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Octopus Energy pays customers to charge EV car or use oven on Saturday

Energy giant Octopus is to set to pay customers to turn on their washing machines and ovens and charge their electric cars on Saturday amid predictions of ‘negative pricing’ – and customers with British Gas, EON and other firms could save money on their next spin cycle too.

A predicted excess of ‘green electricity’ from windfarms and solar panels on Saturday afternoon means thousands of its customers will be paid to turn on their washing machines and other household appliances.

At the same time, people with electric cars could also effectively be paid to ‘fill up’ their battery using a home charger.

The payment would take the form of a rebate on their energy bills – currently estimated at 4p for every kilowatt hour of energy they use – during the afternoon.

A final decision on whether this negative pricing – named plunge pricing by Octopus – will come into effect is due to made at around 4pm this afternoon.

The option is only available to customers signed up to the Octopus Energy Agile tariff which varies energy prices during the day based on demand.

The tariff is linked to households with smart meters, which provide real time information on household electricity and gas usage.

The Octopus Energy scheme is seen as setting a template for how households across the country will be charged for energy in the future.

At times of high demand, typically the peak period between 4pm and 7pm, households will be charged higher rates in what amounts to rationing by price.

By contrast, customers will be offered very low charges – and even rebates – to use energy at points of low demand. This would normally be through the night or in the early hours of the morning.

Explaining the policy, Octopus Energy said: “Across the UK, whenever more electricity is generated than consumed, energy prices fall – sometimes to the point where prices drop below zero, and suppliers are paid to take energy off the grid.”

The company said its ‘world first’ plunge pricing offer “lets you take advantage of these negative price events, and get paid for the electricity you use”.

Its system sends out alerts to customers when prices drop below zero. Customers can then program their household devices to turn on and off to take advantage of the saving.

Excitement over the prospect of negative prices on Saturday were raised by the independent energy price predictor called “Octopus Agile Predictor”.

It gave details of its prediction on X under the headline “SUPER MEGA NEGATIVE PRICING ALERT!!”

It expects that the figure overnight on Friday through Saturday morning would be a low rate of 7p per kilowatt hour for electricity, followed by a period of minus 4p per kilowatt hour in the afternoon. It jumps up to 35p during the evening peak.

The company has no official connection to Octopus Energy, however industry insiders said it has a good track record.

One customer responded via X saying: “Was going to do the washing today but might just wait to tomorrow.”

Electric car owners were thrilled, with one saying: “Car charging is back on the menu boys!”

Other companies offer their own incentives to switch energy use to times when demand is low. For example, British Gas offers PeakSave Sundays where electricity is charged at half price between 11am and 4pm.

EDF operates a ‘Beat the Peak’ scheme where customers can earn money by using less electricity when demand is high. The firm sends out an email to eligible customers, confirming when to cut usage. Participants can earn up to £3 for every kwh of electricity that is reduced within the allocated time.

Most companies offer cheaper off-peak electricity tariffs through the night under the name of Economy 7. Customers who might typically be charged 20p per unit of electricity during the day will be charged just 10p through the night.

While this would seem the logical time to use the washing machine, dishwasher and tumble dryer, fire safety experts warn against this because of safety concerns.


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