Energy firm will pay customers to use less electricity at certain times of the day

By Hiyah Zaidi
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 1:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th February 2022, 1:29 pm
Some households will be paid to ration their power usage at quieter hours of the day under a trial by the National Grid (Shutterstock)
Some households will be paid to ration their power usage at quieter hours of the day under a trial by the National Grid (Shutterstock)

Some households will be paid to ration their power usage at quieter hours of the day under a trial by the National Grid.

The aim of the trial is to help households reduce bills during the cost-of-living crisis, with energy prices set to soar.

Here we take a look at what the trial is and how it will work.

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What is the trial?

From Friday 11 February 2022, up to 1.4 million households who have a smart meter with Octopus Energy will be paid if they cut their normal electricity usage at certain two-hour periods during the day.

The move is a pilot scheme designed to pave the way to reduce pressure on the electricity grid by spreading energy usage across peak and off-peak times as the UK ditches reliable but dirty fossil fuel plants.

When will the two hour periods be?

Households could be asked to delay a laundry cycle or a dishwasher load when demand for power increases.

The time are expected to be between 12-2 am, 9 am to 11 am, and 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm.

However, only one of these time slots will be offered within 24 hours, and it is expected only 5ive to 10 two hour slots will be available over the trial.

Officials also want to encourage people to charge cars and use their electrical appliances at various times in the day and night, to reduce pressure on the electricity grid and limit the amount of new capacity that needs to be built to match the electricity demand.

If targets are met, households could earn up to 35p for every kilowatt-hour of electricity saved.

Households in the trial will be informed of their two-hour window by 4 pm the day before, giving them a choice to opt-in or not.

Octopus expects about 100,000 homes to participate in the trial which runs until the end of March.

The energy giant will set personalised targets for each customer within certain two-hour windows.

If their target is attained, Octopus will offer free electricity for the remaining electricity used during the two-hour slot.

How will it work?

The aim will be to reduce electricity consumption by a certain amount depending on the normal amount of electricity used during the set period.

If the target is reached, Octopus will apply credit to your bill to cover the amount you did use within the window.

Eligible customers will receive an email from Octopus inviting them to the trial.

What has been said?

Head of National Control at ESO, Isabelle Haigh, said: “System flexibility is vital to help manage and reduce peak electricity demand and keep Britain’s electricity flowing securely.

“This trial will provide valuable insight into how suppliers may be able to utilise domestic flexibility to help reduce stress on the system during high demand, lower balancing costs and deliver consumer benefits.”

Greg Jackson, founder of Octopus Energy Group, said: "UK households are currently suffering from huge energy bill increases caused by the global gas crisis. We speak to 30,000 customers a day and know first-hand how hard the situation is for many in this country.

"Octopus Energy has pioneered energy trials that put consumers in the driver’s seat, allowing them to save money when energy is cheaper and greener. We are glad that National Grid ESO have now joined us in our efforts to build a smart grid that puts money back into peoples’ pockets and drives the green energy revolution - and this trial is an incredibly important step to make it a reality."

A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com