HEMS January Update

Hi all, my name is Jess and I’ve recently begun working for Carbon Co-op on the HEMS team. Looking forward to getting to know you all! I’m here to let you know about the HEMS update we’ll be rolling out over the next few days.

Octopus Agile

For the coming update to the HEMS, we’ve added an integration with Octopus Agile dynamic electricity rates. To install the integration, go to Configuration > Integrations > Add Integration, and search for Octopus Agile. This makes a rates entity available to Home Assistant, listing the forthcoming rates in your area (updated as they are announced). There are also Previous Rate, Current Rate and Next Rate sensors for convenience.

(Note the Octopus integration can be activated without an Octopus subscription).

If you have a custom dashboard, you can also add a card (listed as Octopus Agile Rates Card) displaying the forthcoming energy rates.

Big thanks to Mark Gardner, whose work we adapted to bring this to HEMS.

Home Assistant Update

This update will be based on the new 2020.12 version of Home Assistant- while the changes won’t affect most people, you can read about what’s new on the Home Assistant blog.


The updates are now rolling out.
As Home Assistant version 2021.1.0 was released yesterday, we decided to update directly to that.
You can read about that release here.

Re Octopus Agile - Great! I have it set up in my Custom Dashboard.

  1. Does it automatically identify which region rates are shown based on the map location setup? I’m in the East of England. Or does this require setting up elsewhere?
  2. How do I see Previous Rate, Current Rate and Next Rate? The Card only appears to show the current rates I think?
  3. The next stage is how can it be be set-up to automatically schedule EV charging at the cheapest rates? And also for the immersion heater?
  4. Could an Octopus Outgoing rate card also be set-up?

Peter Bates

Thanks Peter, glad you like it!

  1. Yes, it automatically identifies the region. It uses the location of your HEMS box to find the postcode, and then queries this with the Octopus API to get the correct region. If your HEMS box location isn’t setup with sensible location, the integration will ask you to confirm the region.
  2. The custom card shows the current rates. You can see the previous rate, current rate and next rate in the same way you can see any entity in Home Assistant. Try adding a Sensor Card and you should be able to find these entities. Let me know if you’d like me to take a look at your setup.
  3. Yes - that is the next stage! We will be thinking about this in the next while, but feel free to have a play with the automations yourself and do share any ideas you have. For example, I have an automation that turns my radiator on when the price goes below 0 - but it still needs some tweaking.
  4. I’m not really familiar with Octopus Outgoing - do you know if there is an api available?
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  1. Great. My location is set up.

  2. I’m still trying to understand how the Home assistant how and how “items” are added to it. My understanding is that it is a bit like the website creation tool - Wordpress and plugins (modules) that do various things on a website and can be customised once the plugins have been selected. So I’m familar with the process. But, as far as Home assistant is concerned, I don’t fully understand all the terms like “Integration” “Card” “entity” “automation” and how to customise them and integrate them.

Is there a beginners guide to all this?

However, I have added a sensor card - but then I don’t know how to make if link in with to show past and future Octopus Energy. So I do need some help to enable me to become empowered to do these myself. So your help is welcome. Thanks.

  1. I’m really keen to move onto this next stage so do let me know when you have an automation tool to do it. My battery storage system also needs needs an automation and intelligent algorithmic tool to automate the daily settings to do a forced charge and forced discharge when electricity prices are cheap. I’ve had to do this manually each day for more than 12 months.

4.This link will tell you more about Octopus Outgoing Tariff Outgoing Octopus Frequently Asked Questions | Octopus Energy
I’ve been on the Octopus outgoing for more than a year as well as Octopus Agile. With Outgoing I can export back from my home battery storage to the Grid. A couple of days ago I was paid more than 91 pence per kWh during a half hour slot

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Home Assistant is quite a complicated system and we are still fully getting our heads around all the possibilities too.
Thankfully there are loads of “getting started” type videos on YouTube - here is one that might get you going Quickly getting started with Home Assistant (2020 Guide) - YouTube

I’ve just taken a look at your system - looks like the sensor card you setup is showing something from the Shelly switch. I’ll edit it now to connect it to the octopus rates.

Looks like there is an Octopus Outgoing api, so I would expect we can integrate with that in a similar way to the Agile api. We will look into it and let you know when we have some more details.

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I appear to have lost everything on my dashboard now except the badges. The dashboard is labeled EV. (I want to change the name but work out how to do it, although Ben did show me)


Pete, When the Octopus Energy Agile card is add to a dashboard - all other cards disappear and the Agile card does not appear.

Hi Peter - I didn’t end up changing anything on your dashboard on Friday but will take a look now and see what the issue is.

Ok your agile prices are back up and running now. I removed the octopus integration (you had installed it three times) and then restarted home assistant and reinstalled the octopus integration.
I have created some “cards” for you on “Peter’s test area two -> Agile” - take a look and hopefully they are useful to you.
Let me know if there is anything else.

Thanks Pete, I will monitor the situation when adding cards. I’m trying to understand what went wrong.

Concerning the graphs of Octopus tariffs they don’t appear to tally up with what the rates are for current and the previous half-hour.


Actually, they do tally up now. Perhaps you noticed this and changed it. Or has it got to do with refreshing the browser??

Hi Peter, it’s possible the “Current” and “Next” rate entities don’t update as regularly as the full data, we’ll keep testing and try to get to the bottom of that!

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@peter But, what does the line on the graph actually show? It’s going down, but prices are not going down over the next few hours.

Thanks a lot - I will look at it in more details later today.

These sensor graphs are showing the historic rate over the last while, not the upcoming rates.

Thanks Pete, but I think they need to have some form of time scale on the graph to be of any use.


Hi Peter, the History graph is built in to Home Assistant but there are multiple ways to display the “Next Rate” data. When adding a card, if you search “By Entity” you can then choose how you want to display that piece of information:

I hope that’s helpful


Can you explain how best to set this up? Are you going to add a specific automation whereby you set a threshold which say “if Agile elec is below Xpence then turn ON device, if rises above Xpence then turn OFF device”?

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To be honest Dom we haven’t quite figured this out yet - the plan was to push out the sensors as quick as we could and hopefully some of you would come up with some interesting use cases and share them.
You can setup automations yourself by going to Configuration -> Automations.

A good tip when developing and testing automations is to set the system to send a notification rather than actually turning on/off the device - that way you won’t accidentally turn your devices on at the most expensive time. Once are confident it is working correctly then you can swap the notification for the device.

I use the Home Assistant android companion app for notifications, which seems to work well.

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Thanks @Jess_Fairbairn . I’ve now been able to modify the Gauge Card Configuration of the Octopus Agile tariff by defining the severity Red when prices are high green when low and Amber in between. Also I defined the range from -15 to 35 which could cover the whole range of the Agile half hour tariffs. the lowest it has been is just over -10 pence per kWh and the highest will be 35 pence per kWh (It is capped at 35p). See Peter’s HEMS > Home

@Peter Have you been able to create a Card for Octopus Outgoing yet. When you have I can use the Gauge Card Configuration to do create a graph similar as above.

@mattfranklin How is it possible at add an image to the text in this Forum? Also is there a way of click on a video within a forum comment so that is is larger to see and also possible to pulse it. Like the video that @Jess_Fairbairn sent earlier. It was initally very difficult to see, although I manged to increase the size of the text that did make it easier to see the video.

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