Households to be paid for reducing electricity two days in a row

Fears of an electricity shortage have led to the first live run of a new energy saving scheme, as Joel Hills reports

A scheme which will pay a number of households to reduce their electricity will run for a second day in a row.

On Monday, the National Grid activated its Demand Flexibility Service - a scheme which pays businesses and households to turn off some appliances for an hour or two.

The system is set up to ensure that no more electricity is being taken out of the system than is being put in at any given minute.

It also entitles some households with smart meters to discounts if they cut their use of electricity.

On Tuesday it will run between 4.30pm and 6pm, it has been confirmed by the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO).

The Tuesday session of the Demand Flexibility Service will come just 24 hours after the first live run took place between 5pm and 6pm on Monday.

An ESO spokesperson said: “The use of these additional services is not an indication that electricity supplies are at risk, but that we require greater options to manage the network as normal.”

Wind turbines Credit: PA images

It comes as recent cold weather and bad conditions for wind turbines have left the grid with less supply to meet demand than it would have liked.

National Grid have said 26 suppliers have signed up to its Demand Flexibility Service.Customers of Octopus Energy are among those who can expect higher-than-usual payouts.

The supplier said all customers who take part can expect to be handed £3.37 worth of points per unit of electricity they save, 50% higher than past payments.

The Government agreed deals with coal plants that would otherwise have closed to be on standby.

The plants need time to slowly warm up before they can start producing electricity for British homes so the grid needs to warn them in advance.

The warming up order was cancelled on Sunday night.

Coal mines Credit: PA images

But because the plants spent most of Sunday warming up, they can now be called into action at shorter notice on Monday evening if needed.

Expert Adam Bell, who is head of policy at consultancy Stonehaven, said the system was working as it should.

He said: “This is all fine and just the grid doing its job,” Mr Bell said, adding that the demand flexibility side is “interesting”.

Craig Dyke, ESO head of national control, told Sky News: “We took the decision over the weekend to warm three coal-fired power stations, just for contingency, so not necessarily to run. “Just to ensure that as we get through the evening peak today, we can ensure society that there will be electricity for them to use when they want to use it.”

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