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National Grid activates Demand Flexibility Scheme for an hour tomorrow

National Grid activates Demand Flexibility Scheme between 5pm and 6pm on Monday and makes coal-fired power units available to boost electricity supply

  • National Grid is set to implement its Demand Flexibility Scheme tomorrow
  • The (DFS) encourages people to use energy at off-peak times to create reserves
  • The scheme was developed to help manage the electricity system this winter

The National Grid is set to activate is Demand Flexibility Scheme (DFS) for one hour tomorrow – making use of coal-fired power units in order to boost the nation’s electricity supply.

The (DFS) was developed last year to allow the National Grid to access extra power when the national demand is at its highest during peak winter days.

National Grid ESO tweeted: ‘Our forecasts show electricity supply margins are expected to be tighter than normal on Monday evening. 

‘We have instructed coal-fired power units to be available to increase electricity supplies should it be needed tomorrow evening.’

Most of the UK’s energy suppliers have signed up to the Demand Flexibility Scheme that will pay families £100 to keep their electricity switched off during peak times this winter. (File image: Smart meter)

The Demand Flexibility Service – which is only open to those with smart meters – looks to reward homeowners for changing their electricity usage in a bid to avoid blackouts across winter.

It is among a range of tools designed to help manage the electricity system this winter. Most of the UK’s energy suppliers have signed up to the scheme that will pay families £100 to keep their electricity switched off during peak times.

Speaking at the time of its launch in November last year, John Pettigrew, head of the National Grid, said that ‘a vast majority of suppliers in the UK have now signed up,’ to the scheme.

The National Grid is hoping that it will mean less stress on the grid, making better use of the country’s electricity generation by ironing out some of the peaks.

Most customers tend to use electricity at similar times, with a particularly big spike in the evening when people get back from work, start cooking and switch the TV on.

The National Grid is encouraging homeowners to take part in the scheme in a bid to avoid potential blackouts. Earlier energy company Octopus suggested its customers could save as much as £240

‘We’re really pleased with the take-up,’ Mr Pettigrew said. ‘It will continue to grow as we move through the winter.’

National Grid runs the project, but of course requires suppliers to sign up so that their customers can take part.

Energy watchdog Ofgem had approved the proposals for National Grid electricity system operator (ESO) to launch the programme from November until March.

Households participating through the programme will be sent a message from their supplier if there is increased pressure on the system.

It will ask people and businesses who have signed up to reduce or move their electricity usage outside peak hours.

So far only one major supplier of energy to homes – Octopus Energy – is thought to have started to sign up customers to the scheme. They previously said that 320,000 of its customers (out of 1.4 million who were eligible) had decided to sign up

The savings are only possible for customers who have a smart meter (Pictured: An analogue electricity meter)  

Mr Pettigrew said that the programme could help take pressure off the grid this winter, but could also be pivotal in determining how electricity might be used by homes in the decades ahead.

In future, experts hope that most households with electric cars will plug in when they get home, but that their smart meter will wait until electricity is most abundant – and therefore cheaper – on the grid before charging the car.

‘In my mind it’s a little bit of a glimpse of the future. Because, with smart meters, customers can interact and provide services to networks that they’ve not been able to do in the past,’ Mr Pettigrew said.

‘So, for me, although it’s something that’s a useful insurance policy for this winter for the system operator, it’s actually quite exciting and it’s actually developing products and services that I think will be the norm going forward.’

The National Grid reported a 45 per cent jump in pre-tax profit to £1.6 billion in the six months to the end of September last year, largely due to acquisitions the business has made.

The business invested a record £3.9billion in capital projects across the UK and the US, as well as work on a cable that will allow Britain to tap into Danish wind power.

No one will be penalised for not taking part in the scheme, and those who sign up can still use as much electricity as they want during peak hours. 

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