Electricity Supplier ?

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I could put my dishwasher/washing machine etc. on a smart plug however they require the pushing of a "start" button to actually start, just the supply of power will not start them.
That point has already been made. However, it's also been observed that many (like mine) do have a 'delayed start' facility - albeit of limited usefulness (at least, with my appliances).

Kind Regards, John
 
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@StephenStephen , everything you say, and are currently enjoying, appears to relate to Octopus. Whilst you are right in saying that (Octopus's) dynamic TOU tariffs are available to anyone with a 'smart' meter' (since any of them are free to contract with Octopus), the reality is that relatively few currently do (since Octopus still has a pretty small market share) and, even of those that do, far from all of them will micromanage their electricity usage in the way that they could (and you do).

This brings us back to the fact that making substantial savings by having a dynamic TOU tariff (which requires a 'smart' meter) is something only possible whilst (as at present) only a small minority of consumers have, and are making optimal use of, such tariffs - and those 'substantial savings' are ultimately at the expense of 'the majority' who are not enjoying those 'savings'.

The more effective such tariffs become in achieving their main aim (primarily to achieve supply./demand balance throughout the 24 hours of the day), and the more people take full advantage of those tariffs, the less will be the opportunities for anyone to make significant 'savings'. The closer we approach the situation in which supply/demand is optimally balanced throughout the day, the less difference will there be between cost at different times of day - so, ultimately, we would approach the situation in which everyone was paying the same as everyone else, and the same regardless of when they used the electricity.

So, as I said before, I think that we're really in a 'honeymoon period', during which a few can enjoy substantial cost savings at the expense of the majority of consumers - but, as above, I can't see that lasting - and if/when we ever have highly automated systems widely deployed, that will presumably effectively preclude anyone paying appreciably less (or more) than anyone else for their electricity?

Kind Regards, John
 
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At the endof the day providing electricity has a definitive cost, that cost is easily divided by the amount generated and delivered to the customer. As John says they can only provide it at a loss if someone else is paying for it.

It's very comparible with automative fuel prices where diesel was always a fraction of the price of petrol and the moment the useage ratio changed, diesel tax increased to more than that of petrol.
 
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- The definitive cost of electricity changes quite quickly over time - for example: there are times when it is cheaper to have consumers use electricity than for producers to ramp down their production - ie; sometimes the cost is negative, and there are times when more expensive electricity generation needs to be switched on or ramped up, and these changes can take place in a matter of minutes and hours rather than days, so there's not really very much that's definitive about it.
- Most of the micromanagement in this household is undertaken by software - myenergi manages the immersion heater, crowdcharge manages the car charger, and OctopusWatch tells me when to set the dishwasher...

Yes, it will be interesting to see what happens as EV's and automation bring the grid more into balance - there will necessarily be an ongoing recalibration of the TOU tariffs so that there's still enough financial advantage to move it towards effectively balancing, but not so much that it sends it out of balance in the opposite direction - and greater need for diversity of timings - we're alrady seeing this with EV TOU tariffs becoming more diverse than the initial 00:30 till 4:30 cruder versions...

I'm not sure about the maths of TOU tariff savings being at the expense of non TOU tariff savings. Can you say more about how that would operate?
 
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The more effective such tariffs become in achieving their main aim (primarily to achieve supply./demand balance throughout the 24 hours of the day), and the more people take full advantage of those tariffs, the less will be the opportunities for anyone to make significant 'savings'. The closer we approach the situation in which supply/demand is optimally balanced throughout the day, the less difference will there be between cost at different times of day - so, ultimately, we would approach the situation in which everyone was paying the same as everyone else, and the same regardless of when they used the electricity.

That will be effectively balanced by the market, on a cost basis. The cheaper per unit the more switch on, the more expensive, the fewer will take advantage.
 
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At the endof the day providing electricity has a definitive cost, that cost is easily divided by the amount generated and delivered to the customer. As John says they can only provide it at a loss if someone else is paying for it.

It's very comparible with automative fuel prices where diesel was always a fraction of the price of petrol and the moment the useage ratio changed, diesel tax increased to more than that of petrol.

The idea is to balance the load through the 24 hours, because starting and stopping generation incurs costs and traditionally the night hours was the time they were in surplus. It wasn't so much a matter of others paying for the reduced price off-peak, as it being less wasteful to sell the surplus cheaper - thus saving those not able to use it some of the cost.
 
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I'm not sure about the maths of TOU tariff savings being at the expense of non TOU tariff savings. Can you say more about how that would operate?
The cost of generating/distributing electricity during a particular hour on a particular day (with a particular demand) is a fixed quantity. The total cost of that generation, plus overheads and profit, has to be recovered from the amounts paid by consumers. In a 'fair' situation, they would all pay at the appropriate same rate.

If some people, because they have a dynamic TOU tariff, are paying less than that 'fair' rate for electricity during that hour (i.e. 'making a saving') that can only be because some or all the others are paying more than the 'fair' rate - otherwise the maths wouldn't work.

Kind Regards, John
 
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- The definitive cost of electricity changes quite quickly over time - for example: there are times when it is cheaper to have consumers use electricity than for producers to ramp down their production - ie; sometimes the cost is negative, and there are times when more expensive electricity generation needs to be switched on or ramped up, and these changes can take place in a matter of minutes and hours rather than days, so there's not really very much that's definitive about it.
Yes, but with the one exception (which we've already discussed) of wind generation, the optimal constant level of generation is essentially fixed, so that the supply/demand varuiations you're talking about are largely down to variations in demand, not supply. Hence, if the measures we are talking about results in us approaching a situation in which demand is constant (throughout the 24h), then the only substantial variation in supply/demand will be due to changes in wind generation...

... and, as I've said, changes in wind generation are more likely to be over days than "minutes or hours" - and so, as previously discussed, probably not realistically addressed by "DOU" tariffs!
- Most of the micromanagement in this household is undertaken by software - myenergi manages the immersion heater, crowdcharge manages the car charger, and OctopusWatch tells me when to set the dishwasher...
As I've repeatedly said, once the system is largely automated, it should 'work' - but, as recently explained, only in the sense that those who have such systems will benefit financially at the cost of those who don't - and if we approach the situation in which everyone has an automated system, then there should be little scope for anyone to derive any appreciable financial benefit.

Kind Regards, John
 
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"...but, as recently explained, only in the sense that those who have such systems will benefit financially at the cost of those who don't..."

So I think I've figured out part of what was wrong with the zero-sum maths.
When demand is high, because of the way that generation works, the cost (not just the price) per kWh gets higher:
"Demand can sometimes outstrip supply during peak periods. Typically, gas or diesel-powered plants fire up to meet that demand, adding to the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions. This reactive energy production is expensive, causing price spikes." from https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/time-use-tariffs-all-you-need-know/
So - if some peak load shifting happens as a consequence of TOU tariffs, the cost per kWh of the electricity produced for everyone at that time gets lower.
 
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So I think I've figured out part of what was wrong with the zero-sum maths. When demand is high, because of the way that generation works, the cost (not just the price) per kWh gets higher: "Demand can sometimes outstrip supply during peak periods. Typically, gas or diesel-powered plants fire up to meet that demand, adding to the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions. This reactive energy production is expensive, causing price spikes." ....... So - if some peak load shifting happens as a consequence of TOU tariffs, the cost per kWh of the electricity produced for everyone at that time gets lower.
Undoubtedly, but you are now talking about something different - namely a general reduction (or increase) of prices 'for everyone' as a result of changes in the pattern of supply/demand. So, yes, getting a better balance (throughout the day) between supply and demand would probably result in prices reducing 'for everyone' - but that's not what we've been talking about.

In terms of what we have been discussing, that doesn't really alter what I wrote. If, at a particular time on a particular day, some people are (because of their tariff, and the way they micromanage as a result of it) paying less per kWh than are others, then their 'saving' (paying less than others, due to their tariff and micromanagement) has to be at the cost of 'the others'.

Kind Regards, John
 
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Undoubtedly, but you are now talking about something different - namely a general reduction (or increase) of prices 'for everyone' as a result of changes in the pattern of supply/demand. So, yes, getting a better balance (throughout the day) between supply and demand would probably result in prices reducing 'for everyone' - but that's not what we've been talking about.

In terms of what we have been discussing, that doesn't really alter what I wrote. If, at a particular time on a particular day, some people are (because of their tariff, and the way they micromanage as a result of it) paying less per kWh than are others, then their 'saving' (paying less than others, due to their tariff and micromanagement) has to be at the cost of 'the others'.

Kind Regards, John
Ah - I think I see the misunderstanding

- At the times that most people are using most electricity, at a particular time on a particular day, the load shifter is not paying less per kWh, they're using less grid electricity, or are exporting electricity to the grid.
(If they were using grid electricity, they would, in all likelihood, be paying more per kWh than others are paying at those times, specifically because they are on a TOU tariff).
The resultant reduction in peak load is what reduces the generation cost per kWh at peak times for everyone (though one can question whether that saving gets passed onto electricity distributors, let alone consumers).

-At the times when most people are specifically using very little electricity, the load shifter will be paying less per kWh than others, but then others are (quite specifically) likely to be using little electricity. At these times, the specific costs of managing demand being very much lower than supply can in themselves be considerable, so by soaking up some of this excess, the load shifter reduces the costs of the generation system (this is why it makes economic sense at times for load shifting consumers to be paid to consume energy).

It is not zero sum because balancing the grid by load shifting reduces the generation cost per kWh, both at peak and off peak times.

It's a slightly unusual mathematical system where increasing demand can reduce cost/unit at times (off peak), and decreasing demand can reduce cost/unit at (peak) times

The cost of the saving actually arises in the infrastructure to support load shifting - eg; solar PV, domestic batteries, V2G or V2H, smart tech etc.
 
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Ah - I think I see the misunderstanding ...
I don't think it's so much a misunderstanding as the fact that you are considering a much more complicated situation than I am - a situation which applies only to yourself and (currently) a very small proportion of consumers. I am talking about 'Joe Public', at present, living in one of the great majority (I think currently around 97%) of UK households which do not have a PV installation, and therefore probably don't do any exporting of electricity - and goodness knows how small is the percentage of households which have PV and dynamic TOU tariffs and manage their usage optimally! The situation, and the arithmetic, is then a fair bit simpler.

I have to say that I personally think that, because of the high capital outlay and finite lifespan of PV installations, the financial benefit of domestic PV in the UK is very questionable. At best, one will be seriously out-of-pocket for several years, after which (if one is still alive and living in the same property) one may enjoy a modest period of 'being in profit' until the PV installation has to be replaced and one is back to square one!

I think we are agreed on the desirability of attempting to optimise the supply/demand situation throughout the day, primarily by minimising variations in demand during the day, and that the better we get at that optimisation, the lower should be electricity costs, at all times, for everyone. That, however, is not what we (at least, I) have been discussing.

I also wonder if we aren't losing sight of how these exchanges between us started. The prior discussion had become one about what many believe is the 'misguided' basis for the government pushing so hard for the universal deployment of 'smart' meters. This was seemingly not due to a desire to reduce domestic electricity costs, and not even particularly to reduce peak electricity demand (hence probably total electricity cost) (by re-distributing demand throughout the 24h) but, rather, seemingly because they were somehow persuaded that it would result in a dramatic decrease in total energy demand/usage, which is what they wanted/needed in order to satisfy 'green targets'.

As I implied in the initial question I asked you, I think that if people wanted to reduce their electricity usage (hence, incidentally, cost), the great majority of them would already understand (without having 'smart' meters) that they could achieve that by taking shorter showers, turning down their room thermostats, not boiling more water than they needed to boil etc. etc. etc. Some people may not have fully understood which appliances/loads are the most energy-hungry, and what reductions in energy usage could be achieved by altering ones usage of them, but that could have been addressed by an 'information campaign' which would have been far quicker and cheaper that the roll-out of 'smart' meters.

I don't know to what extent you meant it literally, but even you did admit that, although having a 'smart' meter and a dynamic TOU tariff had resulted in appreciable cost savings for you, your electricity usage had not decreased - so if that's true for you, it's very probably true of many/most other people - in which case the government's apparent belief about what 'smart' meters will achieve is probably as 'mistaken' as I always thought it was!

Ironically, what has happened to energy prices in recent months (and certainly not 'by government policy'!) has probably done far more to make people take steps (themselves) to reduce their electricity consumption than the deployment of 'smart' meters was ever going to do (and regardless of what sort of meter they currently have)!

Kind Regards, John
 
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Thanks John, yes indeed.
I guess for completeness sake I should add in that it was specifically the smart meter that led to clearly and easily seeing and therefore reducing the load caused by freezing food in the household. ...and that reducing carbon costs is not simply a matter of reducing consumption - the carbon cost of electricity is generally much lower at times when the demand-supply ratio is lower.
I've no idea why the government wants people to have smart meters, but I think it's wise to be suspicious!
All the best, Stephen
 
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1974 and the 3 day week. Power rationing, Companies were told to select three days a week that they could use power. The other 4 days they were not to use power.

It worked with only a few companies / large users refusing to limit themselves to just 3 days a week. It could not be enforced where the local network could not separate supplies to commercial users from supplies to residential users.

Smart meters provide the facility to selectively switch off supplies, If the meter's function is purely to record the amount of power used and the time it was used ( variable time of day charging rates ) then there is no need for the 100 Amp relay that many smart meters have inside them.
 
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Thanks John, yes indeed. I guess for completeness sake I should add in that it was specifically the smart meter that led to clearly and easily seeing and therefore reducing the load caused by freezing food in the household.
Fair enough - but, as I said, that could have been achieved by simply 'informing people', without the need/cost of deploying 'smart' meters.

I also wonder what your are implying. Are you suggesting people should not have freezers at all - since a 'not very full' freezer uses at least as much energy (more, if the door is ever opened!) as a full one?

There is presumably a limit to how far one can (should?) sensibly take this. There presumably would be substantial energy (and 'carbon' etc.) savings to be had (at all sorts of levels) by no-one having washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dyers etc. (appliances which my parents never had) and, indeed, by no-one having private cars (which my parents didn't have for most of their lives, and my grandparents never had) - not to mention 'leisure air travel' (which neither my parents nor predecessors had) etc.
...and that reducing carbon costs is not simply a matter of reducing consumption - the carbon cost of electricity is generally much lower at times when the demand-supply ratio is lower.
Very true. Even today, there are times (when it's windy!) when a high proportion of demand is served by a combination of nuclear and wind-generated electricity, presumably at pretty low 'carbon cost'. However, I'm far from convinced that the government actually realise/understand that. As far as I can make out, virtually all of the information/publicity has been encouraging people to 'use less energy' not to shift their usage to what are currently lower-demand times of day.
I've no idea why the government wants people to have smart meters, but I think it's wise to be suspicious!
As I've said, I don't think there is much doubt that the reason is their belief that 'smart' meters will result in a substantial reduction in carbon emissions etc., thereby helping them to achieve 'green targets' - but, for reasons I've explained, I'm far from convinced that such is a valid belief.

Kind Regards, John
 

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