Plan for consumers to save cash by avoiding energy use during peak hours

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

National Grid chiefs want people with smart meters to turn off power-hungry appliances such as washing machines, tumble driers and computer games consoles ­during peak usage times. As an incentive, it plans to offer rebates of up to £6 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to households that cut electricity use in the high-demand slot between 5pm and 8pm.

Officials have applied to regulator Ofgem for permission to introduce the scheme by late October amid fears that high autumn usage could over-stretch the network.

A National Grid spokesman said: “We are developing a new service that will be available for consumers to benefit from across this winter and will be announcing further information soon.”

Another source added: “It is definitely not about people sitting in the dark, or volunteering to be cold. It is about doing the washing at a different time of day that sort of stuff.”

Details emerged ahead of next Friday’s announcement of the new energy price cap rise, with fears the ceiling is expected to reach £4,200 in January.

The cap is currently at £1,971 for the average household.

But one forecast has even suggested energy prices could spike at as much as £6,000 a year for the typical family by next April.

Consultancy Auxilione predicted the cap on bills will rise to £4,799 in January and hit £6,089 next spring.

The new forecast is an increase of £96 in January and £233 in April compared to the last one.

The National Grid plan comes after experts forecast a one in 10 chance of power cuts and suggestions that the Government is planning for the worst-case scenario.

Germany has ordered reductions in energy use and France is preparing a “sobriety plan” to conserve reserves in case Russia’s war in Ukraine leads to gas shortages.

The rebate scheme was tested last February and March, when 105,000 Octopus Energy customers were asked on eight separate occasions to turn down appliances for two hours.

Octopus, which rewarded households who cut their use by 30 to 40 per cent with a payment of 22.7p for every kWh saved, said: “This demonstrates that domestic flexibility is ready to be mobilised.”

The Energy Savings Trust says washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers account for 14 per cent of a typical energy bill, while consumer electronics such as laptops, TVs and games consoles account for another six per cent.

A Whitehall source suggested ministers would likely back the move, with leadership hopeful Liz Truss and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng already pledging more help for under-pressure households.

But James Taylor, of disability equality charity Scope, fears those he represents will need greater assistance, saying: “For disabled people who need equipment on 24/7, it won’t be enough.

“Life costs more when you’re disabled. Many disabled people can’t pick and choose when they use energy, whether it’s to regulate body temperature or to charge equipment. That’s why the Government needs to urgently double the support package and explore discounted tariffs.”

Meanwhile, electric vehicle (EV) owners may be in a position to help – by selling surplus power from the battery of their parked vehicle to the National Grid.

It comes after a pilot showed it could help protect the UK from blackouts. Also conducted with Octopus Energy, the scheme showed it would be viable to link cars to the grid via the “balancing mechanism” used to stabilise power supplies.

Plugging an EV into the grid does not create any new power but the car battery can provide storage.

It can then release stored energy at peak times, thus reducing the need to install extra generating capacity.

The vehicle would be programmed to leave the battery with enough power to drive a given range. The ­experiment, using 20 Nissan Leaf cars, was backed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

One Leaf contains enough energy to power 100 homes for an hour. If the owner sells surplus power at peak time, they can expect to earn about £180 a year.

If they are not on a smart tariff, but switching from a standard ­tariff, they will gain £840 a year. Jake Rigg of National Grid ESO said: “Vehicle-to-grid technology opens the door for everyone to engage in our electricity system, in a way that we can all benefit.”

Claire Miller, director of technology and innovation at Octopus, said motorists can choose how long they export power for.

Source: Read Full Article