How it works: using our local renewable energy
As an Energy Local Club member, your electricity consumption is measured in half-hour blocks, and the amount you use each half-hour is compared to the amount produced by the local generation in the same period.
For example, between 2:30pm and 3pm you might run the clothes dryer and listen to the radio, using 1 kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity. Over that time the electricity generated by the local generation is shared between everyone consuming power.
If your share is 1kWh, all your electricity will be from the local generation. Note: your ‘share’ of the local generation will be different at different times, according to the amount being generated and the number of users. This means that your use is “matched” local generation, for example, hydro or solar, and you pay (for example) 8.5p per kWh for that electricity.
Whenever you are paying for electricity that is matched to (for example) the hydro or solar, this is passed onto the local generator, so the money stays in the local community and strengthens the business model for local renewable generation.
Usually a small hydro plant (for example) would be paid around 5p per kWh for the electricity it generates and you’d pay 14p per kWh to use it. We’ve cut out the middlemen so it’s better value for you and the hydro.
How it works: Electricity not matched to the local generation will be charged at different prices at different times of day
When your electricity use (measured by the half hour) is greater than your share of the electricity being generated by the hydro, you will buy this extra electricity from the supplier.
The price of this extra electricity will be different at different times of day.
For example, between 2:30pm and 3pm you might run the clothes dryer, do the ironing, make a pot of tea and listen to the radio, using 2 kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity. Over that time, the electricity generated by the generator (for example the hydro or solar) is shared between everyone consuming power. If your share is 1kWh then you will have used more than your share from the generation. Note: your ‘share’ of the local generation will be different at different times, according to the amount being generated and the number of users.
This means that you are able to match 1 kWh to the hydro (at for example 8.5p per kWh), but you need to buy in an extra 1 kWh. The tariff for the extra electricity between 2:30pm and 3pm is the “middle of the day” rate, which will be one of the cheaper rates.
The prices and timings of the tariffs for the non-local electricity will be confirmed when you switch and you can see the prices on your Club page when they are available. It’s likely that there will be several different rates with breakfast and dinner times being more expensive, and lunchtime and overnight being cheaper. Once we’ve agreed the rates and times we will let you know, and they will remain fixed for a year.
Understanding when you use power at different times
The typical household uses electricity throughout the day with a small peak at breakfast time (when people are showering and boiling the kettle), and a bigger peak in the evening thanks to switching on the lights, cooking dinner in the oven and watching the TV.
This is the electricity use of a typical UK home.
But everyone’s a bit different – night owls, home workers, early risers, retirees, shift workers – we all have our own habits and lifestyles.
For some of us, everyone’s out at work and school during the day, with a rush of cooking, cleaning and TV watching when we’re home in the evening.
For others, we might be at home, working or looking after children, and doing the laundry and cooking during the day. Whatever your situation, when you’ve had your smart meter fitted, you will be able to see how much electricity you use every half hour. Then you can build up an idea of your typical electricity use each day, week and month.
But you don’t need to wait until your smart meter is fitted – you can keep a note by using an Energy Diary.
A quick reminder
The times of day you use electricity is important. Electricity you use that’s matched to your share of the local generation will be the cheapest, and this share will be bigger or smaller at different times of the day.
The cost of any extra electricity you use, in addition to the amount matched to the hydro, will vary depending on the time of day. So, avoiding the peak times at breakfast and teatime will save you money.
Keeping an energy diary
To keep track of your electricity use now, you can try keeping an “energy diary”. We’ve created a template for you so you can note down the things that you do over the day that use electricity. You can download the Energy Diary here.
Keeping a diary is really useful to show you when you use more and less electricity. It’ll get you thinking about the best ways you can make the most of the Energy Local Club, like using a slow cooker to get dinner ready during the day.