There is no cold snap in which the demand for electricity does not rise. Given this forecast, National Grid ESO, the manager of the United Kingdom’s electricity grid, resorts to the activation of the country’s coal plants as a reserve option for electricity generation. It is not the only resource that has raised to stop this growth, it also offers an alternative plan: pay customers to consume less electricity. Everything to avoid a possible blackout.
“ESO, together with electricity providers and aggregators, has launched a new Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) for this winter, which will incentivize consumers and businesses to reduce their energy consumption at certain times”, explains the manager on your website.
It is an idea that comes from afar. The operator announced that it would start doing a series of demo tests (maximum 12 tests) with each electricity provider between November and March 2023. “These demo tests will have a guaranteed minimum price of £3KWh, which means that a typical household could save about 100 pounds in the maximum 12 demonstration tests”, they detailed.
the plan is working
The objective: to see what was the response of the users, especially during the harshest weeks of winter. So far, the plan has worked out well. More than a million households and businesses have already signed up to participate. As of December, they have completed five planned Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) demo test events.
“Data from the first two events show that consumer engagement has exceeded expectations, and on both occasions consumers exceeded targets by more than 35%,” they say in a statement. There has been over 780 MWh of actual and projected demand reduction and estimates that participating suppliers have added anticipated savings of £2.8m. In total, 26 participate.
In the first test, home electricity providers achieved a 50% increase in electricity reduction compared to forecasts. During the second, their consumption was also reduced by 35% more than expected. Together, there was a total of 314.2 MWh of demand reduction, which is equivalent to the amount of CO2 that a forest of more than 10,000 trees would absorb in one year.
“This service successfully demonstrates that consumers across the country are ready to get involved in flexibility solutions. The results of these tests show that, if called upon, this service will help ESO to balance the national electricity grid this winter and is a valuable addition to operational tools,” said Head of National Control, Craig Dyke.
Testing will continue in the coming weeks, and that includes the deadliest weeks of winter. There is division between some customers. Amanda Boorah and her family were one of the households that participated: “You win,” they assure the BBC. However, Suzanne Murray, an NHS administrator from Southampton, says she’s not worth the little money she brings.