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Households paid to use energy at night, after warnings of national shortages

Rebecca Goodman
Written By:
Rebecca Goodman

Households will be paid to use electric appliances out of peak times, to reduce the risk of energy shortages.

A new scheme, organised through the National Grid and energy providers, will see households paid for using items such as washing machines and dishwashers during off-peak hours.

It comes as the National Grid has warned that in the worst-case scenario, the UK energy supply may suffer blackouts this winter.

It said it is extremely unlikely that the power will be cut off temporarily but it remained a possibility if the energy crisis escalated.

If there were cuts in power, customers would be warned in advance and they are likely to happen in periods of high demand, such as in the early evenings and mornings.

It said: “In the unlikely event that escalation of the situation in Europe means that insufficient gas supply were to be available in Great Britain this would further erode electricity supply margins potentially leading to supply interruptions to customers for short periods.”

The war in Ukraine has largely been blamed for the current energy crisis which has seen energy bills soar.

They are currently capped at £2,500 for an average household (although many will may more), through the energy price guarantee, yet this is still significantly higher than earlier this year.

In a statement, the National Grid said: “Since last winter the world has fundamentally changed with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia”.

Alongside potential power cuts, it also said the wholesale price of both gas and electricity will remain very high throughout the winter.

Getting paid to wash at night

The National Grid’s ‘demand flexibility service’ is currently in a trial phase and is expected to run from November until March.

Its aim is to prevent blackouts but it is also expected to save consumers money on their bills.

Full details and instructions on how to sign up are expected to be published soon. At the moment, providers are being asked to sign up to trial events which will begin in October.

It’s expected participants will need a smart meter in order to sign up. This is because energy providers will then be able to record energy usage, usually at half-hour intervals, to measure how much is being used.

Early this year, Octopus Energy trialled a similar scheme which paid around 100,000 customers for reducing the amount of energy they use in peak hours.

OVO Energy pays up to £100 for customers who use off-peak hours

The latest provider to announce a scheme to change consumers’ energy habits is OVO Energy.

It is paying up to £100 for customers who use less energy in the peak hours between 4pm and  7pm.

It said participants to its ‘Power Move’ scheme will need to cut their average consumption during the peak hours to less than 12.5%, the equivalent of moving three loads of washing per week from peak time to a greener time of day.

The trial scheme will run between November and March with households potentially able to knock £20 per month off their bills.

Even if you’re an OVO customer, you can’t sign up to the scheme. It said it will be contacting selected customers by email and inviting them to join.