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How to save on your energy bills next winter

Written by: Emma Lunn
National Grid plans to bring back ‘demand flexibility’ payments for saving electricity next winter, according to a report in The Times.

Under the Demand Flexibility Service (DFS), Brits are paid to switch off their energy at peak times with the aim of avoiding power blackouts. The National Grid tells energy suppliers when they can trigger the DFS and suppliers then contact customers asking them if they want to take part. The first ‘live event’ under the scheme was in January 2023.

Although winter 2022-23 passed without the feared blackouts, The Times has reported that National Grid is preparing to run the scheme next winter too. The move comes after two old coal plants – EDF’s West Burton A plant and Drax’s coal units – which were kept open last winter, closed.

Energy secretary Grant Shapps asked National Grid to explore keeping the plants on standby again for winter 2023-24, but EDF has ruled this out.

The Times reports that National Grid has been consulting suppliers and the regulator over the future of the demand flexibility service and is drawing up plans to use the scheme next winter. Ofgem will need to sign off on the plans before they can go ahead.

What you need to save on energy bills

To benefit from the scheme, households need a smart meter and to be a customer of one of the energy suppliers taking part. Households that signed up were notified typically a day in advance of the need to cut usage for a few hours, usually between 4pm and 7pm.

Energy bills for UK households have soared in the past year due to a rise in demand and an increase in wholesale prices because of the war in Ukraine.

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