Alexa, what time of day will my energy be cheapest? Octopus teams up with Amazon – and will PAY customers to use electricity at off-peak periods
- Households can ask Alexa what time of day is cheapest for electricity
- It is hoped customers will save money and help curb their carbon emissions
- Could this be the future of energy billing in Britain?
An energy company is partnering with Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, to help customers control their usage, including finding out what time of day their electricity will be at its cheapest.
Octopus Energy has announced the integration of Agile Octopus, Britain’s only ‘smart’ time-of-use tariff, making it the first energy company to combine real time energy pricing with voice automation.
It could indicate what energy suppliers may eventually starting using smart meter data for – and the firm will even pay customers who set electricity usage at off-peak times.
Help: Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, will help energy customers find out their energy usage
The aim is to give customers full clarity of their energy consumption while managing their usage via Alexa, the voice automated assistant.
Customers can ask Alexa a number of questions about their energy usage, such as when their electricity will be at its cheapest or its most expensive, allowing them to make choices about when they want to schedule heavy energy consumption, such as charging an electric car.
They can also ask what the current electricity price is, what it was at a specific time, what it will be as a specific time as well as what their own electricity consumption for the day before, the week and the month was.
Not only could this help consumers save money, it can also help curb their carbon emissions, Octopus claims.
Agile Octopus works by offering customers access to half-hourly energy prices which are tied to wholesale prices and are updated daily.
Therefore, when wholesale prices drop, so do customers’ bills – which is especially convenient if they can use electricity outside of peak times, between 4pm and 7pm each day.
Agile Octopus customers can also opt in to receive text alerts whenever prices drop below zero, where they will be paid to use energy.
This happens when more electricity is generated than consumed and suppliers are paid to take energy off the grid.
But on the flipside, suppliers could eventually see when your household energy usage peaks – and jack up the price accordingly.
Customers can actually get paid to use energy on Agile Octopus when prices drop below zero
To be eligible to access the Agile tariff, customers must have a Secure brand smart electricity meter.
The tariff is also only available for electricity prices and not gas as they tend to not vary throughout the day.
It was initially launched last February, Octopus says in a bid to see consumers modify their energy usage to consume more of their electricity and gas at off peak times.
According to the supplier – who currently supply over 600,000 UK domestic households – this can save customers up to £229 when compared with the large legacy supplier standard tariff.
In December, Octopus also integrated Agile with platform If This Then That – this allows users to link various devices and apps together to automate energy usage.
This means users can automatically turn on their smart home technology when electricity is at its cheapest.
By linking with intelligent devices, including smart plugs and appliances such as Hive, Tado and Philips Hue, customers can optimise their homes by automatically adjust their energy usage based on the half-hourly energy price changes.
Greg Jackson, chief executive of Octopus, said: ‘Our integration with Amazon Alexa lets customers interact with their energy in an entirely new way.
‘By integrating with a service used by millions, we hope to popularise the energy efficient smart homes needed sustainable future and save customers money in the process.
‘Smart homes are fundamental to the transition to a carbon free energy system.
‘By ensuring consumers see energy consumption as dynamic, and in providing the right technology, we aim to reimagine how people think about how they use energy.’
Alexa is currently enabled in over 100million devices around the world that manage many different areas of the smart home, including lights, door locks, heaters and more, allowing customers to couple Octopus-provided rates with a large range of smart home capabilities.