Cash incentives now offered by National Grid ESO to homes and businesses willing to tweak peak consumption patterns is a key step towards UK energy security, a major advocate for clean heat says today.

 The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) has welcomed this week’s launch by the ESO of its Demand Flexibility Service, offering rebates until late March to homes and businesses who contract to have supply reduced at times of critical load on grids.

Flex contracted by households can add to commercial and industrial load-shifting as a defence in staving off feared  brown-outs lasting up to a week long this winter, as reportedly being war-gamed under NG’s Project Yarrow, the measure’s advocates believe.

For six weeks until late March, NG-ESO ran a demand-shifting pilot offering rebates to Octopus Energy’s 1.4 million consumers with smart meters.  Success in that test persuade the systems operator this week to roll out its DFS, delivered via more collaborating power retailers.

Consumers owning devices rated between one and 100 MW can sign up, provided they’re on half-hour billing, and their providers can deliver day-ahead load-shifting.     Assets contracted into the Capacity Market or with Balancing Mechanism cannot take part.

Household consumers can participate directly in the DFS, or via their suppliers. Organisations & commercial purchasers can sign up via aggregators or suppliers.

The National Grid defines its DFS process as follows:

  • It will run up to 12 tests for interested participants. They will receive dispatch instructions, with the opportunity to receive a Guaranteed Acceptance Price for tests.
  • Four tests will follow in the first full month parties are signed up. Two more tests will follow in each month which follows, up to the DFS’ end in March 2023.
  • During a DFS tender, once bids from participants are accepted, power suppliers will contact end consumers or owners of consuming devices, requesting that they deliver a ‘turn-down’ demand for the specified bid window.

The ADE helped design the DFS alongside National Grid and power industry representatives.  It advocates for network operators offering CHP or other energy services over local grids from low-carbon or legacy sources.

Sarah Honan, the ADE’s flexibility policy manager, said: “DFS is an exciting development that puts energy directly in the hands of the user by paying them to safeguard the fate of the grid.

“In this period of huge price volatility, it marks a significant step through which households and businesses across the country can start to take back control of their relationship with energy – their involvement is absolutely critical if the UK is to avoid blackouts and grid interruptions over the course of what is sure to be a difficult winter period”, Honan continued.

“Having a more flexible energy system is hugely valuable, and it’s only right that consumers can financially benefit from playing their part.”

On November 22 the ADE will host an online briefing about what DFS means for consumers and for Britain’s energy system; more details here.


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