Octopus launches Power-ups, free energy when the sun shines and the wind blows

Energy and technology company Octopus Energy has teamed up with UK Power Networks, the country’s largest electricity distribution network operator, to offer households free energy to help the grid exploit excess renewable power.

Participating customers will get free electricity when there is excess electricity on the local grid from abundant renewables. Based on UK Power Networks’ forecasts, Octopus will send customers a notification of the times they can ‘Power-ups’ their homes for free a day in advance.

In recent years, the transmission grid has begun to face challenges of imbalance when energy supply exceeds demand (such as sunny or windy weather leading to excess renewably generated power). Innovative grid operators like UK Power Networks are currently looking into alternative means of balancing the grid, to avoid turning off these renewable generators during surplus.

Octopus has long championed a far better solution – unlock this energy to benefit customers, reduce consumption at other times, avoid wastage, stabilise the grid and most importantly put money back into customer’s pockets.

Last winter, Octopus spearheaded the first ‘demand response’ project ever run by National Grid’s Demand Flexibility Service (DFS). 700,000 Octopus Energy customers signed up to use less at times of stress on the grid – and diverted £5.4 million to UK householders rather than gas power plants.

Octopus and UK Power Networks also have a history in innovation. In 2019 the pair launched ‘Powerloop’, the first ever vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial where participating customers were paid each time they discharged energy from their electric car back to the grid.

Alex Schoch, Head of Flexibility at Octopus Energy Group, said: “Thanks to Octopus’ proprietary technology rewarding ‘demand turn up’, we no longer need to switch off bountiful solar and wind power when consumers can use it up for free instead. It’s good for the grid and good for the planet – a win for everybody. ‘Power-ups’ is yet another arrow in the quiver of ‘demand flexibility’ and it’s great to work with an innovator like UK Power Networks.”

Sotiris Georgiopoulos, Director of Distribution System Operator at UK Power Networks said: “In response to growing volumes of renewable power, UK Power Networks is the first distribution system operator to call for ‘demand turn up’. We’re delighted to have seen a strong response to the requirements we issued in December, including from innovators like Octopus. Tapping into customer flexibility means we can connect more renewable energy, keeping costs down for our customers.”

Customers interested in joining ‘Power-ups’ can check their eligibility and sign up here: https://octopus.energy/power-ups/. Sign up opens on 9th August 2023 and dates/times of ‘Power-ups’ will vary.

Octopus Energy wants to work with networks across the UK on Power-ups, and customers can let us know if they want Power-ups in their local area here.

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