Amber Electric Races to Upgrade as Powerwall Demand Surges


amber smartshift app and tesla powerwall

Amber Electric, the upstart electricity retailer that allows consumers to play the wholesale electricity market, recently sent out an email to its Tesla Powerwall customers, and it’s a mix of good and bad news.

SmartShift, Amber’s battery control software that automates home batteries to charge when the wholesale price is cheap and discharge when high, has a problem. With both Amber and the Powerwall’s popularity surging, Amber has been grappling with scaling issues that are beginning to affect users’ ability to control their Tesla batteries through the Amber app.

“Due to rapid uptake in Amber for Batteries, we are experiencing scaling issues that are affecting your ability to take control of your Tesla battery via the Amber app. As a result, you may have noticed that there are times when you request certain manual control actions via the app only to find that nothing happens. This is also starting to impact the ability of SmartShift to automatically command Tesla batteries to charge and discharge at optimal times.”

Why is this happening? It’s all about the growth rate. The overall fleet of SmartShift-controlled Tesla batteries has ballooned, leading to a surge in requests and commands sent to Tesla’s API within a given time frame. While the growth is a testament to Amber and Tesla’s success, the fixed number of calls that Amber can make to the APIs — a precaution against cyberattacks and resource abuse — has not changed to match this growth, leading to a bottleneck.

This situation affects users’ SmartShift experience, with some manual actions via the app failing to execute. Despite this, Amber reassures users that the automated SmartShift system will still make accurate decisions for charging and discharging their Powerwall most of the time.

Amber says their team is on the case, prioritising resolving these control issues. They’re rolling out updates to improve service in the short term and have halted onboarding new Tesla batteries onto SmartShift to prevent exacerbating the issue.

Also, Amber is asking users to ease off on manual controls to give everyone a fair shot at optimisation.

The takeaway from Amber’s message is clear: they’re committed to fixing the Powerwall problem as swiftly as possible1 and will keep users updated on their progress.

I think it’s kinda cool to see Amber hustle like this. Sure, there will be hiccups along the way, but it’s all about making our grid greener, faster. Go Amber!


  1. Hopefully, before it all turns to SmartShit 🤣


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