Octopus Energy customers will be rewarded for cutting back on their energy use this winter. The supplier is taking part in the Demand Flexibility Service (DFS).
The National Grid initiative aims to get households to move their electricity use to off-peak times when there is exceptional demand. Octopus calls these events ‘Saving Sessions’. The supplier has also recently launched a new rewards scheme, Octoplus, that’s connected to its energy saving effort. It allows customers to earn points that can be redeemed for account credit and other benefits.
With the Ofgem price cap rising in January 2024, opportunities to save money with an energy tariff look set to be few and far between this winter. There are only a few options available that compete with the rates set by Ofgem’s cap. Octopus Energy’s Agile and Tracker tariffs are alternatives that may help you save. Otherwise, cutting back your energy use is the best way – see our energy saving top tips guide to see how.
So, how do Octopus Energy Saving Sessions work – and how can you get involved? Here’s everything you need to know.
Am I eligible for Octopus Saving Sessions?
Saving Sessions are open to Octopus Energy customers who get their electricity from the supplier. If you’re already signed up to Octoplus, you will automatically be eligible for the scheme. But if you’re not, look for ‘Octoplus’ in your online account. You will also need to meet the following criteria:
- Have a fully functional smart meter that sends meter readings every half-hour
- Pay via direct debit
Octopus says it will need to have received smart meter readings for at least 80% of the previous 15 days before you can take part. It needs this level of connectivity because it will regularly measure your meter readings throughout the Saving Sessions.
What are Octopus Saving Sessions?
Saving Sessions are the same thing as Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) events. You will earn credit on your electricity bills for shifting your usual energy use away from peak times of the day on dates when the National Grid needs extra support to balance itself, or is testing its capability to do so.
The events will usually last for an hour or two between 4pm and 7pm. You will be notified about the date and timings via email or through an app notification (Octopus advises its customers to make sure their app notifications are switched on) roughly a day beforehand.
You will then have to opt in to each session, if you want to take part. You can do this through your account’s dashboard. 12 test events are scheduled this winter, with further live events expected during cold snaps when the National Grid is more likely to be under strain. We have already had one test event and two live events.
The Octopus spin on the DFS (British Gas and Ovo Energy also have their own versions) is that you will earn Octopoints for saving energy rather than straight-up credit. These points can be converted into credit. But, at some point soon, they will also be redeemable against shopping and entertainment vouchers or you will be able to donate them to charity, Octopus says.
Octopus says it will run ‘Surprise Sessions’ when DFS live events occur. They follow the same principle as regular Saving Sessions, but you will likely receive more Octopoints as the National Grid will pay Octopus more for saving energy.
The supplier says these events will be announced at short notice, sometimes only a few hours before they are due to begin. It says households should subscribe to its social media accounts or WhatsApp Channel to find out when these events will run.
How much can I save through Saving Sessions?
Octopus says a typical Saving Session will net you anything between 800 to 1,000 Octopoints. For context, 800 points is equivalent to £1. Surprise Sessions will be more lucrative – although it depends on how much the National Grid needs to balance itself.
The supplier has warned that if your usage is already low at peak times, you may find it hard to save much. You may also save different amounts on different occasions because the National Grid pays suppliers different rates depending on how much energy it needs to save.
Octopus Saving Sessions money saving tips
Our energy saving guide will give you in-depth advice on how to slash your energy usage. But here are some quick tips that’ll maximise your savings through Octopus Energy’s version of DFS:
- Don’t do your washing: washing machines are intensive energy users. If you normally use them at peak hours, you will earn more in credit during Saving Sessions. The same goes for your dishwasher and tumble dryer.
- Batch cook off-peak: cooking away from peak hours (4pm to 7pm on weekdays) should cut your energy use back significantly compared to normal. To heat up your meal, use the hob or a microwave rather than an oven.
- Prepare a flask of tea: if you tend to guzzle tea during peak hours, plan ahead. By boiling the kettle before a Saving Session and using an insulated flask, you will cut back your usage by enough to earn you some Octopoints.
- Switch everything off at the wall: by turning your appliances off at the plug, you are likely to cut back your energy use.
- Be strict with your timings: if you want to earn a meaningful amount of Octopoints, you’ll have to make sure you’re avoiding peak times as much as possible during Saving Sessions.