National Grid to pay people to stop using energy tomorrow as cold weather hits | UK | News

November 28, 2023
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The National Grid is set to pay some households money in exchange for cutting off their power on Wednesday as bad weather approaches.

Eligible properties with a smart meter could be offered money or rewards for reducing their usage between 5pm and 6.30pm as part of their blackout prevention scheme.

It marks the first time the Live Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) has been activated this autumn and winter.

A spokesperson for the National Grid ESO (electricity system operator) said: “Our forecasts show electricity supply margins are expected to be tighter than normal on Wednesday evening.

“It does not mean electricity supplies are at risk and people should not be worried. These are precautionary measures to maintain the buffer of spare capacity we need.”

According to Sky News, the scheme has been activated partly due to the cold weather the UK is currently experiencing, with temperatures set to drop further in the coming weeks.

The scheme was first launched in 2022 as a result of the war in Ukraine and more than 1.6 million households and businesses have been involved so far.

The amount paid to customers varies depending on their circumstances and regular energy use.

Those who are eligible will not have to turn off all their electricity during the DFS period but reduce their usage.

The National Grid has said people are urged to shut down appliances, like washing machines, that can use high quantities of energy.

The scheme is estimated to have saved more than 3,300MWh of electricity across 22 activations in 2022, which is enough to power around 10 million homes for an hour.

Typically, when energy supply is tight the UK gets more power from interconnectors with Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Norway.

But now imports are set to fall due to cold weather on the continent, with temperatures in France forecast at more than 1C below seasonal norms on Wednesday and nearly 3C below on Thursday.

Increased demand due to cold weather had coincided with outages at several gas-fired and nuclear power plants, according to Oslo-based power market website Montel News.

As the cold builds, France will turn from a net energy exporter to an importer, pushing prices higher across the board, said Montel’s editor-in-chief Snjólfur Richard Sverrisson.

“Norway will send power to the UK on Wednesday, but a cold snap will increase France’s electricity demand and they need the power for themselves.”

Sverrisson added: “While the lights are very unlikely to go out, National Grid will be forced to buy in extra gas and electricity to cover peak usage.”



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