National Grid chiefs want individuals with smart meters to show off power-hungry appliances equivalent to washing machines, tumble driers and computer games consoles during peak usage times. As an incentive, it plans to supply rebates of as much as £6 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to households that cut electricity use within the high-demand slot between 5pm and 8pm.
Officials have applied to regulator Ofgem for permission to introduce the scheme by late October amid fears that top autumn usage could over-stretch the network.
A National Grid spokesman said: “We’re developing a latest service that shall be available for consumers to learn from across this winter and shall be announcing further information soon.”
One other source added: “It is certainly not about people sitting at the hours of darkness, or volunteering to be cold. It’s about doing the washing at a distinct time of day that form of stuff.”
Details emerged ahead of next Friday’s announcement of the brand new energy price cap rise, with fears the ceiling is predicted to achieve £4,200 in January.
The cap is currently at £1,971 for the common household.
But one forecast has even suggested energy prices could spike at as much as £6,000 a 12 months for the standard family by next April.
Consultancy Auxilione predicted the cap on bills will rise to £4,799 in January and hit £6,089 next spring.
The brand new forecast is a rise of £96 in January and £233 in April in comparison with the last one.
The National Grid plan comes after experts forecast a one in 10 likelihood of power cuts and suggestions that the Government is planning for the worst-case scenario.
Germany has ordered reductions in energy use and France is preparing a “sobriety plan” to conserve reserves in case Russia’s war in Ukraine results in gas shortages.
The rebate scheme was tested last February and March, when 105,000 Octopus Energy customers were asked on eight separate occasions to show down appliances for 2 hours.
Octopus, which rewarded households who cut their use by 30 to 40 per cent with a payment of twenty-two.7p for each kWh saved, said: “This demonstrates that domestic flexibility is able to be mobilised.”
The Energy Savings Trust says washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers account for 14 per cent of a typical energy bill, while consumer electronics equivalent to laptops, TVs and games consoles account for an additional six per cent.
A Whitehall source suggested ministers would likely back the move, with leadership hopeful Liz Truss and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng already pledging more help for under-pressure households.
But James Taylor, of disability equality charity Scope, fears those he represents will need greater assistance, saying: “For disabled individuals who need equipment on 24/7, it won’t be enough.
“Life costs more whenever you’re disabled. Many disabled people can’t pick and select after they use energy, whether it’s to control body temperature or to charge equipment. That’s why the Government must urgently double the support package and explore discounted tariffs.”
Meanwhile, electric vehicle (EV) owners could also be ready to assist – by selling surplus power from the battery of their parked vehicle to the National Grid.
It comes after a pilot showed it could help protect the UK from blackouts. Also conducted with Octopus Energy, the scheme showed it will be viable to link cars to the grid via the “balancing mechanism” used to stabilise power supplies.
Plugging an EV into the grid doesn’t create any latest power however the automobile battery can provide storage.
It might probably then release stored energy at peak times, thus reducing the necessity to install extra generating capability.
The vehicle could be programmed to depart the battery with enough power to drive a given range. The experiment, using 20 Nissan Leaf cars, was backed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.
One Leaf accommodates enough energy to power 100 homes for an hour. If the owner sells surplus power at peak time, they will expect to earn about £180 a 12 months.
In the event that they aren’t on a wise tariff, but switching from a regular tariff, they are going to gain £840 a 12 months. Jake Rigg of National Grid ESO said: “Vehicle-to-grid technology opens the door for everybody to have interaction in our electricity system, in a way that we are able to all profit.”
Claire Miller, director of technology and innovation at Octopus, said motorists can select how long they export power for.