National Grid posts success with Demand Flexibility Service

Some 1.6 million homes and businesses took part in the UK’s Demand Flexibility Service this winter, it has been confirmed, with plans in the works to potentially expand the scheme later this year.

National Grid posts success with Demand Flexibility Service

Households were encouraged to use appliances like washing machines and tumble driers at off-peak times

The National Grid Energy System Operator (ESO) first launched the Demand Flexibility Service on a trial basis in late 2022, in partnership with Octopus Energy. The idea of the scheme is to reward homes and businesses for avoid using energy during peak times by incentivising them with lower energy bills, thus building flexibility into the energy system and reducing pressures on the grid.

Over the course of winter 2022/2023, a total of 22 events were held under the scheme. Domestic customers with some of the UK’s largest energy firms were paid in line with the amount of energy saved over two-hour periods.

The ESO has today (10 May) published the results of the entire scheme, confirming that 1.6 million homes and businesses participated.

In total, these buildings delivered 3,300MWh of electricity reduction. Electricity saved in Southern England, the East of England and the  East Midlands – the three most engaged regions in the scheme – could power some 3.3 million homes.

Overall, the data shows that the Demand Flexibility Service delivered enough electricity to power over 10 million homes, roughly 35% of the homes in the UK.

The ESO’s head of markets Claire Dykta said the popularity of the service “successfully demonstrated the interest of UK consumers and businesses in playing a more active role in balancing our electricity needs”.

The ESO is currently reviewing the Service to plot future improvements and a potential further rollout for winter 2023/24. Its decisions will be published later this summer.

It bears noting that only two of the events held under the service were “live events”, planned to support the management of the electricity network at times with a genuine risk of shortages. The ESO recorded that customers saved 20% more electricity during peak times for these live events.

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