THOUSANDS of households will be paid to switch off their appliances during a specific time period tonight.
The National Grid’s ‘demand flexibility service’ pays households to cut their energy usage during busy times to help prevent blackouts.
The Electricity Systems Operator is running its fifth and sixth trial runs of the scheme today and tomorrow.
British Gas, Octopus Energy and Ovo Energy have all confirmed that they’ll be taking part in the pilot run and we’ve explained exactly how it works below.
The demand flexibility service is administered by energy suppliers and households have to register their interest in taking part in advance.
If households use less electricity than they normally do during the allotted hours, they will be paid for the savings.
Customers could be paid up to £4 per kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy saved compared to their normal usage during an allocated two-hour time period.
Those who have opted into taking part will then get a text or email from their energy supplier to notify them of the hours at which the scheme is running.
But customers will not be punished if they decide to keep using electricity as normal.
The system which pays households to cut their usage at peak times has been tested four times since it was launched a month ago.
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 that its ‘Peak Save’ scheme will run between 5-7pm this evening (December 12).
The supplier will pay participating customers an average of £4 per kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy they save compared to their normal usage during the two-hour time period.
So if you were to use 2kWh less than you normally would you could get up to £8 back.
But the exact amount you get paid will depend on how much you reduce your consumption in the specified hours.
To conserve energy during the specified time-period households will be advised not to use any energy-intensive appliances.
For example, if a household normally uses a dishwasher or washing machine but waits until after the ‘Peak Save’ event they would meet their target.
Payments will be made as a bill credit within seven working days based on the kWh reductions of participating households.
But only 100,000 smart meter customers out of the supplier’s 10million customer base have been invited to take part in scheme.
A British Gas spokesperson said: “We will be contacting the customers in our Peak Save scheme to let them know they have the option to take part in this saving event.
“The electricity grid is facing increased pressure and smart technology will play a key role in managing peak demand.
“During this trial we are testing how we can use this scheme to reduce consumption whilst having the added benefit of helping customers save on their energy bills.”
Over 1.4million Octopus Energy are invited to take part in one of its ‘Saving Sessions’ between 5-7pm this evening (December 12).
Customers will be paid an average of £2.25 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 that sign up get a text which tells them that if they use less electricity between certain hours, 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.
Octopus Energy has already paid out £1million back to the 250,000 customers that have already taken part in the first four ‘Saving Sessions’.
Ovo Energy won’t be taking part in the scheme this evening but it has confirmed that it will be running its own scheme tomorrow.
A spokesperson for the supplier said that they’ve sent customers taking part a email alert to explain when the scheme will run.
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.
Customers can make a minimum of £1 for every kWh shifted below their personal target – the more electricity shifted, the more money they’ll make.
EDF Energy has confirmed that it won’t be participating in the National Grid DFS this evening.
Shell Energy has told The Sun that it will offer its own flexibility demand service in the coming weeks – but won’t be taking part in the trial run this evening.
We’ve contacted E.ON to find out if it will be taking part in the scheme this evening.
What is the demand flexibility service?
National Grid has warned that Brits face three-hour blackouts this winter.
To help prevent blackouts National Grid has established the demand flexibility scheme which pays people to use less energy during peak times.
The scheme is run by energy suppliers who will be notified by the National Grid when the service can go live if the UK’s energy supply falls low.
The scheme has been tested twice since it launched a month ago and energy suppliers offering trials are free to continue these tests in the meantime.
National Grid will also ensure that the scheme runs for 12 trial sessions to ensure people are rewarded just for taking part, even if there are no blackouts this winter.
To get the money, customers will be expected to shift their use of power away from times of high demand to help prevent blackouts.
That could mean putting on the dishwasher or washing machine overnight or charging an electric vehicle at off-peak times.
The system which pays households to cut their usage at peak times has been tested twice since it was launched a month ago.
Without the scheme, there could be cold days creating a demand that outstrips supply.
It would then mean certain areas of the UK, would be warned of planned blackouts.
According to the National Grid, in this scenario, there would be a potential need to interrupt the supply to some customers for limited periods.
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