The new Demand Flexibility Scheme, introduced by the National Grid ESO, is changing the way some households in the UK use their electricity. But what exactly is it and could you get paid to use less electricity?
Many households will be using prepayment meters to carefully track the amount of energy they are using and paying for, but during the Cost of Living Crisis, this may not be the best option. So much so, that Citizens Advice estimated that 600,000 people were forced onto prepayment meters in 2022 because they could not afford their energy bills.
What is the Demand Flexibility Scheme?
The new scheme was introduced by the ESO, in a bid to reduce the demand for electricity in peak times. To do so, energy suppliers would give UK households bonuses when they use electricity during off-peak hours. Currently, peak hours for electricity in the UK are between 5pm and 8pm. Therefore, under the Demand Flexibility Scheme, participants would wait to use energy-heavy apparatus such as dishwashers out of these hours, or choose more energy-efficient options during. For example, you may decide to use an air fryer or microwave over the oven for tea.
How much could you earn by buying back electricity use?
In October of last year (when the DFS was first launched), participants could earn up to £3 per kilowatt hour. Fintan Slye, the director of the National Grid’s scheme wrote in The Guardian that households could earn up to £100, a vital saving for many during the cost of living crisis. The £3 bonus is a large increase on the previously offered £0.52.
Taking part in the Demand Flexibility Scheme
The most recent dates that this scheme was trialled were in late January, the 23rd and the 24th. As it stands, the scheme will run up until March. The discounts will only be offered on select days up until March and those who are taking part will be contacted by their energy supplier the day before.
You can only take part in the DFS if you have a smart meter installed and if your current energy provider has signed up to take part. Currently, 26 suppliers across the UK have signed up, you can see this full list here.
If you have both the smart meter and your energy supplier offers the discount, you may already have been contacted in regards to participating. If this is not the case, you can reach out to your supplier and ask to be involved. Do note, further criteria to be involved differs from supplier to supplier and therefore it is always best to contact your energy provider directly to find out more about their unique restrictions.
How much could you earn with the energy saving scheme
As with participation criteria, the amount you can earn varies depending on your supplier. You could earn between £3 and £6 per kilowatt hour whilst the scheme is running.
Currently, EDF are paying customers £3 during the scheme and Octopus energy are offering slightly above this, at £3.37 per unit of energy saved.
The amount you earn could also be based on the amount of energy you save. For example, small uses of energy such as using a toaster compared to running your dishwasher or washing machine would earn you comparatively less as you are only using a fraction of a Kw.
Looking for more ways to cut back electricity and save money?
So, what are the options if you wanted to swap from a prepayment meter to a standard meter? Luckily, most energy suppliers will allow customers to move from the former to the latter free of charge. However, this is something you need to investigate if it is something you are considering, as some suppliers may charge for this transfer.
Here at Angel Advance, we have compiled a wide range of blogs and guides to help you cut back on energy usage and save money during the cost of living crisis. You can access guides relating to the cost of living, money saving tips and help for households, plus more.
We also have two free-to-use tools to help those in need boost their income and discover the best debt solution for them. Our Benefits Calculator and Free Debt Advice tools can be accessed on our website. Pop the kettle on and take a few minutes to discover how you can improve your financial situation