National Grid to pay households to cut usage between 5pm and 6pm tonight
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The National Grid and Electricity System Operator (ESO) have launched a new Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) for this winter - and customers can get paid to reduce their electricity usage tonight (23 January).
The service is said to incentivise consumers and businesses to lower their usage through financial compensation.
According to the National Grid's website, the new Demand Flexibility Service will encourage people to 'reduce their power consumption at certain times'.
Through collaboration with energy suppliers and aggregators, the National Grid has dubbed the DFS as being part of 'a range of tools designed to help manage the electricity system this winter' as energy supplies remain stretched following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"If needed," the National Grid explains, "this new service will help the ESO [Electricity System Operator] avoid using its emergency responses if electricity supplies are impacted."
With demonstration tests starting last November, the ESO has announced that they will 'run a maximum of 12 demonstration tests with each electricity supplier and aggregator' between the months of November 2022 and March 2023.
Following the tests, tonight between 5pm and 6pm is the first proper run of the scheme, and customers are encouraged to limit their electricity usage during these peak hours.
Amidst the cost of living crisis, in which electricity bills have exponentially increased after inflation hits a 30-year high, many households have been left struggling to keep afloat.
The National Grid has stated that those who sign up to the DFS can save some money on their energy usage.
A typical household 'could save approximately £100 across the maximum 12 demonstration tests' according to the official website.
If your energy supplier is taking part in the scheme and you're eligible, they will contact you inviting you to take advantage of the potential savings.
Explaining how to get involved in the DFS, the National Grid explain: "If you have signed up to take part in the DFS scheme your electricity provider will contact you before a demonstration test or live event and ask if you want to participate in the following day’s event."
There are 'no penalties for not participating once you have signed up to the DFS'.
If a household or business has signed up to the service, they can expect providers accessing their smart meter to read their data 'every half-hour for the duration of the service 1st November 2022 to 31st March 2023'.
The National Grid also outlines the ways in which households can reduce their power consumption during such tests or live events.
They advise to 'reduce energy usage (e.g. using a microwave instead of the oven) during the event window' as well as 'choosing to run power-hungry appliances such as washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers, electric showers and immersion heaters before or after the 'event''.
The National Grid's website also answered the question: "Will I have to sit in the dark during DFS events?"
The answer reads: "No, this service is about reducing your electricity use where you can and is not asking people to go without electricity."
The response continues: "Efficient light-bulbs and small appliances such as modern televisions consume very little electricity and so it is unlikely to be worth adapting usage of these during an ‘event’."
ESO’s Demand Flexibility Service has been approved to run by energy regulator Ofgem from 3 November 2022 to 31 March 2023.