Today around a million households will be paid to reduce their electricity consumption as sub-zero temperatures put further pressure on the country’s power supplies.
The emergency program, called Demand Flexibility Service, was tested by National Grid last year, but this is the first time it’s been implemented to prevent power outages. National Grid is expected to pay out over £1m to households that reduce their electricity use today, but not all will be eligible.
When will the scheme take place?
The Demand Flexibility Service will operate for one hour between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm today; early weekday evenings are peak hours for electricity usage.
Am I eligible and is it too late to apply?
The scheme requires households to have a second-generation smart meter, because providers will need access to readings every half hour. More than 20 power providers are signed up to the scheme, although some of them only provide power to non-domestic properties. Octopus Energy, British Gas and E.ON Next are included in the list of providers approved by National Grid to participate.
The deadline to apply for the scheme will depend on the energy provider you are with. For example, Octopus Energy (which helped National Grid with their tests last year) will allow households to opt into the scheme until 5pm today.
Octopus Energy told The Telegraph that it had invited 1.5 million customers to participate in the scheme, of which 500,000 had already signed up. Your provider should have contacted you by now if you are eligible for the energy saving plan.
What will the scheme require me to do?
The goal of the implementation is to dramatically reduce energy use during the one-hour window, but households will not be required to unpack the candles and sit in the dark. Rather, households are expected to delay using energy-intensive appliances until after 6:00 p.m. This could mean delaying the dinner cut-off or not running the washing machine or dishwasher during that time, or waiting for charge an electric car overnight.
How much will they pay me?
How much households can earn will depend on their provider and how much energy they would normally use. Some households will be able to earn up to £10 per session, but most are likely to gain a few pounds back.
During the trials, providers were paid £3 per kilowatt-hour saved, but they are likely to make more outside of the trials. Some are understood to have agreed to £6 per kilowatt hour for Monday night.