A substantial volume of energy customers, including businesses, totalling over a million, have opted to join the Demand Flexibility Scheme offered by the National Grid. The programme, launched earlier this year, is designed to mitigate the strain on the national power grid during periods of high demand and consequently help in the prevention of blackouts. Participants could earn around £3 for each kilowatt-hour they save, although the payments will vary depending on the supplier you are registered with. Craig Dyke, Head of National Control, indicated the service would work towards balancing the national energy network this winter.
The Demand Flexibility Service functions by providing financial incentives to households and firms that conserve energy. This would lessen the likelihood of emergency responses and enable the National Grid to avoid utilising energy generators in times of peak demand. The programme will operate for approximately 12 sessions per week on weekdays between 3rd November 2022 and 31st March 2023. The duration of the reduced energy period would be around one hour for every session, necessitating a reduction of around 30% of normal energy consumption. To take part, one must have a smart meter capable of taking half-hourly readings and be registered with a participating supplier, which includes EDF and Octopus Energy, among others.
Ahead of each session, participants receive a day’s notice and can opt-in or out depending on their schedules. There are no penalties for abstaining from the service, but you will not receive incentives from your supplier even if you indicate interest. The service is open as much as possible to all eligible parties, but contact with a supplier needs to be established before registration. Some suppliers operate on an invitation-only basis.
The Demand Flexibility Service comes at a time when a number of small businesses are finding it problematic to keep up with their energy bills. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has expressed an interest in extending the Energy Bill Relief Scheme for all British businesses beyond March. However, this would be lower compared to the existing level. Research by the Federation of Small Businesses reveals that almost 25% of firms would either go out of business, shrink or consider restructuring.