Using my heat pump with a TOU (time-of-use) tariff

The way we use energy in the UK is changing. We’re moving towards cleaner, greener sources like wind and solar power, but these don’t always flow at the same rate. That’s where Time-of-Use (TOU) tariffs come in. They’re like special offers for energy, with prices changing depending on the time of day. Sound complicated? Don’t worry, this blog will break it down for you, along with a powerful tool – the Homely heat pump controller – that helps you save money on your energy bills!

What are TOU Tariffs?

Imagine a system where the price of electricity changes throughout the day. That’s kind of what TOU tariffs are like. Unlike the standard flat rate, where you pay the same price per unit of electricity used, TOU tariffs offer different rates depending on the time. Typically, there are:

  • Peak hours: Think rush hour for energy. Evenings and early mornings, when everyone’s using the grid, are the most expensive times.
  • Off-peak hours: Think quiet times on the grid. Late nights, early afternoons and early mornings, when demand is lower, offer the cheapest rates.
Benefits of TOU Tariffs:
  • Save Money: By shifting your energy usage to off-peak hours, especially for things like heating and laundry, you can slash your energy bills! Think of it like getting a discount during off-peak times.
  • Greener Grid: By using more energy during off-peak times, when renewable sources like wind and solar are plentiful, you’re helping the environment.
  • Future-Proofing: TOU tariffs are expected to become the norm as the UK integrates more renewables. So, by switching now, you’re getting ahead of the curve and ready to save money in the future!
Types of TOU Tariffs:

There are two main types of TOU tariffs to choose from:

  1. Static TOU: This is a simpler option, with set times where the prices go up and down throughout the day. It’s easier to manage, but the savings might not be as high as the other option.
  2. Dynamic TOU: This offers more flexibility, with prices changing every 30 minutes based on real-time demand. It requires more effort, but the potential savings can be bigger! – With Homely this is all handled for you.
Is a TOU Tariff Right for You?

Not everyone benefits equally from TOU tariffs, so here are some things to consider before switching:

  • Lifestyle: You’ll need to plan a bit and run your washing machine, dryer and maybe your dishwasher during the off-peak times unless you have a way of storing energy.
  • Smart Meter: You’ll need a smart meter to track your usage and benefit from TOU pricing.
  • Appliance Flexibility: Can you adjust your energy-hungry activities like laundry or dishwasher use to off-peak hours? Scheduling these tasks for later can help you save money!
  • Battery Storage: You can pair your TOU tariff with a home battery storage system. Charge the battery during off-peak hours with cheap electricity and then use the stored power during peak hours to avoid expensive rates. This allows you to take full advantage of the cost savings offered by TOU plans.
Homely: Your Partner in Energy Savings

Even with a TOU tariff, optimising your heating system – a major energy guzzler – is crucial. That’s where Homely, the heat pump controller, steps in as your partner in savings! Homely uses a two-pronged approach to help you win the energy game:

  1. Heat Loss Learning: Homely constantly monitors your home’s heat loss patterns and figures out how quickly your house loses heat, allowing it to predict your heating needs more accurately in combination with weather predictions.
  2. Optimises for cost saving: Homely takes into account your desired heating schedule, heat loss and TOU tariff and will optimise the running of your heat pump to save the most amount of money possible.
TOU and Homely: The Winning Combo!

Imagine this – you switch to a TOU tariff with super-low off-peak rates. During the day, Homely learns your house’s heat loss. As off-peak hours approach, Homely cleverly activates your heat pump to pre-heat your home efficiently. This ensures a comfortable temperature when you return without burning a hole in your pocket with peak-hour costs. This collaboration between TOU and Homely empowers you to leverage the benefits of the tariff and achieve significant cost savings.

Getting Homely installed

Homely is provided via trusted distributors and is not sold direct-to-customer. You’ll need to contact an installer to help you with getting Homely installed.