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What's the biggest impact changes I can make to my usage to help me hit my Power Move target?

What's the biggest impact changes I can make to my usage to help me hit my Power Move target?

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Userlevel 6
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True enough @Peter E , and for the purposes of Power Move @Sleepysusie is definitely not missing out by not having solar panels.  I’ve seen a few references on the forum to the difficulty people with PV panels experience when dark peak hour consumption is compared to daylight consumption.  And I agree absolutely about your references to storage batteries, too.

But can I ask whether you find your high-consumption devices are actually demanding more than your PV panels can provide, especially in winter? I find in the NE of England my panels produce in winter a max of maybe 300 Watts (if I’m lucky!  On the darker days in Dec and Jan they can sometimes only provide a daily total of 0.3 kWh!) which means that big stuff like a washing machine still necessitates me buying electricity outside the 4-7 slot. In other words, the solar panels contribute towards lowering my grid usage, but in winter only by a little. Even in summer my relatively small arrays really have to be belting it out to fully cover the big ticket items.

So, I find that although solar panels help me lower my consumption of bought grid electricity, they don’t by any means cover “big” items, in fact in winter I’d say they barely cover my daytime background usage; I find my weekday consumption therefore during the 4-7 slot can, with care, be made to still “look good” (i.e. under an eighth of overall weekday grid consumption). The “with care” proviso being definitely a higher bar with PV panels.

My small storage battery, small though it is, does make a huge difference, of course, as I run it at night.

Userlevel 7
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@waltyboy would you say investment in batteries is more worthwhile than pv ? Not necessarily from the ‘return on investment’ point of view but as a means of utilising cheaper electricity, which would be greener. I’m toying with purchasing more battery storage and fewer pv panels.

Userlevel 5
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True enough @Peter E , and for the purposes of Power Move @Sleepysusie is definitely not missing out by not having solar panels.  I’ve seen a few references on the forum to the difficulty people with PV panels experience when dark peak hour consumption is compared to daylight consumption.  And I agree absolutely about your references to storage batteries, too.

But can I ask whether you find your high-consumption devices are actually demanding more than your PV panels can provide, especially in winter? I find in the NE of England my panels produce in winter a max of maybe 300 Watts (if I’m lucky!  On the darker days in Dec and Jan they can sometimes only provide a daily total of 0.3 kWh!) which means that big stuff like a washing machine still necessitates me buying electricity outside the 4-7 slot. In other words, the solar panels contribute towards lowering my grid usage, but in winter only by a little. Even in summer my relatively small arrays really have to be belting it out to fully cover the big ticket items.

So, I find that although solar panels help me lower my consumption of bought grid electricity, they don’t by any means cover “big” items, in fact in winter I’d say they barely cover my daytime background usage; I find my weekday consumption therefore during the 4-7 slot can, with care, be made to still “look good” (i.e. under an eighth of overall weekday grid consumption). The “with care” proviso being definitely a higher bar with PV panels.

My small storage battery, small though it is, does make a huge difference, of course, as I run it at night.

I don’t have either (mentioned in my bit above) but I did consider getting solar panels at one point but my usage of the panels without batteries came out at about 45% with the rest going to SEG at only 5p/kWh which is practically giving it away. You can buy batteries and they increase the percentage usage without having to sell it but they were expensive and you still don’t get any appreciable power (~10/15%) for about five months of the year. The trouble with solar is you can generate plenty of power when you don’t need it so it doesn’t fit the way I use electricity and it can be a nightmare setting up to charge an EV from solar as well. You can see the on the Speak EV forum.

 

Instead I bought an EV and even with the high electricity prices I’m saving about £1,000 a year against fuel prices for an equivalent car. Renault Zoe vs Skoda Fabia. Charging the EV means I can relatively easily meet the 13.5% target even using the oven during the peak period some days of the week and, of course, you can use the oven as much as you like in the peak at weekends.

 

Peter

 

Userlevel 2

Thanks. I'll try defrosting the freezer. I've already switched off other stuff that doesn't need to be on.

As daft, and counterintuitive, as it sounds maybe look at increasing your electric use slightly outside the 4-7pm window. Just an extra 0.3 to 0.5kWh might be enough to tip you under the 12.5%. And yes, I'm aware of the utter ridiculousness of the situation of spending an extra £3-5/month to get a £20 account credit.

 

Can't believe we've come to this in this day and age 😭

We’ll be wearing night caps bed socks and long fleecy nightgowns and using candles like Scrooge….in the 21st century it’s unbelievable….absolutely gone to pot this country.

Userlevel 5
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If you are a lower use household (~,2,000 kWh / year) then you probably haven’t got any high power loads like an EV or a heat pump to run out of the peak to help matters. If you are not using an oven in the 4-7pm slot then your largest remaining load is probably a fridge/freezer in which case you could buy a 24 hour timer, the link below is an example (from Dunelm), and set it to be off in the 4-7pm slot. Being off in the winter for 3 hours a day (like a power cut) is unlikely to cause an significant rise in temperature inside but may cut enough peak usage to make a difference in your case. In the summer there will be no peak challenge so it can go back to 24/7 when it is important for it to be on all the time.

If you have central heating then set the timer off during the peak so the boiler/pump doesn’t ruin your efforts to get to the target. What I do is have the temperature set higher from 3-4pm to preheat the house and then ‘coast’ through the 4-7pm peak with it coming back on at 7pm. In that way you are using the house as a heat battery and it works well if you have a house with an EPC rating of C or better. Having the heating on in the evenings past the peak is actually going to improve the situation so night caps / bed socks / candles is probably not the way you should be thinking although that was probably a tongue in cheek comment.

Modern LED lights consume naff all so long as your house doesn’t look like the Blackpool Illuminations.

The trick is to be aware of everything that is sucking power through your meter and ask the question: Does it actually need to be on 24 hours a day and particularly through a weekday peak?

 

I hope that helps

 

Peter

 

https://www.dunelm.com/product/status-24-hour-compact-mechanical-plug-timer-1000020370?defaultSkuId=30085164&srsltid=AfmBOoqK1TtWg2y13A_SCiB9uFvjhQ_Cqt-kZrKXwjHmDj1cDwH1YP46FMY

Userlevel 2

I'm actually amazed that I didn't get the £20. I don't get home from work until 7pm and I was away for a week. Makes you wonder what you have to do!

You being away for the week probably actually hurt more than helped for that week. You'd be relying on your phantom load levels. Which, if no one is in, the 3 hours between 4 and 7pm is exactly 12.5% of the daily usage (regardless of how much your phantom loads are). And since the target was "less than 12.5%" according to the email I got, that week would class a fail. Literally having a couple of smart bulbs come on after 7pm for that week may have tipped that week into a pass from a fail. Admittedly if the other 3 weeks were also fails then it wouldn't have helped since they apparently take your average over the month. Mind me asking what your email said you did achieve?

 

As others have said, the ridiculousness of this whole idea is that if you already use very little electric then this target is harder to achieve than for someone who uses it like it's 2021 and just cuts back a bit for the 3 hours. Because we've been cutting back since March our usage between 4 and 7pm has to average under 200w/hr. That's so little I thought it would be unachievable, hence why I was shocked we hit 10.12%

I’ve completely had it with this stupidity. We had power cuts in the 70’s, now I’m 65 and they’re technically asking me to do my own power cut for three hours…. No Chance. I’ve worked all my days, seen my pension age increase from 60 to 65, then to 66. Paid tax all my life…I’m sure I ain’t doing any self induced suffering during the winter months. Elderly are susceptible to hypothermia as they don’t feel the cold, so then what? All because the privatised companies don’t want to use power stations. Greta in their ears about climate change while she flies around no regard for her own carbon footprint. On that note…I’m Out.

Userlevel 7
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Greta Thunberg doesn’t fly anywhere btw.

Userlevel 6
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No, don’t worry @Sleepysusie, you don’t need to do power cuts in the 4-7 slot, nothing like that at all.

 

Just  make sure that during those 3 weekday peak hours you use no more than the average of all the other weekday three hour periods. No matter whether you’re a high or a low user doesn’t signify for this incentive, just reduce your average weekday 3-hour peak period over the month to match (or preferably better slightly) your average for the all the other 3 hour weekday slots. If you’re buying, say, 8 kWh a day, try to buy no more than around 1 of those kWh in peak time, which is still around an average of 300 Watts or more per hour  -  not enough for prolonged cooking or anything like that, but loads for lighting and TV etc. 

 

Good for all the rest of the UK to watch peak hours consumption if we possibly can, and good for you too if you hit the monthly bonus.  If I recall correctly, you said you were on a Power Move percentage of around 13.8% (going off memory here. Forgive me if I’ve got that wrong)? That means if you can possibly do it you’ve only got to reduce peak hours by a very small bit to hit the 13.5%. Or indeed shift one or two jobs from the “invisible” (for Power Move purposes) weekend to a weekday if you can? Outside the 4-7 weekday slot, of course!  This is not to increase your power consumption, that would be totally counter-intuitive! 

 

Anyway, all the very best of luck, and you’re right it’s not worth agonising too much over! It helps to increase our awareness of UK peak usage times, and if we can help by organising our own consumption even a bit, then that’s all to the good.

Userlevel 1

I signed up to Power Move at the end of September & hit target in October & November. I am at home all day so know that not everyone can work around the time slot, but here are a few of my tips:

  • I have set an alarm on my phone so that I can ensure my dishwasher is switched on at 12:40 at the latest so that it finishes just before 4pm.
  • I do any laundry first thing in the morning and, if it’s wet or damp outside, I hang it up in the garage. I bring it in about 4 and put it on the heated airer which has a smart plug so that switches on at 7pm.
  • I batch cook so I always have a stock of homemade ready meals. I only really cook from scratch once a week to top up my stocks. And, while everyone makes fun of my “freezer farm” (I have 3), it saves me so much money. I have my main meal at lunchtime but it only takes a short blast in the microwave. 
  • When I do cook, I mainly use my Instant Pot on the slow cook setting so it’s costing me a fraction of the cost of putting the oven on. They use such little power that they can be run in the Power Move slot.
  • If I do have anything cooked for tea, I use the airfrier so it only takes a fraction of the time.
  • I make sure that any phone, laptop, device charging is done either before or after the time slot.
Userlevel 7
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… everyone makes fun of my “freezer farm” (I have 3), it saves me so much money.
  

 

Freezers can gobble quite a bit of electricity, especially older ones that are not so well insulated. However, it depends on where you keep them, too.

If you have a freezer in an unheated outhouse, every unit of energy it uses is ‘wasted,’ in the sense that it’s all turned into heat which will help keep the mice warmer, but not you. On the other hand, it will use quite a bit less energy in the winter because the ambient temperature is lower. 

A freezer in the ‘living space’ of your house wastes no energy: it all goes to warm up the space where it is. If your heating is thermostatically-controlled, then what the freezer emits will help reduce the amount of energy used by your heating equipment. One hopes, though, that your heating is a bit more cost-effective. 

 

Userlevel 6

I never knew that dishwashers had such a long cycle time, Whirlpool say 1.5 to 4 hours.

You live and learn.

It takes me about 10 minutes to wash even the muckiest dishes in the sink.

I find it hard to save electricity usage between 4 and 7pm. It means cooking a meal at 3 or 7, having the heating off between these hours and sitting in the dark - totally unrealistic. A friend of mine is with British Gas and gets half price electricity on Sundays, which is a great deal

Userlevel 3

Well we don’t sit in the dark we still have the lights that use very little money Xmas lights that are up on the wall. which too much hard work to take down. any way we eat after eight because l work to six sometimes just got use to the time. l try and do other things like washing and ironing early. or if l am off do it then doesn’t always work. but not going to worry if l don’t achieve target.

Userlevel 3
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I find it hard to save electricity usage between 4 and 7pm. It means cooking a meal at 3 or 7, having the heating off between these hours and sitting in the dark - totally unrealistic. A friend of mine is with British Gas and gets half price electricity on Sundays*, which is a great deal

*until the end of February

**11am to 4pm 

Userlevel 6
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Sitting in the cold and dark is most unlikely to help achieve your monthly Power Move target, I’m afraid.  And definitely not recommended.

 

Apart from cooking, is there anything else you’re doing between 4 and 7 that you could move to other times on a weekday? If there isn’t, then Power Move may not be for you…not without a fair bit of fancy footwork anyway.

 

Do have a look around on the forum, there are lots of good tips and pointers, but perhaps the most important is to check your half-hourly weekday electricity usage on your OVO online account pages.  That’s the only way you’re going to arm yourself with knowing the ins and outs of shifting weekday usage about.

Userlevel 3

I dont sit in the dark either I have rechargable  battery powered lights, they are bright enough to light a room and I have sight problems. I watch TV, a film or a book on the laptop or ipad/ I warm the room just before 4 and if necessary again at 7.15. This time of year if I have a hot meal its usually a stew, casserole or pasta with sauce all that can be cooked earlier, heated at 7 and eating by 7.15. I meet my target every month. I like getting  to day 10 or 11 before I have to start paying my bill. Gas is my biggest expense but I’ve got  my monthly bill down to about £50 a month. 

Cold no - gas heating only uses a teeny, tiny amount of electricity.

Dark no - modern lightbulbs use a bit more but not enough to worry about. 

 

Cooking is a major issue. I try to only do roasts at the weekend. In midweek, I try to do most of my cooking on a gas hob with just the occasional burst of microwave, kettle etc.. On some days, I will exceed the target %age but on others we cook using very little electricity and one day a week we go to my dad’s so that really helps to balance out the heavier usage days.

I hope that helps!

Userlevel 3
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Sorry Simon, I don’t agree with you!!!

  My normal peak load is about 500W, and I can get it down to as low as 30W, just for an hour or so, which means I can do pretty well for a Power Move Plus event (but not for Power Move itself).  I don’t know the exact breakdown of the relative (electric) power consumption of my gas CH, fridge and freezer, but by pre-heating the house, and pre-cooling the fridge & freezer, I can get down to this 30W for the event, and yesterday, I checked my electric consumption in the hour before the last event, and it was over 800W - so a definite Power Move!!  Also, I can’t see any measurable increase in (total) gas use. 

  I would therefore estimate that my fridge, freezer and CH, each use between 100W and 200W (which agrees with what I got from Google).   So, I can save between 30p and 60p for each of them.   I also turn off all lights (and use a couple of old candles and a torch instead), but as they are all either LED, or fluorescent, they only save me about 5p each.  Turning off the TV and laptop charger, and then watching Sky News on my laptop instead probably saves me something like 20p.

   Rgds,

           Steve

PS.  All costs based on the last Power Move Plus event, that paid £3 a KWh.

  

 

 

 

Userlevel 6
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I had a good opportunity to track my overall fridge/freezer, fridge and CH pump (gas combi) usage whilst we were away over the three coldest days we’ve had for a while: midday 15th to midday 18th January.  We left the CH on (low, at 10 degrees) for the cat (not that we got much thanks for that!), using about 18 pounds’ worth of gas, but the electric consumption is interesting.

 

Over those three days, the PV panels generated 9.6 kWh, unusually high for January in NE England, of which 2.9 kWh were exported. The house imported (bought) 2.6 kWh. So 9.3 kWh were consumed by the house over 72 hours, averaging around 0.13 kWh. Obviously, with nobody home except the cat, there was no appreciable difference between daytime and nighttime usage. I use a timed battery between 1530 and 0845, so daily usage calculations combine household consumption and re-charging the battery for seven hours between 0900 and 1500.

 

Granted the house is a small mid-terrace, and the heating was set low, but although there was no TV, and the lighting used only on the three brief occasions when folk checked on the cat, the router, landline ‘phone stations, doorbell transformer, four mains smoke alarms, the upright family-sized ‘fridge/freezer, the small chest freezer and the CH pump and stats etc. were all left on. This usage of around 0.1 kWh chimes with what I’ve observed during the quieter periods in the day, when we’re not using heavier stuff. In fact, at night I’d say it’s more like 0.08 kWh, and normally during the day we’d be heating by woodburner and not running the gas CH daytime or nighttime.

 

So although it’s easy for us to get confused by the two similar terms Power Move and Power Move Plus, the strategies that need to be adopted for each initiative are very different: my overall low hourly usage absolutely precludes any meaningful stab at Power Move Plus, but most definitely, as for anyone with PV panels and preferably a small storage battery, does NOT preclude Power Move. 

 

 

 

Userlevel 3

Wow I’m glad I don’t have your electricity bill I would cry. I only used 63 kWt last month

Userlevel 3

I find it hard sometimes to achieve the targets of power move. but manage the hour ones alright they seem easier for some reason. we don’t sit with heat off if we are cold we put the heating on. try to do essentials in between the times but sometimes it doesn’t happen. But l don’t get worried about it.

Userlevel 6

But l don’t get worried about it.

The best attitude of all.

Treat it as a game - you can choose to play or not.

Nobody is forcing you to join in.

Don't try to sit in the cold and dark just to play a game.

Your health is worth more than - possibly/perhaps - saving a few quid a month off your bill.

Userlevel 2

Chargers can have a significant impact, especially for low users. My phone charger alone uses 65 watts, possibly more. My MacBook uses even more. I have so many things that rely on battery technology and therefore things requiring a charge.

Things like electric shaver, electric tooth brush, tablets, Kindle etc taken together - they still all use very little power. However I ensure along with the many other things I which I'm encouraged to do according to power move, I ensure all charging is done outside the peak period.

There is something else that I seldom see mention in the group. TV and screens in general can use a lot of power. I tested this with my 42-in TV. At about 70ish% brightness, It can be drawing maybe 60 watts. If I drop the brightness down to 30, 20, that kind of thing, I can bring the power consumption right down to nearly nothing or at least negligible and yet as far as I'm concerned the picture is just fine. It also stops me from getting a headache.

I think these are things we ought to practise all the time and not just during power move if we want lower bills, care for the environment and so on. I began learning this properly when I first got a smart metre. Seeing that screen sitting there in the middle of the kitchen really drives it home.

I'm really struggling to reduce ours and I'm not sure what else I can do. I use the washing machine, dryer and dishwasher either before or after 4-7. All that is used is one ceiling light and one lamp, and around half the days there is a TV and PC as well

Userlevel 6

I'm really struggling to reduce ours and I'm not sure what else I can do. I use the washing machine, dryer and dishwasher either before or after 4-7. All that is used is one ceiling light and one lamp, and around half the days there is a TV and PC as well

Are you using gas or electricity for cooking?

If you cook on gas then that doesn’t matter at all for Power Move which is about electricity.
But if you are using an electric kettle during 4-7 then stop doing that.

The biggest effect for Power Move for most people is to not cook using electricity during 4-7, cook at other times and either eat then, or cook it earlier and just quickly reheat (eg. in the microwave) between 4-7.

To have the best effect for Power Move then to start with you have to have some regular high’ish electricty use such as cooking by electricity between 4-7, use that you can move to different times.
If you just don’t have such a high’ish use between 4-7 then there is not a lot to be moved.

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