Vehicle to grid (V2G) export rates are unchanged for my renewal, but tariff prices are higher. Have other trialists changed their plan since the trial?


Userlevel 1

I have been on the trial for over a year now and my current plan is soon coming to an end. My options on the OVO website show that the price of purchasing a kWh will increase by 4 or 5p (depending on which plan I choose). Having asked using the online chat if my export rate will increase as well, they informed me that it would not. This means using the V2G charger becomes much less attractive to me as I will hardly be saving any money.

Before I switch to another energy company that is offering better rates I just wanted to check if any other trialists have changed their plan since starting the V2G trial? Has anyone had a change in their export rates or has it always been a fixed price?  


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Userlevel 7
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That’s a good point @djriot !

I’m unsure just what has been developed within Kaluza over the past year. The Flex Platform doesn’t seem to have shown any enhanced features or flexibility during the duration of the V2G Trial.

This means its income is still derived from just two major sources:

  • trading electricity on the National Grid wholesale market
  • income from commercial investors wanting a stake in future technology

That suggests Flex is not yet levering additional income streams from the regional Distribution Network Operators for services which they require, such as Grid Balancing.

I still believe that Flex is fundamentally the right approach, but its opportunities to seize customers (market share) is being eroded by rival Energy Suppliers who are able to offer substantial credits for exports whilst using inferior technology.

For example, Flex has weather forecast input. Thus it can use such data to predict how much energy to put into a customer’s Storage Radiator in order to maintain the required temperature the next day. Rival technologies don’t have the scope to achieve this (yet).

Do the V2G Trialists have a feedback mechanism to Kaluza?

Are you kept in the loop of how effective is the strategy being used during the Trial?

 

Userlevel 2

First of all, no, they don’t tell us much. Kaluza does not seem to be terribly engaged with the “end customers”. We had a few statements about how it works, but at the end it remains opaque. 

The fundamental problem for Kaluza is that they do not set energy prices - they have no direction financial connection to the end customers. So while they can run great optimisations, and reduce the wholesale cost of electricity, the benefits to private customer remains limited. 

Other Energy Suppliers do at least offer a real time tariff with clear benefits on the wholesale and the retail side. Without a real time tariff, V2G/V2H does feel a bit pointless.

Userlevel 7
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That’s important feedback @MrPuds 

I’m slightly wary of expanding on what you’re saying because we’re in a (very) open Forum with many rivals able to view this conversation.

I think this has been a problem with getting feedback from Trialists to Kaluza, and them being willing to keep you in the loop. For that reason there is to be an internal meeting sometime this week regarding the next two Trials (Heat pumps and Storage Batteries). The aim is to provide these Trialists with a private area of the Forum.

Whilst I agree that Kaluza does not set the tariff pricing you are on, almost all of their effort has gone into the costs of buying/selling energy. So some of us might say that the balance need addressing in terms of other priorities which the Flex Platform should be addressing:

  • increasing the use of renewables by using the EV battery to store this energy when it is most available
  • weening the Trialists away from the classic strategy of charging their cars after midnight, because that’s actually what every other EV owner wants to do!
  • balancing the local distribution grid to decrease losses

And I think your last paragraph is probably referring to the only true Time Of Use tariff available at this stage, which is Agile from Octopus. I very much agree with you. The way in which a TOU trial could be attempted by OVO is on the agenda for me to discuss with a senior manager in a few days time.

 

If I were a V2G Trial Site, I’d be writing a short-form report myself and sending it as a PDF to the Manager running your Trial. I don’t think you should wait until someone thinks to ask you!

Userlevel 6
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My line of internal feedback is via PM to @Tim_OVO , there has been much ;)

If trialists are beginning to come to the end, then the ToU tarrifs need to catch up asap here or OVO do indeed risk the loss of customers, and that would be sad.

Indeed sometimes we need extra help and comms can be infuriating at times of the trial, but i guess thats part of the trial. 

 

Overall though I do believe in these trials and am trying to engage on heating trial too... hopefully it will happen before the v2g one ends as otherwise the benefit of seeing both in action at once may be limited.

Userlevel 2

Whilst I agree that Kaluza does not set the tariff pricing you are on, almost all of their effort has gone into the costs of buying/selling energy. So some of us might say that the balance need addressing in terms of other priorities which the Flex Platform should be addressing:

  • increasing the use of renewables by using the EV battery to store this energy when it is most available
  • weening the Trialists away from the classic strategy of charging their cars after midnight, because that’s actually what every other EV owner wants to do!
  • balancing the local distribution grid to decrease losses

Thanks for the insight. I understand that you are running a project, and you want to have your internal discussions first. (As a customer, it is much easier for me to just state my opinion.)

And I completely agree with the goals. Those are exactly the challenges the grid is facing: more load, different loads, more renewable generation, and as a result more bottlenecks. 

But here is the big question: is a vertically segregated industry able to address these? I know that Kaluza sees itself as an intermediary between the different vertical segments. But as a customer, do I really want to have to deal with two electricity companies, one to supply the electricity, and one to supply the smart? 

Think about the billing problem: I get two export figures, one from Kaluza, and one from OVO. That may seem like a technical problem, but it is actually a structural problem. All I really want is to save some money, and not deal with the complexity of it. That requires a one stop shop for electricity. 

Anyway, I hope that is helpful, and I hope we can find a way to sell smart charging to the masses of new EV owners. 

Userlevel 7
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@MrPuds wrote:

I understand that you are running a project…

Well not me; I’m another customer, like you. But I will tag @Tim_OVO just to ensure that an OVO employee is reading this!

I’m actually just starting as a Kaluza Trial site for the PowerVault Storage Battery. There are three installation engineers working 3m behind me as I write. :slight_smile:

But I’ve been reading avidly what the V2G Trialists have been posting here over the past year, so I have a fair idea of what you’re experiencing.

I also have excellent communications with my Distribution Network Operator (DNO) who have provided me with access to their maps and data. They’ve actually just fed 3-phase to my house in case we need to monitor imbalances.

Please read the Topic I wrote about Grid Balancing. That’s a synopsis of the seven main issues which concern National Grid and the DNOs. Much of the data I use has come from them.

If the Flex Platform can help to counter these problems, then it will be hailed as a success and an essential part of our national solution to Climate Change. If Flex only counters the issues within the price negotiations on the electricity wholesale market, then the winners will just be the shareholders who supported its development.

Userlevel 7
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@MrPuds wrote:

do I really want to have to deal with two electricity companies, one to supply the electricity, and one to supply the smart?

This is very much a temporary situation. Once the required functionality has been programmed into the new Billing System, it will be completely seamless.

Flex is being developed so that it can deliver usage and pricing data to any 3rd party, not just OVO. So Kaluza are right to consider themselves as an intermediary. They have to position themselves as an honest broker - a provider of a service to whoever wishes to sign a licence.

Userlevel 7
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@Jequinlanwrote:

My line of internal feedback is via PM to @Tim_OVO , there has been much...

And the obvious problem with this strategy is that none of the other V2G Trialists get to view what you’ve written and compare with what they’re experiencing. When things go wrong, you’re left isolated.

As for Time Of Use tariffs, that too needs discussion.

There are a number of different ways to implement this, and customers will view the possibilities in differing ways.

My own perspective is to have a very simple User Interface and keep all the complexities “under the bonnet”. I can see ways to make the existing V2G App simpler and yet broaden its scope to embrace Home Battery Storage, Heat pumps etc. But such suggestions will still need knocking into shape by others.

It’s not too late to create a private discussion group for all V2G Trialists. Much of what you’ve learned would be equally useful to those just starting out on the next wave of Kaluza Trials.

Userlevel 6
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I would certainly be up for a private group @Transparent , my trial is i think 1 year plus left to run!

Userlevel 2

Yes, a private group may be a good idea. 

PS: We have the facebook group.

 

Userlevel 7

Yes, a private group may be a good idea. 
 

 

Yep we’re making plans for improved private areas. A V2G or EV specific area is on the list for consideration. Good to hear there’s a demand for it. 

 

For the moment, can any V2G trialists advise @djriot on the tariffs they have chosen? 

 

EV Everywhere? 

Better Energy? 

Am I correct in thinking Eco-7 isn’t available @Jequinlan

Userlevel 6
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@Tim_OVO yes, sadly v2g needs single rate.

Userlevel 2

Sure. I understand that it has to be a fixed rate tariff for V2G (one of the longest complaints about it), so you can go with Variable, 1 Year Fixed or 2 Year Fixed. There is also EV Everywhere, which includes a Pulse membership. 

All of these are significantly more expensive than they were a year ago. So I wonder whether I should go variable and hope for a better tariff soon, or bite the bullet and fix for 1 year. 

There is risk either way. If you look at the spot market, prices have been sky high this year. Maybe leaving EUphemia on 1 January was not such a good idea. Higher prices could become normal. 

Userlevel 7
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There may well be a factor of EU pricing coming into play here.

The closer to the SE you are, the greater proportion of electricity is being supplied from the French Interconnect at Calais.

I’m way down on the Devon/Cornwall border, but today is overcast and windless. The energy-mix available to me at 10:30 today (13jan) has a measurable amount of French generation in it.

I don’t know why this is recorded as Nuclear. The CO2 emissions suggest otherwise!

I can’t really foresee the electricity trading team at Kaluza responding to us outside of a closed group. But I’d certainly be interested to know if the price rises are in any way lower for OVO customers than they would’ve been if they weren’t buying and selling V2G energy on the National Grid wholesale market.

Userlevel 7
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Today OVO have tweeted a link to a new report on the Commercial Viability of V2G.

There’s an interesting reference to Time Of Use tariffs.  :slight_smile:

Perhaps we could add a margin note to say “but it isn’t commercially viable unless it has satisfied customers”!

Userlevel 2

That is interesting. So our current rewards are designed to approximate the benefit from V2G on a time of use tariff. But somehow I feel that the benefit of smart charging is underestimated. 

Userlevel 7
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I don’t think the benefits to the customer featured very high when the rewards were being calculated a year back. The main focus at that time was to develop the algorithms to trade on the wholesale electricity market. That was absolutely essential if the investors were going to be pouring in several million to continue work on Flex.

At the moment your rewards are fixed, and your tariff is fixed, but it can’t stay like that.

The one message we are getting from the latest Kaluza report is that V2G needs to sit on top of a Time Of Use tariff.

It suggests to me that the Trial will now need to move onto such a tariff. The case for using V2G chargers can’t be made unless there is real data to show how participants respond to the changing rates. After all, you and I could write a snazzy report based on theoretical usage!

Userlevel 4
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It would be good to have better two way communication for trial customers. It does seem the unofficial Facebook page gets more activity than anywhere else and nobody from Kaluza or Ovo monitor that.

 

It seems a shame because I am sure they are missing out on useful feedback. 

Userlevel 7
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Hi @ArundaleP ,

That’s actually something Tim is working on for some of the other trials right now, as per 

I can certainly ask about having one added for the V2G Trial if it doesn’t already exist yet. One of the goals this year is to use the forum more effectively, so I think this might help.

Userlevel 7
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You are correct @ArundaleP

So have a look at this post from @Tim_OVO which refers to a conversation we had last week with Stephen Fitzpatrick. Note especially what para-3 announces.

Now that there are two other Trials both hanging off the Flex Platform, there needs to be a better strategy to provide bi-directional communication between those sites and the developers.

Nor need there be access only for those actually on a Trial. As a self-builder with practical experience of designing and implementing all sorts of renewable-energy systems within the home, I would certainly expect to share this information with those just starting on the Heat-Pump Trial.

Do you have particular areas of feedback/dialogue which you wish to bring to the table?

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