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No Bills Homes from Hill and Octopus

New build home with solar panels on front roof
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Dec 06, 2023
4 minutes read

What Is It?

A joint venture between Hill Homes and Octopus Energy has seen a new housing development that features no energy bills for a period of five years. Hollymead Square, located in Newport, is the first of many in this latest scheme that guarantees energy security through low carbon technology.

Known as Zero Bills, the world-first smart tariff has been designed by Octopus Energy to help residents at this development live in comfort without having to worry about paying for energy bills. Every home at Hollymead Square has been awarded the Zero Bills marque, which guarantees at least five years of no energy bills.

How Does Zero Bills Work?

In order for a home to not pay energy bills, it needs to generate more energy than it consumes. This can be achieved through a combination of low carbon technology and sufficiently equipped heating that doesn’t rely on gas. Solar panels, accompanied with a solar battery can help generate renewable electricity throughout the day. Electric heating can then make use of this without any impact on the environment.

Because the technology has been installed and engineered by Octopus Energy, you can control the system using their app. This allows you to see how much energy you’re generating and using at different time periods. Thanks to the implementation of a smart meter, you can see usage in real-time, and set up payments should you need to.

Can I Exceed the Usage Limit?

Naturally, your home can only produce so much power throughout the day. Once it’s used up, that’s it. However, Octopus Energy has put in place a Fair Use Allowance, which is set to about double the usage the homes are expected to use. This is how they can guarantee no energy bills for at least five years.

The only way you can exceed this limit is if your heating goes through excessive use. Should you go over this limit, you’ll then be charged at the Flexible Octopus rate, without a standing charge. This is billed on a yearly basis.

Does EV Charging Come Under Zero Bills?

Unfortunately not. EVs consume a substantial amount of electricity, which would consume your heating allowance. Instead, EVs are billed separately under the Intelligent Octopus unit rates. This gives you several hours of cheap EV charging rates overnight, essentially saving you even more money.

Get Lower Energy Bills Yourself

Instead of moving to a new location, you may be able to upgrade your home closer to zero bills yourself. A combination of solar panels, a solar battery and a heat pump can do just that. Running on renewable energy and capturing more electricity than you use will elevate your home’s Energy Performance Certificate higher to 100, and potentially beyond.

In reality, unless you’re building a home from scratch, you’ll be unable to exceed 100 on your EPC. This is one of the reasons why it’s only new builds that are able to attain this. Proper insulation and thoughtful build processes can ensure homes will retain heat and be heated much more efficiently. For everyone else, you can only improve what you’ve already got.

Solar Technology

Unless you’re home all day to enjoy the benefits of the electricity your solar panels are generating, you’ll need a solar battery to capture this energy. Once it’s full, anything additional will be exported to the grid, giving you a form of income. Captured energy in the battery can then be used in the evening and morning, before being topped up again the next day.

Heat Pumps

Whether ground or air source, these are incredibly efficient low carbon technologies that can reliably heat your home. Paired with solar technology, they can use renewable electricity to operate. As heat pumps are highly efficient, they generate much more heat than any energy they use to generate it.


Without proper insulation in place, your home won’t be able to keep warm for very long. Heat loss is incredibly inefficient, and poor insulation will always cost you more in energy bills. With a low carbon system, good insulation keeps your bills low.