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EV Everywhere - do I need a smart meter to go Economy 7?

  • 2 March 2018
  • 4 replies
  • 862 views

I've just joined Ovo on the EV tariff and we will be having a charge point installed for our new Nissan Leaf in a few weeks. The car arrives in April.
Am I right to assume that we can use Economy 7 on the EV tariff and that we would need to get a smart meter installed to provide for this.
How would we go about making those arrangements?
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Best answer by Transparent 2 March 2018, 18:17

Hi @alanmilstein,

I'll try to keep my answers simple, but there's more to your question than meets the eye!

Assuming that you don't already have Economy 7 via a second meter, then yes, the way to get it is to request a Smart Meter. You can email hello@ovoenergy.com to give this instruction.

Note that when you change tariff to have cheaper electricity for those 7 hours overnight, the price per KWh for the remaining 17 hours is higher.

You will need to do some rough calculations to check that it's worthwhile having Economy 7. For example if all your daytime domestic heating and cooking was electric, then it's possible you won't save anything. Equally, if you only drive few miles in the Leaf, and it needs just a couple of hours to recharge, then it might not be viable to have Economy 7.

Secondly, there are two different (single-phase) Charge-Points offered by Nissan with the Leaf. Check the power rating of the one you've ordered. Remember that most houses have a 100A main fuse at the "incomer". Fast charging the car might seem a great idea... unless you also happen to turn on an electric shower at night, which can require 45A. Another rough calculation should be done to ensure you don't blow the fuse.

Thirdly, the way Smart Meters behave will be changing sometime around the end of 2018. The new SMETS2 software will introduce a concept of Auxiliary Load Control Switches (ALCS) whereby power-hungry devices can be programmed to draw energy when it is cheapest rather than for a fixed 7 hours at night.

Thus if you upgraded to SMETS2 and OVO offered ALCS options for EVs, you could theoretically charge your car cheapest when the sun is shining and all the PV panels on your neighbour's roofs were generating power! Watch this space for more info!

And finally, I suggest you start reading up on V2G (Vehicle to Grid). This forthcoming technology will permit you to instruct OVO when they are allowed to resell power back to the Grid from your car.

Thus, if there is a heavy power demand at 6pm and your Leaf has batteries full of charge which your bought cheaply overnight, OVO could sell it for you at a profit.

I hope that whets your appetite.
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Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Hi @alanmilstein,

I'll try to keep my answers simple, but there's more to your question than meets the eye!

Assuming that you don't already have Economy 7 via a second meter, then yes, the way to get it is to request a Smart Meter. You can email hello@ovoenergy.com to give this instruction.

Note that when you change tariff to have cheaper electricity for those 7 hours overnight, the price per KWh for the remaining 17 hours is higher.

You will need to do some rough calculations to check that it's worthwhile having Economy 7. For example if all your daytime domestic heating and cooking was electric, then it's possible you won't save anything. Equally, if you only drive few miles in the Leaf, and it needs just a couple of hours to recharge, then it might not be viable to have Economy 7.

Secondly, there are two different (single-phase) Charge-Points offered by Nissan with the Leaf. Check the power rating of the one you've ordered. Remember that most houses have a 100A main fuse at the "incomer". Fast charging the car might seem a great idea... unless you also happen to turn on an electric shower at night, which can require 45A. Another rough calculation should be done to ensure you don't blow the fuse.

Thirdly, the way Smart Meters behave will be changing sometime around the end of 2018. The new SMETS2 software will introduce a concept of Auxiliary Load Control Switches (ALCS) whereby power-hungry devices can be programmed to draw energy when it is cheapest rather than for a fixed 7 hours at night.

Thus if you upgraded to SMETS2 and OVO offered ALCS options for EVs, you could theoretically charge your car cheapest when the sun is shining and all the PV panels on your neighbour's roofs were generating power! Watch this space for more info!

And finally, I suggest you start reading up on V2G (Vehicle to Grid). This forthcoming technology will permit you to instruct OVO when they are allowed to resell power back to the Grid from your car.

Thus, if there is a heavy power demand at 6pm and your Leaf has batteries full of charge which your bought cheaply overnight, OVO could sell it for you at a profit.

I hope that whets your appetite.
Thanks. That's all really useful.
For various reasons it will only, mostly, be convenient to charge our EV overnight at home. So Economy 7 seems to make sense, but I didn't realise that it would increase the price for the remaining 17 hours. That seems an odd concept to me!
So it looks like the jury is out and it may be worthwhile waiting to get some charging experience before committing.
Hi
Im considering coming to OVO - but am after a smart meter that will use Economy 7 to. charge our electric car during the cheap cycle ... not sure if the house car charging point needs to be connected to the seperate port usually used for storage heaters ( we don’t have them )
but we do have solar panels on the roof of the house - again have heard mixed discussions on whether a smart meter will work
thx
Userlevel 6
Badge +1
Hi @Ayg8615

Best thing to do if you will use Economy 7 is to set a charging timer on your car. This is something I used a lot on my Nissan Leaf although I wasn't an economy 7 customer. It was just habit have it charging over night like my phone.

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