Powering up: Scottish customers use energy to help the grid AND cut bills in UK-first trial

  • Octopus Energy and SP Energy Networks trial encouraged households to increase usage when green energy was abundant
  • Some households earned up to £73 in free energy
  • Trial saw customers shift 20MWh of power demand out of peak times

13th June 2022 – A new trial completed by Octopus Energy and SP Energy Networks saw Scottish households earn up to £73 in free energy by adapting usage when renewable energy was abundant.

Over 2,500 Octopus Energy customers across Dumfries and Galloway participated in the six-week trial*. Directed to power up their usage when green energy supply was highest, households used 20MWh more energy across the six two-hour trial windows.

Households who increased their usage by more than 10% were credited back all the energy they had used during the two-hour timeframe. Those who used more than 100% extra were credited double the amount they had used. Participating customers were rewarded with an average of £5 of free energy, with some saving up to £73.

Home flexibility methods like this trial will help the country move towards a greener energy system – balancing the grid and bringing down costs for everyone by reducing the need for expensive grid rebalancing interventions. In 2021 alone, Scottish energy bill payers paid £107m to onshore wind generators to shut down at times when there was too much power on the grid**.

If just 10% of Scottish households followed this approach shifting energy usage out of peak times, Scotland would use 320MWh of green energy during each two-hour window – enough energy to power more than 5,000 households for a week.

Rebecca Dibb-Simkin, Chief Marketing and Product Officer at Octopus Energy Group, comments: “We have this amazing power grid which spans across the entire country, connecting every household and every generator in the UK. By tweaking how we consume power, we can make the most of every green electron generated in the UK and bring down costs for all.

“This trial was just the first step proving that people are happy to make small adjustments to help the grid and save cash. With a much larger campaign we would be able to really move the needle towards the flexible energy system we need for a greener future.”

Scott Mathieson, Network Planning & Regulation Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “This is the first time that a trial to shift electricity demand has been undertaken at this scale anywhere in the UK and it’s great to see it’s been such a success.

“It allowed maximum renewable energy generation to be absorbed locally and meant we could effectively manage the network at a local level to ensure the power of that clean green electricity was used to its full potential. It gave us real insight into how customers can respond and play an important role in helping shape our network management of the future. Our thanks to everyone who took part.”


Notes to editors:

*The trial was carried out between 17th March 2022 and 23rd April 2022. The test events lasted for two hours between either 5:30am-7:30am or 7:30pm-9:30pm. Octopus Energy notified customers who had opted in the day before each trial window.

**Renewable Energy Foundation, Constraint Payments to Wind Power in 2020 and 2021

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About Octopus Energy Group

Octopus Energy Group is a global energy tech pioneer, launched in 2016 to use technology to unlock a customer focused and affordable green energy revolution. It is part of Octopus Group, which is a certified BCorp. With operations in 13 countries, Octopus Energy Group is a British company driving global change.

Octopus’s domestic energy arm already serves 3.2 million customers with cheaper greener power, through Octopus Energy, M&S Energy, Affect Energy, Ebico, London Power and Co-op Energy. Octopus Electric Vehicles is helping make clean transport cheaper and easier, and Octopus Energy Services is bringing smart products to thousands of homes. Octopus Energy Generation is one of Europe’s largest investors in renewable energy, managing a £3.4 billion portfolio of renewable energy assets throughout the continent.

All of these are made possible by Octopus’s tech arm, Kraken Technologies, which offers a proprietary, in-house platform based on advanced data and machine learning capabilities, Kraken automates much of the energy supply chain to allow outstanding service and efficiency as the world transitions to a decentralised, decarbonised energy system. This technology has been licensed to support over 20 million customer accounts worldwide, through deals with EDF Energy, Good Energy, E.ON energy and Origin Energy.

In December 2021, Octopus Energy Group was valued at approximately $5 billion following a $600 million investment from Generation Investment Management and a $300 million investment from Canada Pensions Plan Investments Board. Both investors back businesses that drive sustainability, promote green energy and tackle climate change. It was the company’s third major investment round since launching to the market.

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