Public sector unconvinced by demand-side response


westminsterThe bulk of the UK’s public sector estate remains unconvinced by demand-side response (DSR), shrugging off the best efforts of aggregators and energy suppliers, latest data suggests.

Despite historically low UK capacity margins – and National Grid spending significant amounts to try and drum up greater system balancing reserves – almost half of public sector organisations polled by The Energyst fear system balancing would disrupt their operations.

Public sector organisations made up 52 of the 218 respondents to the The Energyst’s 2016 demand response survey. Eleven of those public sector respondents (21%) participate in DSR, whereas 41 (79%) do not.


Across the public sector, some 82% said they had some form of onsite generation, which suggests potential to participate in demand-side response.

Around 72% said their aggregator or supplier had tried to convince them about the benefits of DSR provision, a much higher percentage than the survey average (roughly 50% across all sectors).

Meanwhile, 89% of public sector respondents said they would be interested in providing demand-side response if it did not affect their operation.

However, disruption to core operations was cited by almost half (48%) of public sector firms as the key inhibitor to balancing services provision. That suggests the public sector is even more risk averse than the broader survey sample, of which 37% cited disruption to core business as a reason for not participating in DSR.

Those statistics suggest that National Grid, suppliers and aggregators have to work harder in convincing the public sector that DSR provision need not affect everyday operations. They may also suggest a need to standardise a route for DSR through the complexities of public procurement.

Demand Side Response reportSee how the Crown Commercial Service is attempting to monetise public sector assets through demand-side response in our new 2016 Demand-Side Response repot. Download it free of charge, here.

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