Some customers of Octopus Energy will be incentivised to put their cars on to charge, or switch on their washing machines, as they see wind speeds picking up outside their window, as the supplier introduces a new tariff.
The company announced the new tariff as it bought its first two wind turbines, taking the step into energy production, as well as supply, for the first time.
It means that during winds of more than eight or 10.8 metres per second, depending on location, customers close to one of the two wind turbines will get a 50% discount for each kilowatt hour they use.
“Octopus Energy’s first ever own brand turbines are now on the grid, and we’ve included the UK’s first windy tariff to boot – we halve the price of your electricity whenever your turbine is spinning fast,” said Zoisa Walton, the director of Octopus’s new generation arm.
The tariff, which Octopus is calling its “Fan Club”, will include a membership charge of £1 per week and is, for now, available in three postcodes in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire, and Caerphilly in South Wales.
Customers will also get 20% off whenever the turbines are spinning.
The rollout is currently limited to the areas where Octopus has bought two wind turbines, but the supplier intends to buy more generation, and roll out the Fan Club elsewhere in the country over time.
“Our aim with the Octopus Fan Club is for every community to one day have local green energy that is cheaper when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining,” Ms Walton said.
“It means we can begin producing the clean, green power we provide to customers ourselves and incentivise customers to use energy when it’s the absolute greenest.”
Energy suppliers have been moving towards new ways of charging customers for the electricity they use, as more renewable generation starts coming onto the grid.
Octopus also has an “Agile” tariff, where prices change several times a day, responding directly to the market. This allows customers to tap into energy when prices are cheaper, and prices have turned negative on some very windy nights.
In 2017, rival Green Energy UK launched a tariff which charges different amounts at different times of day.
Several suppliers, including Scottish Power and EDF, have tariffs especially designed to appeal to electric car owners. These charge less money per unit of electricity during off-peak times, to encourage people to plug their cars in when demand is lower, which removes stress from the grid.