New time-of-day tariff in the UK

In the UK, electricity users have traditionally been able to opt for a ‘night and day’ split tariff. This tariff requires separate physical wiring in the home, and there are only two rates, the cheaper night rate and the more expensive day rate. Whilst this arrangement can work for activities such as heating domestic hot water during the night, it is inflexible and can actually result in much more expensive daytime bills.

Now a new UK energy company called Octopus Energy has brought out a half-hourly time-of-day tariff which does not require two physical wiring circuits, but instead requires a ‘smart meter’ capable of monitoring electricity consumption on a half-hourly basis. The Octopus “Agile” tariff applies prices according to a formula which includes a standing charge, plus changing half-hourly rates throughout the day. The customer receives the half-hourly prices 24 hours in advance so that they can set timers etc to take advantage of the lower rates, which are generally outside the 4pm-7pm time period. However, an intelligent automated system such as RED WoLF could potentially automatically receive the half-hourly prices and use them in an algorithm to optimise energy imports from the grid according to price as well as carbon intensity.

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