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Never before have energy bills dominated the national conversation to the levels we’ve seen in recent times. Whether it’s stories in the news or discussions with our families at home, there has been an unprecedented focus on what we can do to get energy costs down.
When it comes to reducing your energy bills, there are ultimately two ways of doing this; reducing your consumption or shifting your consumption to cheaper hours.
Many of us are already exploring how we use less energy in our homes, whether it’s through low-energy light bulbs or managing our heating more effectively, using smart heating controls that reduce the time and temperatures we heat our homes.
However, there is more you can do to save money and reduce the amount of energy you use, both now and in the future.
Understanding your tariff
A quick win is to get to know your energy tariff and what it means for your bills. Currently, there are three main tariffs that the majority of homes around the world use:
1. Flat tariff
a flat tariff is a set rate that a homeowner is charged for their energy usage, which does not change throughout the duration of their contract. This means that even if the grid has surplus energy, or if wholesale prices come down, the homeowner will still be paying the same rate for the energy they consume, which can often result in overpaying for your usage.
2. Variable tariff
A variable tariff offers different energy prices at different times of the day, with peak daytime hours being more expensive than off-peak hours late at night and early in the morning. Energy suppliers introduced this type of tariff to help prevent overloading the grid by encouraging people to use less energy at times when there is higher demand. This type of tariff is popular in many countries in Europe, including France.
3. Dynamic tariff
A dynamic tariff is similar to a variable tariff, but changes per hour based on real-time demand on the grid, rather than at pre-determined peak/off-peak times of the day. This type of tariff is more popular in places like Norway, and typically offers better returns for homeowners prepared to shift their energy consumption.
Many of us aren’t aware of which tariff we are currently on, or the different options available, although given the recent energy crisis, this is a topic that more people have started to educate themselves on.
Another route to reducing your electricity bills is to check which tariff your contract is based on, as you may be able to make some savings by simply switching to a different tariff that better suits your energy usage patterns.
However, if you’re already on a variable or dynamic tariff, then it’s time to look at managing your energy consumption more efficiently to make the most of the more affordable hours.
Efficient energy management
There are four main electrical loads in homes that use significant amounts of energy: heating and air conditioning, hot water heaters, pool pumps and more recently, EV charging.
In a multiple-load home like this, truly optimising the usage is best done at property level, by integrating a home energy management solution (HEMS), which monitors data from the home using different types of sensors, and optimises load control with actuators.
With a HEMS, you don’t need to worry about manually adjusting when your devices and appliances, like EV chargers and washing machines, are running. Instead, a HEMS will automatically manage your electrical loads and devices to run optimally, all whilst fitting in with your lifestyle and habits.
A HEMS like Wiser automatically shifts your energy use to run during the cheapest hours; for instance, instead of charging your EV as soon as you plug it in after returning home, Wiser will start charging during the night, when the tariff is cheaper.
Let’s take a look at what that might look like in the real world…
For example, in France, if you charged your electric vehicle with a 7kWh charger twice a week, for 5 hours each time, you’d be using 70kWh of energy each week.
If you charged during peak hours, where the tariff is more expensive at €24.6/kWh, you’d be looking to spend €17.2 each week on charging.
On the flip side, if Wiser were to shift your charge to run during off-peak hours, where the tariff is lower at €18.28/kWh, your weekly charging costs would be €12.8, saving you €4.4 each week – or almost €230 each year!
Likewise, when it comes to heating your home, Wiser can learn about its thermal properties (how well your home retains heat) to optimise energy usage, reducing the time spent calling for heat whilst still maintaining your desired temperature.
Is this what the future of home energy management looks like?
The answer is most definitely yes and the shift to smarter energy management has undoubtedly been accelerated by the energy crisis.
What’s more, as technology develops further, HEMS will eventually have the capability to incorporate Artificial Intelligence into its learning. This will help systems to make even smarter decisions about how to distribute energy around our homes, based on the demand, our lifestyle habits and tariff data, improving energy efficiency drastically and offering even better savings on energy bills.
These have certainly been challenging times but by getting to know our energy tariff a little better and beginning to adopt home energy management technology, we can begin to take control of our energy bills and create foundations for a more sustainable future.
To learn more about home energy management systems like Wiser, and how they could help you get the most from your tariff, visit https://www.se.com/ww/en/home/inspirations/save.jsp