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British National Grid to Pay People to Cut Power Usage

image credit: National Grid
Julian Jackson's picture
Staff Writer, Energy Central, BrightGreen PR

Julian Jackson is a writer whose interests encompass business and technology, cryptocurrencies, energy and the environment, as well as photography and film. His portfolio is here:...

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  • Feb 3, 2023

As the UK struggles through the winter, with the highest energy prices in Europe, the National Grid has put forward a scheme to pay customers to use less power on Monday and Tuesday evenings.

Over a million residential users and businesses are signed up to the Demand Flexibility Service (DFS), which rewards people – usually with money off their bills – for turning off high usage appliances like ovens and dishwashers during the early evening when electricity demand is high.

The National Grid warned in October that homes could face three-hour rolling power cuts this winter if the country was unable to secure enough gas and electricity imports. The organization launched the DFS as part of its tool box to help prevent cuts. The service, which has been trialed but not run in a live situation before, would run from 5 PM to 6 PM on Monday and Tuesday, it said, adding that the move did not mean electricity supplies were at risk and advised people not to worry.

The measures were announced to "Ensure that everyone gets the electricity they need," Craig Dyke, head of national control at National Grid ESO, told BBC Radio, adding that 26 energy suppliers had signed up for the scheme.

So far, the winter has not been particularly harsh and no emergency measures have been necessary. The back up coal plants have not been needed and have been stood down as power from French nuclear stations has been available via interconnectors to the British grid system.

Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of British Energy regulator Ofgem was confident that there would be sufficient power but noted, "We need to remain vigilant and cautious about what may happen in the future," as the UK does not have sufficient gas storage for a cold winter.


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