Ovo to pay some smart meter customers £10 a month for cutting their electricity usage at peak times – here's what you need to know
Some Ovo customers with a smart meter can now earn £10 a month in bill credit by lowering their energy usage during peak times. If you can get it, it's a no brainer – but you should still consider and keep an eye out for cheaper fixed deals, as they could save you more money in the long term.
The energy supplier first trialled its 'Power Move' scheme with a limited number of customers between 1 November 2022 and 31 March 2023. Under the scheme, households that reduced their energy use during peak times were offered up to £20 a month.
Now, Ovo is relaunching the scheme all year-round to more customers, offering a flat rate of £10 a month in bill credit for reducing their electricity usage during set times, as well as adding new 'challenges' every three months.
You'll need a working smart meter to take part
The scheme is only available to Ovo customers with a non-prepay smart meter for electricity that provides half-hourly readings.
If your smart meter isn't configured to provide half-hourly meter readings, you'll need to contact Ovo's support team to enable this.
If you don't yet have a smart meter, you can book an installation on Ovo's website and join once your new meter's up and running.
You also need to actively sign up to Power Move online
Just log into your online Ovo account and you should be able to find Power Move in the 'Path to Zero' section, where you can follow the steps to join. If you join partway through the month, you'll still be able to earn a pro rata reward provided you meet the criteria.
Once you've signed up to the Power Move scheme, you need to then make sure you opt in to take part each time there's a new challenge. You should receive an email from Ovo inviting you to do this via your online account.
How Ovo's expanded Power Move scheme works
Here are the key need-to-knows:
- Power Move will now run year-round with different 'challenges' every three months. You'll be able to sign up to the scheme at any point and start taking part in the challenges, which will vary depending on the time of year and average consumption rates.
- For the first challenge, which launched this month, you can get £10 bill credit for every month you reduce your usage between the hours of 4pm and 7pm to 12.5% or less of your daily total. Your electricity usage will only be measured on weekdays (excluding bank holidays) and you'll need to make sure that over the course of the calendar month, your average usage during peak times is 12.5% or less of your daily usage.
So, for example, if you normally use 8kWh (units) of electricity per day, you’ll need to ensure that no more than 1kWh of this is used during the peak period on average. You can use more or less on certain days, as long as your monthly average is 12.5% or below. Ovo will send you an email letting you know if you hit this target.
According to Ovo, reducing your peak-time energy consumption to 12.5% of your average daily usage is the equivalent of moving any of the following activities from peak to off-peak hours during the week:
- One meal cooked in the oven for an hour; or
- Three dishwasher loads; or
- Four loads of washing.
- Any credit you earn will be applied to your account the following month. So hit your monthly target in September, for example, and your credit will be applied to your account in October. If your account is in a negative balance, the credit will be put to any money owed.
Earlier this year, British Gas announced a similar scheme offering certain customers half-price electricity on Sundays to help reduce high energy demand. We've asked the other major suppliers – E.on, EDF, Octopus, Shell and Utilita – if they plan on introducing similar initiatives and will update this story when we hear back.
Keep an eye out for cheap fixes which could save you more in the long run
The Power Move offer is a no-brainer if you're an existing Ovo customer who meets the criteria, as you won't lose anything by opting in: if you don't reduce your usage enough, you're not penalised for it – you just don't get the reward.
But if you're not with Ovo and are thinking of switching to take part, it may be worth first having a look at other providers' switching deals – particularly if you'll struggle to cut your daily usage significantly during peak times.
For example, the current top fixed deal is with Octopus Energy. It's offering all existing customers (though you can switch to it and get the tariff, assuming it's still available by the time you've switched) a fixed deal at 6% below the current energy Price Cap.
If you're on Ovo's standard tariff and you hit your usage reduction target to earn the £10 monthly credit, this would also be an annual saving of about 6% versus the current Price Cap. But this isn't certain, as we don't yet know what rewards Ovo will offer on future challenges after the first three months. So, in reality, your Power Move savings could be lower (or higher) – whereas a fixed energy tariff would give you more certainty about your bills.
For full our analysis of all the new and existing customer tariffs we know about, see our Is it time to fix your energy? guide.
If you're thinking of switching to Ovo, it's also worth keeping in mind that energy regulator Ofgem recently ordered Ovo to improve its customer service after concerns were raised over the energy firm's complaints handling.