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Finding the best export tariff to support my solar panels and reduce energy costs?


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Hi,

Below a copy of my recent email to OVO, Octopus and Tesla UK.

Email Subject Header: Will I just be whistling in the wind, whilst drowning and/or being electrocuted trying to plug my extension lead into an offshore turbine? Well, let's find out... Re: Octopus, OVO and Tesla UK domestic energy and including UK domestic SEG export and fixed price duel fuel import.

 

I'm currently on a UK fixed domestic duel fuel contract with OVO until October 2022 but because of the likelihood of another crippling rise in grid supply energy costs I'm looking ahead. This not just for the best UK fixed grid duel fuel import cost but also the best UK SEG export tariff.

 

I am currently under no export contract with my existing supplier OVO, or anyone else. 

 

I meet all UK SEG export requirements with a domestic total solar installed capacity of 2.64 kW. 

 

I'm disabled, 65 years old, effectively medically retired and subsist on a fixed income. Therefore, unfortunately I'm unable to afford battery storage for efficient smart export, even if this was eventually made available for green subsidy in the UK. 

 

I would really love a very cheap refurbished Tesla Power Wall and this not just for my benefit. Domestic energy generation with battery storage would benefit any young family that might inherit or buy our home. My Wife, and full time carer, and I obliged to do what we can, however little, to help the next generation.

 

My dilemma; Octopus currently offer the best UK fixed SEG export tariff but only to existing or new customers. Non customer tariff, like that from many other UK providers, pathetically low. 

 

It would be unwise to pay early duel fuel exit fees to my current provider and enter new contracts that will be much more expensive, until I absolutely must. 

 

I know very little is about Tesla energy supplier status in the UK but their overall business model and philanthropic stance across multiple sectors, coupled with unique achievement, planned and aspirational goals, is truly inspirational. 

 

Well done Elon and team! You've made it and this in spite of all those that 'currently' have a vested interest in slowing down the inevitable. I sincerely believe that any resourceful individual, not just you, with noble but still profitable ambition will inspire many and that together must resolve the critical issues crucial for the benefit of us all.

 

Back to Earth with a bang, Tesla pun intended. Most UK SEG contracts appear to be for a minimum of 12 months. 

 

I currently believe it prudent to wait and commit to the best cost fixed duel fuel and SEG contract with the same provider. However, I remain open to suggestions from Octopus, OVO and especially Tesla. 

 

Tesla because domestic energy generation coupled with vehicle battery to home and grid export, which OVO have recently trialed (well done to their CEO), might be possible for me if UK disability car lease mobility support was available for Tesla cars. 

 

A Tesla purpose built car would currently be my preferred option rather than a battery retrofit within an existing ICE car from a legacy vehicle manufacturer

 

I mean no offence to the old timers because it will take time and a boat loan of money to retool and retrain, now with the real possibility of catastrophic Company failure and; push back from shareholders and others who might prefer short term but ever reducing financial gain, rather than medium and long-term increasing financial gain, is inevitable but ultimately indefensible and certainly unsustainable. Full Tesla self-drive, when finally allowed on UK public highways, would also particularly benefit the disabled.

 

Hopefully Tesla UK might be able to provide update on current energy service and car provision in the UK.

 

OVO offers good interest on 'in credit' balances but currently only a fixed SEG export of 4p  kWh to new and existing customers. Therefore, renewing my OVO fixed cost duel fuel with a long-term SEG agreement, that doesn't currently payback monthly, would be financially unwise.

 

Octopus currently ticks all the right boxes but only when I switch over to them as my prime energy import provider with a current 7.5p kWh monthly SEG payback.

 

For all grid energy providers, import and export tariff would have likely changed dramatically by the time I come to reconsider my next energy provider, in October 2022.

 

I really would appreciate any advice. Maybe some form of UK grant to facilitate installation of solar battery storage and/or additional solar panels. Even perhaps a grant for domestic wind power generation and/or vertical ground source heat pump, but this only as part of a hybrid domestic system that would retain gas as backup. This because anyone that has done even minimal research on heat pumps already knows that heat pump retrofitting into individual existing UK domestic housing stock couldn't replace gas import, also indirectly electricity if still needed, unless energy costs are naturally or kept artificially high and, in any case, all cost is relative and for myself, I also suspect for many others, higher energy cost would still be unaffordable.

 

In summary, this email sent to my existing, currently most likely replacement provider and Tesla is simply a request for confirmation that the analysis of my own personal energy dilemma is sound or, have I missed something important pertaining specifically to the OVO Vs Octopus import and export offerings or maybe something Tesla can provide.

 

OVO, Octopus and Tesla are all invited to comment but may choose not. So, am I just whistling in the wind?  Let's see.

 

Stay safe and warm if you can afford the increasing cost of heating and living costs more generally.

Regards Rick_H

 

 

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Best answer by Jess_OVO 3 May 2022, 15:23

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Hi,

This is going to take me quite some time to think about how to reply myself - in a personal capacity as I’m only a forum volunteer - as there’s a lot to think about. I’m also going to ask @nealmurphy and @M.isterW to stop by as they know more about this stuff than I do.

However, I do have a few notes that I’d like to give you as a heads up, since this may or may not influence your decisions.

If you’re going for a Tesla EV and a Tesla Powerwall, it’s worth noting they have huge batteries that can take quite a while to fully recharge at home. This may exceed the cheap off-peak hours of some ToU Tariffs like Octopus Go resulting in you spilling over into the higher rates, so you may want to consider whether something like Economy 7 or OVO Drive + Anytime is more appropriate since you’d then get at least seven hours of cheap EV charging go juice (or 24/7 cheap EV charging with Drive + Anytime). While the latter currently requires specific chargers in order to work, OVO is working on a way to get the required data directly from the EV to widen compatibility. I’m not sure if Tesla is one of the manufacturers that will be supported, but it’s worth keeping an eye on that.

Also, you currently have OVO Interest Reward on the basis of a Grandfather Rule. I wanted to give you a heads up that this perk is no longer offered to new members who sign up now or get migrated from SSE. If you were to switch away from OVO and then come back later, you would lose and no longer qualify for this reward.

I will come back to you if I can think of anything else.

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Hi Blastoise 186,

 

Appreciate your initial feedback and the heads-up on the OVO interest rates. 

With respect to all the hard working OVO individuals. For me brand loyalty is a luxury no one can now afford. Energy cost management is essential for many, even just to subsist, within an escalating cost of living crisis. 

I will migrate to any grid supplier that will offer me the best deal for both import and SEG export when my existing contract ends. Your point about Tesla power wall had already been considered as part of my current and aspirational overall domestic hybrid solution.

 

I really appreciate your proposed supported response from other OVO forum members.

Stay safe. Rick_H

 

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Hi @Rick H and thanks for the mention @Blastoise186 

I'm not really that knowledgeable on export or batteries, but it's definitely on my to do list for similar reasons to yours.

To make your search for the optimum solution more complicated, you may want to look at the Tesla Energy Plan from Octopus. This requires solar plus at least one Powerwall 2. It's a symmetrical tariff with both import and export rates being around 12p/kWh (unheard of in the current climate!)  I believe this tariff is still live and is listed on their current tariffs page. This may obviously change at any point but hopefully the info you can find on it may be of use for planning for any future battery set up.

 

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Hi  nealmurphy,

Very helpful. It should have occurred that Tesla may have buddied up with an existing UK provider.

 

It is now crucial to take full advantage of any subsidised green tech in order to mitigate some of the increase in energy cost. The problem, that even with subsidy I believe many fixed budget and low income families won't have sufficient disposable income to invest in order to save. There are now way too many more immediate problems sapping their coffers dry.

 

I have a natural duty of care to support other elderly and disabled family members. My nightmare, for them as well as many others, fuel poverty and privation will be the next new norm. 

Stay safe. Kindest regards.

Rick_H

Userlevel 7

A really important topic to raise here, @Rick H.

 

Just in case it influences your decision making process I just wanted to highlight that here at OVO we offer a Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) on a separate account to your incoming energy account so you’d be free to switch suppliers and retain the SEG with us (or vice-versa). You can find more about this and how to apply for the OVO SEG here.

 

As you mention your concerns at the increasing energy costs, we’d also recommend taking a look at the advice and extra support we’ve offered here.

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Hi Jess_OVO,

 

Nice to hear from you and thanks for being part of the solution that has, at last, resulted in a replacement for my faulty IHD.

 

I'm still awaiting my promised call back from one of your tech guys because this new IHD refuses to pair with the CAD account which would enable SEG export and this leads nicely into my response to your comments.

 

I have always believed in taking advice from several diverse sources before making an informed choice and it doesn't matter to me if those sources purport to be independent or not and perceived biased or not.

 

I openly admit the only reason I jumped back into this forum was because of its informed knowledge base. Blastoise186 and nealmurphy have given me a few good pointers (thanks guys). However, as a professional courtesy to both you and all other forum members, I inform that this would not be a common occurrence. This because, when dealing with the serious matter of just subsisting within a cost of living crisis, I must focus on immediately available solutions or in this case, start my research on potential energy import and export service providers ready for when my current contract ends.

 

OVO offer exemplary customer service but this must be linked to a competitively priced energy solution.

 

Please confirm if OVO have ceased to offer interest on account credit balances to new customers and;

 

SEG fixed export tariff is 4p per kWh and this not only for current gas and electric customers but also for those that choose to export to OVO via  independent standalone SEG contract and;

 

OVO do not pay for SEG imports on a monthly basis.

 

SEG tariffs are under the direct control of energy providers and as you correctly state, operate under separate contract. 

 

I respectfully suggest OVO must be able to beat and not just match their competitors SEG fixed pricing, alternative smart variant tariffs and facilitate prompt payment for imported energy. Plus, of course, offer the very best regular consumer tariffs.

 

OVO have invested time and money working with others to trial EV to home and grid along with other smart home integration products and I think Tado was another. I use Tado smart radiator thermostats within our home, under Alexa voice control along with my RING alarm, personal safety monitoring systems and other smart home devices.  Hopefully these will now be joined by the new IHD. My point... smart home devices essential because of disability.

 

For the avoidance of doubt. I'm only asking for confirmation of current details pertaining OVO offerings and understand things will have changed by the time my fixed term contract ends. I will of course recheck my essential service provider needs when I am within the potential transfer window and early exit fees no longer apply.

 

Will appreciate prompt response.

 

Stay safe.

Kindest regards

Rick_H

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I’ll leave Jess to answer most of those questions, but I wanted to give you a quick heads up. In general, the Smart Export Guarantee does not pay on a monthly basis, regardless of supplier.

I cannot find any evidence to suggest Octopus would pay-out monthly on any of their export products.

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Thanks again Blastoise186,

 

I'll double check my facts because I was sure that at least one provider did offer monthly SEG payment.

 

In any case, it's whoever offers the best SEG tariff rate and best regular consumer tariff that would be the deal maker for me. This at the time my OVO fixed price contract comes up for renewal.

 

Stay safe

Kindest regards

Rick_H

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No worries.

If you think you come across any that do offer monthly pay-outs, I’m happy to go through the fine print for you. Simply let me know the name and I’ll do some digging.

Userlevel 7

 

Please confirm if OVO have ceased to offer interest on account credit balances to new customers and;

 

SEG fixed export tariff is 4p per kWh and this not only for current gas and electric customers but also for those that choose to export to OVO via  independent standalone SEG contract and;

 

OVO do not pay for SEG imports on a monthly basis.

 

Happy to provide a few more details on the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) and our discontinued Interest Reward, @Rick H.

 

As mentioned in this related topic our is no longer offered to new members, but will still apply if you joined before this scheme was discontinued. This reward was removed on advice from Ofgem.

 

As a Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) supplier, we offer this SEG to both existing OVO members and non-members at the same fixed 4p per kWh rate. Payments are issued quarterly based on quarterly submitted export readings, although we welcome the feedback that a monthly payment could be preferable.

 

Let us know if you’ve got any more questions here, our community members have lots of insight to share of their own experiences installing solar panels and applying for export payments. 

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Hi Jess_OVO,

 

I've perused your topic link pertaining loss of interest payments on credit balance for new customers.

 

Please provide link to Ofgem decision or advice to which you refer. This information critical to my  selection of service provider come the end of my OVO contract.

 

Stay safe.

Kindest regards

Rick_H.

 

Userlevel 7

Sorry for the confusion, @Rick H.

 

As the Ofgem advice I mentioned was directly communicated to OVO I can’t share any link directly mentioning this, however I believe it’s related to this Ofgem proposal to reduce surplus credit balances.

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Hi Jess_OVO,

Congratulations on providing the best answer to my SEG dilemma and other Ofgem imposed sanction which denies new customers the benefit of interest on accounts in credit. To my mind this has stifled an OVO USP (unique selling point).

I understand that your response was bound by OVO current service provision remit and also Governing legislation and oversight. Therefore, I accept that you might not have be able to satisfy every customer need.

 

I take this opportunity to thank you and all others for their time and courtesy that has enabled me to focus on my  immediate and then medium term needs once my OVO contract ends.

Following receipt of OVO answers to my outstanding questions, I will withdraw from this forum because, with the greatest respect to all forum members, it is incompatible with my natural, mentored and professional training. This the ingrained need for a "little less conversation, a little more action please" (song quote courtesy of the late great Elvis Presley).

Stay safe.

Kindest regards

Rick_H

 

 

 

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