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I thought I would start a new thread about getting the best electricity tariff to most economically charge you EV, and share my research.

Our family have had a Nissan Leaf since July 2017 as the second family car, used for all of our short journeys, and we do over 17,000 miles a year. We've never really thought carefully about our electricity tariff other than using the Flipper auto switching service. I thought I would do some research now with a view to getting the lowest rate.

However I have realised that that the Flipper service does not seem to take into account Economy 7 tariffs where electricity is cheaper overnight. Currently we simply plug in our Leaf at the end of the day (typically around 6pm) and let it charge. We have the 6.6 kW (fast charge) version which takes less than 6 hours to fully charge so I am considering getting an Economy 7 tariff which gives cheaper rates (typically 7 hours overnight in a period between 10 pm and 8:30 am)

1. In general do those on here use Economy 7 to get lower cost charging?
2. How do you go about assessing which tariff to go for?
3. What pence per Kw rate to you typically pay for charging at home?


I thought I would do some analysis. Currently I am with a supplier called Symbio Energy on an electricity only taffis as follows:
Name: Symbio Energy Mega Monthly Plan July 19
Type: Single Rate Only
Standing Charge: 18 pence per day
Pence per Kw 11.01p

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My typical usages per month (for everything not just EV charging) is 1164.68 KwH so my monthly electricity charge is ~£128

Looking at my current supplier, they offer a tariff with the following:

Name: Symbio Energy Fair and Green March 20 Fixed
Type: Dual Rate
Standing Charge: 23 pence per day
Day Rate Pence per Kw 8.788p
Night Rate Pence per Kw 11.122p
** Bizarrely the day rate is less than the night rate which I don't quite understand **

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I have compared this with the best rates that comparison sites give me.

Symbio Energy tell me
- I can switch to the Fair and Green March 20 Fixed rate for nothing and they will fit an Economy 7 meter for free (which I don't currently have)
- I will be locked into these rates for year
- After that, I can switch to any supplier and the meter can be used for other suppliers rates.

Doing some analysis, crudely for a minimal (5p per day) increase in standing charge, as the day rate is much lower than my as-is and the night rate is only 0.112 pence more expensive, it makes sense for me to switch) and if I manage to use most energy during the day, I will save (due to the day rate being 8.788 p rather than the 11.01 p I currently pay). If my analysis is correct I will save over £20/month.

128897


Also comparison sites seem to only offer me rates higher than that rate, so I think I will stick with Symbio Energy and lock in for the year.

I'd interesting to hear what others think and how you optimise your at home EV charging costs. I guess I should be looking at eco tariffs where the energy is guaranteed to be renewable, so if there is a good option there that is also low cost that would be optimal.

Thank you in advance for any advice, comments or questions.

Cheers,

WarwickBoy
 

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My advice. Bin Flipper and make your own price comparisons. Have a look at Octopus Go or Agile for electricity and Zog for gas.
 

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Yes, E7 here but I was already using it for storage heaters.

I'd suggest you go on Uswitch or a similar site and do a calculation with a single rate and a calculation with all your car units (and maybe washing machine usage) put down as the night rate on an Economy 7 option.

If that gives you cheaper electricity, go for it. Though as above, Octopus might be your best option if you have a smart meter.

My EDF fix at the moment is 21p day rate, and 8p night rate.
 

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I use E7 (already had it due to storage heaters). Am with Utility Warehouse Club, 7.2p(+VAT) overnight, 21.918p(+VAT) daytime.

With smart meters being installed which can give readings every half hour, I imagine rigidly fixed time of day tariffs such as E7 will become a thing of the past and more flexible timings and prices (such as Octopus Agile) will become more available so that we can make use of daytime surpluses of wind and solar power.
 

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I went to E7 shortly after buying my Ampera, I had worked out that it was using more electricity than the house was and so switched. I've since switch suppliers twice and now with Bulb.
 

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One problem is that none of the comparison sites include EV specific tariffs - there is a list on Zap Map EV Energy Tariffs: home tariffs designed for EV drivers - Zap-Map ( They've tarted it up since I last looked ). But be careful - some of these require duel fuel with expensive gas so calculate your overall bill and the prices don't show regional variations or standing charges.

I also got a quote from symbio for my region and the day rate was higher than the night rate so I think there was a problem with the OP's quoted price. However the 11p rate on both the standard and e7 tariffs from Symbio are very good compared to the rest of the market.


Fair and Green March 20 Fixed

About your electricity tariff
SupplierSymbio Energy Limited
Tariff nameFair and Green March 20 Fixed *
Tariff type12Months Fixed-D **
Payment methodDirect Debit***
Day unit rate11.530 p per kWh
Night unit rate9.120 p per kWh
Standing charge23.000 p per day
Tariff ends on31 March 2020
Price guaranteed until31 March 2021
Exit fees(if you change supplier before the end date)£25.00
Discounts & additional charges0
Additional products or services includedNot Applicable
Estimated Electricity Cost for this Tariff
Assumed Annual Consumption12000.000kWh
Estimated Annual Cost£ 1322.95
 

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I would definitely recommend go for your usage and charger. You get a free £50 using my or any other code. Pretty much allows you to get the entire car usage on 5p/kw. I am on octopus agile and usually daytime hovers around 8p night 5ish and on windy days closer to 1p. The drawback is watching out for that 4-7pm peak where it is more expensive. My usage is 1000kw/mo 500 for the car so around £50/mo house and £20 for the car.
 

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I'm also on Bulb, on E7.

When I switched to E7, I found it worked out pretty much evens at about 7.5k miles per year, plus dishwasher and washing machine on overnight. However, I do have solar PV which helps offset the more expensive daytime rate, but makes spreadsheeting the benefit almost impossible.

If you don't have solar PV, the benefit should be easy to spreadsheet.
 

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I've been on E7 since building the house (20 years ago). It was marginally cheaper just by using washing machine, tumble dryer & dishwasher overnight but became definitely better when I bought first EV. It also helps that our solar panels reduce daytime demand.

Currently paying 8.2ppu (Bulb, East Midlands) but about to switch to Octopus Go when o/p rate should drop to 5ppu

I can make that work as 4hrs @ 6.6kW should allow a daily mileage of 80 or so miles which is more than our average usage. Might be a problem if I have more than two consecutive above average days but that's very unusual and in any case the Go day rate is only approx 14ppu (or I could pop down to Tesco for a couple of hours :devilish: ).

Anyone regularly needing more than 4 hours charging per day would be better off with a traditional E7 tariff.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the inputs girls and guys.

Looking at the options you have recommended the following look good for me to be used in conjunction with the charging timer on my Leaf.
  • Octopus Go tariff
  • British Gas Electric Drivers Energy Plan Sep 2010
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I like the look of Octopus as they are 100% renewable energy and appear to have no exit fees And even though their Go tariff off peak rate of 5p only applies for 4 hours (between 00:30 and 04:30) if I set the Leaf to charge from 00:31 to 04:29 that should typically take it too a fairly full charge. Their standing charge of 25p and day rate is a little higher at 13.45p but I'm sure that will be offset by night EV charging (as washing/dishwashing too).

I also think I'll investigate generation as a long term option. Need to assess whether my current home is my 'forever home' as I assume most generation systems you can't take with you when you move?
 

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The meter
Thanks for all the inputs girls and guys.

Looking at the options you have recommended the following look good for me to be used in conjunction with the charging timer on my Leaf.
  • Octopus Go tariff
  • British Gas Electric Drivers Energy Plan Sep 2010
View attachment 128917

I like the look of Octopus as they are 100% renewable energy and appear to have no exit fees And even though their Go tariff off peak rate of 5p only applies for 4 hours (between 00:30 and 04:30) if I set the Leaf to charge from 00:31 to 04:29 that should typically take it too a fairly full charge. Their standing charge of 25p and day rate is a little higher at 13.45p but I'm sure that will be offset by night EV charging (as washing/dishwashing too).

I also think I'll investigate generation as a long term option. Need to assess whether my current home is my 'forever home' as I assume most generation systems you can't take with you when you move?
The meters are no cost. You don’t take them with yo but you can apply again in a new home.
 

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Octopus Go is really good, they are a nice company and they have some other options which allow you to vary the time window (shorter for a cheaper price, longer for a more expensive price). The per-day fixed fee is slightly higher than their other tariffs. If you don’t have a smart meter they are now fitting them, and the £50 switch bung (I can share a code if you like) will tide you over even if the cost is slightly higher than your existing supplier in the short term.
 

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I would suggest Octopus as well. Prices are better than all others I have looked at. They don't come up on the camparision sites so hard to compare them that way. They do have Go Faster where you can have more hours for a slightly high price if 4 hours isn't enough, I think 5 hours for 6p but you probably need to be on Go already to request the option.
If you do decide to switch to Octopus the quickest way to get onto Go is to get a a SMETTS2 smart meter installed by your current supplier before you switch, if they are installing them. Octopus seem to have a longer wait for a smart meter than the Big 6 at least. Make sure it is SMETTS2 though, which they all should be now.
Also make sure you use someones referal code to get the £50 credit for both parties.
Octopus aren't the quickest to respond to emails but I have found they do get things sorted and are fair with sorting issues,paying compensation etc.

I am on Agile and use double the KWH you are using but my bill for Feb was about the same as yours and about £150 in January. I am careful to select the cheapest times each evening for charging the car and also heat the hot water tank at the cheapest half hours. It takes a few minutes every day but if you don't mind doing that the cost per kWh can be kept low, my is around 6p overall average. It takes effort and I can select up to 4 timer slots each evening but for the amount we use it is worth the effort for the savings we make.
 

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  • Octopus Go tariff
  • British Gas Electric Drivers Energy Plan Sep 2010
"Which? Recommended Providers for energy 2020
For the first time ever, we’ve awarded three companies Which? Recommended Provider status. These are Octopus Energy, Pure Planet and So Energy.
"

British Gas aren't on the list ... :unsure:
 

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Have a look at EDF's EV tariff. It's cheap rate is 8p per unit, but that's for 10 hours a night during the week and all-day at weekends. We have 2 EVs and one charger, so would struggle with the Octopus 4-hour window.
 

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I'm trying to work my way through the myriad of options and spreadsheet hell.

Currently with Shell, contrat end in June and will not be renewing. Plus there's a penalty clause for terminating early, so May should be perfect.

I have Solar and I have smart Meters so that should help.

I can't seem to find anywhere that does comparisons for E7 and EV.

I would prefer the E7 option and in this respect EDF seems good, but they have a 25p per day standing charge, but the lower overnight and weekend rate may compensate.

I will look at Bulb, Pure Planet, So Energy and the Octopus one, hows does the referral thing work?

Any opinions welcomed.
 

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I will look at Bulb, Pure Planet, So Energy and the Octopus one, hows does the referral thing work?

Any opinions welcomed.
For Octopus, you just need to sign up by clicking on someone's referral link. Then you will get £50 automatically added to your account once the switch is complete.

Once you are switched over you can then request to be moved onto the GO tariff.
 

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You just have to compare yourself with a spreadsheet. If you don't already have a smart meter you'll need to guestimate how much of your current electricity usage is "background usage", i.e. things that are just on all the time (e.g. fridge, freezer, electronic devices). You also need to guestimate how much charging you'll actually be able to do during off-peak times.

Here's the spreadsheet I made for this purpose. Data needs to be entered into the grey cells and then it'll work out which tariff is cheapest overall. If you make your own copy you can see that with my numbers, I'd need to keep my average charging hours to under 6 per day for Octopus Go to be cheaper than my current tariff. You can either File -> Make a copy... or File -> Download to play with it yourself.

Overall, I think something like Octopus Agile will be better for EV owners in general than Economy 7. Exceptions would include people that regularly need to charge for more than 4 hours per day or people who already have Economy 7 due to having storage heaters, for example.
 

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Be aware that Agile is a spot tariff. History is no guarantee of the future. Indications are that it will be relatively low looking forward. Power prices are driven by gas prices, the daily patterns of demand and also of wind and solar production. Gas is more expensive in the winter and solar output is higher in the summer but generally still summer months are cheaper than winter.
It has been a mild winter, so gas and power prices have been low (also because of the recent windy weather).
With the impact of COVID-19 who knows what will happen to power demand (it will probably fall) and also production (I don't expect supply chain interruptions - certainly not in wind farms(!) and almost certainly not in gas) but who knows?
Here is my share code Octopus Energy : you get £50 and so do I. I will donate mine to the local food bank.
 
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