Money Wellness
An in-home display showing energy usage information
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category iconMoney Saver
calendar icon15 Dec 2023

Are Octopus saving sessions worth it?

As an Octopus Energy customer, I was intrigued to find out how much you could earn by taking part in their saving sessions where you get paid to use less electricity at certain times of the day. I’ve taken part in a couple of sessions now and been sent details of the savings I made.

So, if you’re wondering whether it’s worthwhile signing up for the sessions (or for a similar scheme with another provider), here’s the lowdown on my experience.

How do Octopus saving sessions work?

You need to actively opt in to take part in each saving session, either via the app or by logging into your account on the website.

Octopus tend to tell you about each standard saving session the day before, but they also run surprise sessions with less notice, sometime just a couple of hours. To make sure you don’t miss out, you’re advised to enable notifications in your app – although this hasn’t worked for me. Despite following the instructions to the letter, I still haven’t had through one single notification.

If you find yourself in the same boat, you can do what I’ve done and follow Octopus’ saving sessions WhatsApp channel instead. According to Octopus, the channel is used solely for the purpose of letting customers know about the sessions. No one, including Octopus, can see your details or phone number.

Once you’ve opted in and the session begins, it’s up to you to try and use as little electricity as possible. After a session, Octopus check your smart meter readings to work out how much you’ve saved. You get paid a set amount for each kilowatt hour you save compared to normal.

Who can take part in the saving sessions?

You’ll need to have a working electricity smart meter to take part in the saving sessions. If you haven’t got one, you can ask for a smart meter. Octopus say they can generally get one installed within a few weeks, although they admit there are some areas signal doesn’t reach and some types of homes that tend to have trouble connecting.

Remember, just because your in-home display screen isn’t working, that doesn’t mean the smart meter itself isn’t working.

The in-home display is that little screen you plug in and it shows you your energy usage info, such as the frankly frightening amount it costs to boil the kettle for a brew. Your smart meter, on the other hand, is a unit attached to the wall – often in a cupboard under the stairs.

I was convinced for at least a year that my smart meter wasn’t working, when actually it was just an issue with the in-home display. Just me? Excellent!

How much you’ll earn?

I’ve taken part in two savings sessions – a standard one on 1 December between 4.30pm and 6pm where you earnt £4 per kilowatt hour saved compared to normal, and a surprise one on 5 December between 5.30pm and 6.30pm where you earnt £2.25 per kilowatt hour saved compared to normal.

Now, I wasn’t messing about during these sessions. I didn’t so much as turn a light on. I even forced my son to come downstairs and sit with me so he wasn’t led astray by the PlayStation and we ignored each other by candlelight while we scrolled through our phones.

This is how much I earnt *drumroll*…

Session 1: £2.73

Session 2: £1.07

Obviously, I’m not going to be able to quit work on the back of this side hustle, but it’s better than a slap in the face.

Could you make more than me?

This is a distinct possibility. Octopus compare the amount of electricity you use during a saving session to the amount you’d normally use at that time of day.

Between 4.30pm and 6.30pm (the timespan for the sessions I took part it), I’m not generally using that much electricity anyway. I wouldn’t stick a wash on, run the dishwasher or vac up at that time. I’d probably have a light or two on, my laptop might be plugged in, my son might be on his PlayStation and I might be watching TV. But I’m probably a low energy user at that time of day.

If you come in from work and immediately get stuck into the housework, it’s quite possible you could save more.

Octopus also offer spot prizes during sessions where customers are picked at random to win credit (sometimes worth well over £1,000). As far as I’m concerned, it’s got to be worth opting in just for a shot at one of those.

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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