Rising Electricity Prices and Updated Splunk Dashboard
In June this year, we got an email from our electricity company (Neon Reef) saying that their prices per kWh were increasing from 12.24 pence per kWh to 17.89 pence per kWh and a standing rate of 13.51 pence per day to 22.56 pence per day!! This spurred me to look for a new tariff as although the new rate wasn’t too bad compared to the competition, potentially there were other ways to save money that we weren’t utilising because of the previously cheap rates with Neon Reef.
In July, we transferred over to Octopus as there were a few interesting tariffs that we could swap to but we’d have to get a smart meter to benefit from those tariffs. Most people reading this will probably wonder why we hadn’t got a smart meter already… the main reason is that the “smart meters” being installed aren’t nearly as smart as the custom dashboard I have at home to monitor electricity usage so I’ve avoided the smart meters at all costs until now.
Signing up for a smart meter install was very simple with Octopus. The online account page displayed a big banner saying “we’re installing in your area, get your smart meter now”, so did a bit of research to check that most smart meters would have an impulse light and then signed up for an install on the 27th July.
While we were waiting for the install date, I continued to research smart meters and stumbled across a youtube video about problems with smart meters and the Tesla Powerwall 2! https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/-Z33ZGs-BlA I was starting to think that perhaps I’d done the wong thing in signing up for the smart meter :S Luckily Octopus energy had a blog post which explained that they were aware of the issue and it only affected one specific meter and that they were replacing meters for those customers with such a setup https://octopus.energy/blog/perils-working-tech-innovators/. I let the install proceed…
Five days before the install, I got an automated email from AES with a link to “You can let us know if you have any concerns with your unique customer reference” which didn’t work of course, so I emailed them to say that the link didn’t work + let them know I had a Tesla Powerwall – no response…
On the day of the install, the installer arrived and I immediately asked what type of meter was being installed and notified him that I had a Tesla Powerwall and that there were incompatibilities with a certain L+G meter. He assured me that the meter would be fine as it’s brand new, so it can’t possibly be one of the affected meters. A few hours later, he’d installed the meter (it took a few hours because AES’ systems were offline for a few hours!) and we took a look at it while the installer was still here. It looked an awful lot like the one we weren’t supposed to have installed with a Tesla Powerwall… I questioned the installer who said it couldn’t possibly be the one – showed him the email from Tesla with pictures of the one that you shouldn’t get installed but as far as he was concerned, he’d installed the meter he had been assigned to install and the job was complete. There was little point trying to get him to say it was the incompatible one so he left and I immediately phoned Octopus.
The lady from Octopus was very helpful and said that they would investigate further although she did at first say they were no longer installing incompatible meters. A couple of days later we got an email from the lady at Octopus saying they were still investigating followed by another email + phone call the day after saying the meter was going to be replaced! I can only assume it was the incompatible meter as the email didn’t say much more than “your meter exchange has been booked…”.
Even though we were waiting for a new-new meter to be installed, the current one was sending data to Octopus every 30 minutes and that enabled us to tick the boxes on some of Octopus’ smart tariffs 🙂
We swapped over to Octopus Go on the 7th of August under the May 21 Octopus Go tariff rates! This proved to be one of the jammiest switches I’ve made given the current variable rates for electricity! Octopus Go gives a cheap 4 hour window between 00:30 and 04:30 at 5 pence per kWh with the remaining time being at peak rate. Octopus Go is primarily targeted at electric car owners so they can charge at a cheaper rate overnight when the grid is being used less but the good thing about the Go tariff is that you can use the power for other things during that window, e.g. use the washing machine, dishwasher, or even charge the Tesla Powerwall! With a little bit of effort to predict the day aheads usage + weather, we can fill up the Tesla Powerwall with cheap power 😀
With the introduction of Octopus Go into our house, we now needed a way to see how much power we’ve imported at peak rate vs. off-peak to try to encourage off-peak usage. A quick update to the Splunk dashboard and we now have three new figures (total imported today, imported at peak rate and imported at off-peak rate) to show the import split.
It’s also quite useful to see peak and off-peak import data over time though, so there’s now graphs for that too:
You can see from the above that in the last two months, we’ve managed to shift 50% of our monthly usage to the off-peak time, saving quite a bit of money! Unfortunately the solar generation in August and September this year, combined with charging the car (at home vs. free at work) haven’t been great for us, hence the higher import figures than previous years.
Continuing the saga of the incompatible smart meter, we had the new-old (incompatible L+G) smart meter swapped out on the 1st of September by another installer from AES. This time we were given an EDMI branded smart meter. The installer also got the in house display (IHD) working for the first time – it hadn’t worked since being setup on the 27th July. I didn’t really need the IHD but it might come in useful at some point I guess.
It’s still early days with the EDMI meter but I am noticing that it differs from the Tesla Powerwall readings, particularly on a day when the Powerwall should be providing all of the houses power requirements.
It’s certainly been a bit stressful at times getting the new smart meter installed and I’d warn any other Tesla Powerwall owner thinking of getting a smart meter installed to check with their supplier pre-install, which type of meter they might install, to save some hassle! There was one significant problem with the meter swaps (to do with a fuse) that has made the process that bit more stressful and annoying but that’s still in the process of being resolved, so I can’t write anymore on it at the moment.
For anyone interested in swapping to Octopus, with this code: https://share.octopus.energy/pearl-kiwi-951, you can get £50 credit, plus I will get £50 credit for referring you to Octopus 🙂