with an electricity smart meter that sends regular half-hourly readings. To be eligible, you need to be signed up to Octoplus and we need to have received 80% of your readings for the last 15 days.

This is essential, because we use your smart readings to measure what you save during Sessions and to calculate your typical energy use.

There are a few reasons you might not be eligible – here's what to check:

Do you have a smart electricity meter?

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Not sure? Check what type of meter you have in the meter section on your dashboard (it should say ‘Smart’ next to meter type).

If you don’t have one yet, you can request a smart meter now.

Generally, we can book you an appointment within a few weeks, but this depends on engineer availability and other factors so there are no guarantees.

Though we can install smart meters in most homes, there are some areas and types of buildings where they can’t work just yet, and some cases when we can’t install one.

Is your smart meter opted in to send us half-hourly readings?

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We need half hourly readings to measure your savings – you can opt in to half-hourly readings on your dashboard by clicking ‘Review my smart meter data preferences’.

After that, we'll need to take half-hourly readings from your meter for 15 days to build up a picture of your typical energy use. Then you should be eligible to join Saving Sessions.

Is your smart meter connected to us?

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Check under Explore my energy use on your dashboard. If there aren’t any recent readings there, it suggests your smart meter’s not connected to us.

We'll do our best to get your meter connected but we can't guarantee it.

Though rare, some problems can be very tricky to fix – plus, smart meters are dependent on a whole host of third party government-mandated systems which we don't have control over.

Is your smart meter sending us readings reliably?

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We need to have received 80% of your half hourly readings in the past 15 days. Check the graph on Explore my energy use – if there are gaps in your readings, it might mean your smart meter connection is patchy, and not’ve quite hit that 80% requirement.

We need your historical smart meter data so that we can calculate what you usually use, and then work out how much you've saved compared to usual during the Session.

Our checks refresh every day so if your smart meter starts sending readings regularly enough, you’ll be able to sign up for Saving Sessions as normal.

If your meters connection is consistently a patchy, we can try and fix it, but there are no absolute guarantees.

Though rare, some problems can be very tricky to fix – plus, smart meters are dependent on a whole host of third party government-mandated systems which we don't have control over.

How to to turn on Octopus app notifications in a few taps:

This year, you'll get all Saving Sessions notifications via app rather than email, so it's super important you turn on app notifications to avoid missing out on Sessions.

Get the Octopus app from App Store or Google Play

  • Log in to your Octopus account
  • Click the little face in the top left of your App home screen, click Notifications and then 'Enable notifications'
  • The app will open up phone settings – click notifications and make sure "Push notifications" are turned on for the Octopus app.

This winter, look out for Surprise Sessions

In select Sessions, we may only find out a couple of hours before it’s due to start, so won't be able to notify you as usual. Here’s how to make sure you never miss one:

  • Follow our WhatsApp Channel (tap Follow, then tap the bell 🔕 to get a WhatsApp notification each time we post)

    Good to know: No one in the WhatsApp Channel can see your details or phone number (including us). Channels are one-way: so only we can post in here. We’ll ONLY use the channel to tell you about upcoming Saving Sessions – no spam, we promise.

    You can find and search for WhatsApp channels under Updates – ours is called 'Saving Sessions alerts - Octopus Energy'
  • Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

It’s more likely your Octopoints reward will be even higher in Surprise Sessions – don’t miss out!

Why will there be Surprise Sessions?

If the weather or another factor suddenly impacts the grid, a Saving Session could pop up at really short notice. We may only find out a couple of hours before it’s due to start. You’ll be able to opt in for these as normal, but we won’t always be able to notify you the usual way.

I have the Octopus app — why am I not getting Saving Session notifications?

How to fix it:

There are a few reasons you might not get app notifications:

  • If you've uninstalled and reinstalled the app and not turned notifications on again.
  • If you got a new phone and haven't turned on notifications via the app on the new phone.
  • If you've turned off push notifications in your phone's settings (this overrides any individual app settings).
  • If you've set up your notification preferences so they don't come in real time – for example, through a daily 'notifications summary'. Or if you're on Do Not Disturb or Focus Mode at the time the notification is sent.

Turning your notification settings on in the app and through your phone settings should correct any of these problems – if not, get in touch.

Published on 19th October 2022 by:

image of Samsam Farah

Samsam Farah

Writer

Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!

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