Britain’s largest suppliers offer discounts on off-peak electricity use | energy industry

Britain’s largest energy supplier has signed a scheme offering discounts to customers who cut back on their electricity usage at peak times.

Sector regulator Ofgem has formally approved a national grid scheme that could save households £100 off their bills this winter and reduce the risk of blackouts.

Last month, the Guardian revealed that the incentive for households to sign up for the scheme had been increased sixfold to £3 per kilowatt-hour. Commercial energy users, such as plants that use large amounts of energy, would get the same increased rate, at £3,000 per megawatt-hour.

British Gas owner Centrica, E.ON and EDF have confirmed that they will follow Octopus Energy, which now also owns Bulb, in participating in the national grid scheme.

Understandably, most major retail suppliers are considering subscribing. However, Shell Energy, the retail arm of the oil and gas giant, told the Guardian it was “unlikely to be involved this winter”.

The operator of the electricity system in the national grid said that the initial testing phase of the service will continue until March. The scheme is only open to less than half of households in England, Scotland and Wales, specifically 14 million with smart electricity meters.

Customers will be given 24 hours’ notice to shift their energy use from peak period – usually 4pm to 7pm – to encourage them to use energy-hungry appliances, such as dryers, outside that time frame.

National Grid warned last month that in a worst-case scenario – such as a sudden interruption of Russian gas supplies to Europe and cold weather – Britain could experience a three-hour power outage this winter.

The Guardian revealed this week that government officials were examining the Yarrow program, emergency protocols that were put in place in the event of an unexpected nationwide blackout.

The Demand Elasticity Service is part of the national grid and government efforts to ensure Britain has a strong energy supply this winter.

The Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy also signed deals to put coal-fired power plants on standby this winter.

British Gas, Great Britain’s largest domestic energy supplier, plans to start trialling a demand elasticity service later this year with the aim of reducing peak energy use by 30%.

A company spokesperson said: “By encouraging consumers to reduce their peak usage, we can balance grid demand while helping consumers save on their energy bills. We are working on how this system can work best for our customers and fit their energy habits.” the home “.

E.ON, the country’s second largest supplier, has written to customers to ask if they would be interested in participating.

“E.ON Next engages in the National Grid’s Demand Resiliency Service to help our customers lower their energy costs by reducing their energy consumption,” a company spokesperson said.

EDF said it has “selected a small group of clients” to participate and will write to them later in November. The company apologized for not all customers being able to register and said that those who were not invited would not be able to participate.

“If the trial is successful this year, more people may have the opportunity to participate in the future,” she said.