National Grid hints Demand Flexibility Service could take on expanded role
The National Grid’s Demand Flexibility Service (DFS), which was introduced last winter to help the UK cope with tight energy supplies, saved over 3,300MWh of electricity.
According to National Grid ESO, this would be enough to power nearly 10 million homes for an hour across Great Britain.
In total, 1.6 million households and businesses signed up to participate in 22 service events across the winter, covering both live events to balance the electricity network and monthly test events to deliver savings for consumers and demonstrate how effective the system could be.
In November, Ofgem approved the introduction of the DFS, which pays businesses and the public for reducing or moving their electricity use outside of peak hours.
It ran until 31 March 2023, and meant that a typical household could save approximately £100 through the scheme while industrial and commercial businesses with larger energy usage could save multiples of this.
Households participating through the programme were sent a message from the network during periods of increased pressure on electricity supplies which asked them to reduce their usage.
The national smart meter network also played “an important role” in facilitating greater consumer participation, National Grid ESO said.
The DFS was only used twice for “live events” in January 2023 to support the management of the network.
Overall, the data shows that it delivered 3,300MWh in electricity reductions at peak times across the 22 events it was implemented. This is roughly the amount of electricity that 9.9million households would use at peak times across a single hour.
The ESO is currently undertaking a review of the DFS alongside industry participants and consumers to assess how the service could be improved in future.
Claire Dykta, head of markets at National Grid ESO, said: “Across this winter the Demand Flexibility Service successfully demonstrated the interest of UK consumers and businesses in playing a more active role in balancing our electricity needs. Their work, alongside the providers involved in the Demand Flexibility Service, helped to maintain normal service for all GB electricity users.
“We are now working with industry and consumers to establish how this world-leading service can grow from strength to strength and support the continued evolution of consumer flexibility in the UK.”
When energy supplies were at their tightest, the UK’s National Grid was forced to ask Drax and EDF to start warming three mostly unused coal power stations at various times throughout the winter as an emergency backup in case electricity demand exceeded output.
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