As the cost of living continues to rise against the backdrop of sky-high energy prices, energy providers are willing to pay customers for cutting back on their energy usage over the winter months. The proposals come after energy suppliers were invited to take part in the 'Demand Flexibility Service' scheme developed by the National Grid ESO. The scheme is designed to help manage the demand for energy over the winter while at the same time helping consumers to reduce their energy bills.
What are the energy schemes?
The National Grid has launched the 'Demand Flexibility Service' in a bid to try and combat energy usage at peak times. The scheme is being trialled this winter which will allow consumers to adapt their energy usage and in turn, get paid for doing so. The idea is that customers reduce energy usage during peak times - usually between 4pm - 7pm - and instead use energy outside of peak hours. Energy suppliers can opt into the scheme and it is available for both domestic and commercial energy providers. Not all providers are opting into the scheme and some, such as OVO energy, are choosing to run their own initiatives. The schemes work slightly differently depending on the supplier with customers being paid in different ways, but each scheme has the same aim of reducing how much electricity is used during times of high demand.
Who is eligible for the energy schemes?
If you are eligible for the schemes your energy provider will contact you to invite you to participate but you are likely to need a smart meter that reports energy consumption every 30 minutes. If you are not on a smart meter and you wish to switch to a smart meter you should contact your energy supplier.
How to get paid for cutting your energy usage
At present, there are a limited number of energy suppliers who are taking part in the National Grid's Demand Flexibility Service but it has encouraged other suppliers to join. An approved list of providers can be found on the National Grid website.
Below, we list how you can take part in the schemes as well as other schemes available with alternate energy suppliers. We will update this list as additional energy suppliers announce their participation in the flexible energy usage schemes.
Octopus energy customers
Following its successful trial in February and March this year, Octopus energy 'Saving Sessions' scheme is available to all customers on a smart meter from November 2022 until March 2023. For every unit of energy that smart meter customers save - in comparison to normal usage - Octopus energy will pay an average of £4, which over the course of the winter months could amount to around £100 in savings. If you are an Octopus energy smart meter customer and are interested in getting paid for cutting down on your energy usage, you can register your interest here. If you are successful in participating in the scheme, Octopus energy will email or text you when it is time to turn down your energy usage in peak times.
E.O.N Next has launched an initiative - 'Energy Shift' - that allows customers that want to take part in the Demand Flexibility Service to benefit from cash rewards by reducing energy usage during peak hours. To be eligible you need to have a smart meter that can send half-hourly readings and you will be contacted by E.O.N Next if you are eligible to take part in the scheme. Once you join, you will be alerted the day before your 'Energy Shift' and you will need to confirm that you will be using less energy during the shift to meet your personalised target.
OVO Energy customers
On the 6th October 2022, OVO Energy announced its 'Power Move' scheme. The energy supplier is looking for customers that are willing to reduce their energy consumption during the peak energy usage times of 4pm - 7pm. OVO Energy's research found that it is during this timeframe that energy demand is at its highest and the average household currently uses around 19% of its total daily usage during these times.
Therefore, to encourage consumers to cut back on energy usage and use energy during 'greener' times, OVO Energy will pay customers that manage to cut down their energy usage. For each customer that manages to cut their energy consumption during peak times from 19% to 12.5%, OVO Energy will pay £20 per month. This means OVO customers can earn up to £100 over the winter period. Eligible OVO Energy customers will be contacted by email so if you are interested in participating keep an eye on your emails.
How to save money on your energy bills
If your energy supplier is not yet offering a flexibility scheme, there are some money-saving tips that you can use to try and save money on your energy bill which we share below.
How to save money on gas and electricity:
- Turn your thermostat down by 1°C
- Use eco settings on appliances
- Only boil enough water for the drink you are making
- Ensure dishwashers and washing machines are full before using
- Turn off radiators in rooms you aren't using
- Draught-proof your home
- Use more energy-efficient appliances
- Switch to LED light bulbs
For more money-saving tips and for information on how much it costs to use the appliances around your home, read the following articles: