HOUSEHOLDS can be paid to turn off their appliances during peak times to help prevent blackouts.
The new National Grid’s “demand flexibility service” pays households to cut their energy usage during busy times and was nearly activated today.
The firm was set to trigger an emergency blackout plan tomorrow which would have involved asking Brits to turn off their appliances to avoid power cuts.
The energy-saving scheme is administered by energy suppliers.
Households have to register their interest in taking part in advance.
They will then get a text or other message saying that the programme will run later in the day if National Grid fears blackouts.
If they use less electricity than they normally do during the allotted hours, they will be paid for the savings.
But customers will not be punished if they decide to keep using electricity as normal.
Low temperatures and nuclear power outages in France have put pressure on power supplies which meant that a capacity market notice was issued at 1.33pm today which warned of a stretched supply this evening and into Tuesday.
But the notice was cancelled at 2.04pm.
In fact, all 12 capacity market notices that the grid has put out in the last six years have been cancelled.
Today’s change of plan meant that the National Grids demand flexibility service will no longer take force.
But some energy firms have trialled the service and ensured that their schemes are established and ready for when these capacity market notices aren’t cancelled.
The system which pays households to cut their usage at peak times has been tested twice since it was launched a month ago.
But suppliers don’t have to take part in the scheme and so far only four have confirmed they are running the offer.
Exactly how much you can earn will also vary from supplier to supplier.
Here’s a full list of the suppliers taking part in the scheme.
British Gas has confirmed it will be signing up to the Demand Flexibility Scheme.
A spokesperson confirmed to The Sun that it is working with the National Grid on what the offer to customers will look like.
As details are being thrashed out, there are no details on how much customers could earn by taking part.
We’ve asked for more information and will update this story when we know more.
British Gas said it is in a position to launch the scheme later this year.
Customers would need to reduce their energy by 30% in order to qualify for a bill discount.
EDF has now said it’ll offer SOME customers the £100 grant but only those it invites personally.
It said you cannot apply for the Demand Flexibility Scheme over the phone or email – only those asked will get something in their inbox.
The supplier said its selected a small group of customers, based on customer data and advice from National Grid.
Those selected will receive invites over email in late November which will tell you everything you need to know on applying.
It added that if the trial is successful then it may offer the scheme to more customers in the future.
EON said it would be taking part in the Demand Flexibility Scheme.
It said it would be outlining details of the offer to customers soon.
EON said that its customers don’t need to do anything specific.
The supplier will message all of those who are eligible – those with a smart meter providing half-hourly data.
These customers will then be invited to take part.
Octopus Energy says its 1.4million customers on smart meters and 5,000 of its business customers can save £100 by signing up to the scheme.
The supplier has already said that more than 350,000 customers have signed up for its flexibility service called Saving Sessions.
Customers are paid an average of £4 per kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy they save compared to their normal usage during a certain timeframe.
Those interested in the scheme can register their interest here.
Customers who sign up will get a text telling them if they use less electricity between certain hours, and they’ll be paid later that day.
The exact amount you get paid will depend on how much you reduce your consumption in the specified hours.
Customers also have the option of donating their earnings through the scheme to the supplier’s financial hardship fund – Octo Assist.
Octopus Energy recently released data showing that its customers had helped reduce demand by more than 100 megawatts during the two National Grid trial tests earlier this month.
That is the same amount of electricity that a small power plant produces.
Octopus said that some of its customers had earned more than £4 during the hour-long sessions, and the average saving was “well over £1.”
They’re asking those who take part to cut their average consumption between the peak hours of 4pm-7pm to less than 12.5%.
That’s the equivalent of moving three loads of washing each week from on-peak to off-peak hours.
It is in the process of contacting customers about the offer.
Households will be given £20 a month if they reduce their usage by 12.5% or more – this adds up to £100 if they achieve this every month from November through to March.
Shell has told The Sun that it will offer its own flexibility demand service in the coming weeks.
Customers will soon receive an email inviting them to sign up for the scheme.
It’s unclear how much money customers will make from taking part but we’ll update the story once we have more detail.
The provider is launching a trial offering customers money back for using their energy at off-peak times.
The trial is taking place before the National Grid’s Flexibility Demand Service.
Just over 1,000 households have been taking part since last week.
The energy company said it was already proving popular with 72.25% of households.
Who is not taking part?
A number of suppliers have still not confirmed whether they will sign up for the demand flexibility scheme.
Bulb confirmed that it wouldn’t be taking part.
Check with your supplier to see if they’ll let you sign up for the scheme.
Is it safe to run appliances at night?
The charity Electrical Safety First has said that it’s essential households mitigate the risk of fire if they choose to leave their appliances on at night.
This is because if you do run your appliances at night, you are less likely to notice if something goes wrong – particularly if they catch fire.
Martyn Allen, technical director of Electrical Safety First, said: “Ensure your appliances are not subject to a recall, that cables are not damaged and that filters are regularly emptied to reduce a build-up of lint.
“Finally, ensure you have a working smoke alarm on every floor in your house, it could save your life.”
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