National Grid will pay households to use less electricity as coal-fired power generators are put on hold

Plans for energy companies to offer discounts for people to cut off their electricity use have been extended to tomorrow.

Some households with smart meters can benefit from discounts if they save energy between 17:00 and 18:00 on Monday and between 16:30 and 18:00 on Tuesday.

For the first time, the National Grid ESO (electric system operator) is enabling its “demand elasticity service (DFS)”.

The idea is to moderate demand when it is at its peak on very cold winter days.

Households with up-to-date smart meters included in the system through their suppliers can benefit from discounts if they cut off their electricity use by turning off energy-intensive devices at certain hours.

ESO said it is waiting for proposals from suppliers to help save up to 341 megawatts of energy between 16:30 and 18:00 on Tuesday.

The plan may still be abandoned if weather conditions improve.

Will you participate in the Demand Elasticity Service? Tell us about your experience

The plan reportedly compares usage against the customer’s usual demand and pays £3 for each unit or kilowatt hour (kWh) saved.

It is thought to reduce household bills by up to £100 over the winter.

The plan will remain in effect until March, with 26 suppliers backing it, including Octopus Energy and EDF.

So far, DFS has only been used in testing.

Read more:
What is the Demand Elasticity Service and how can I save £100 on my energy bill if I sign up?

Check the weather forecast for your location

National Grid ESO said its announcement should not be interpreted as a sign that electricity supplies are at risk.

“People shouldn’t worry,” he tweeted. “These are precautionary measures to maintain the buffer of spare capacity we need.”

A spokesperson added: “Our forecasts suggest that electricity supply margins will be tighter than usual on Monday evening.

“we instructed coal-fired power units will be available to increase the electricity supply in case of need.”

Cold weather means more people are heating their homes, which increases energy demand, while a lack of wind reduces renewable resources.

Three coal-fired power plants in England, two at the Drax facility in North Yorkshire and one in West Burton, Nottinghamshire, have been instructed to start warming up in case the cold takes effect.

Craig Dyke, head of ESO national control, told Sky News: “We’ve decided to heat three coal-fired power plants over the weekend only for the unexpected, so it doesn’t have to be running.

“To ensure that when we get through the evening peak today, society has electricity they can use whenever they want to use it.”

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