UK’s National Grid to pay people to use less power
Britain’s National Grid said it would pay customers to use less power on Monday and Tuesday evening, in what would be first times it has used the new scheme designed to help prevent power shortages.
More than a million households and business are signed up to the Demand Flexibility Service (DFS), which rewards people, usually via money off their bills, for turning off appliances such as ovens and dishwashers during a specific period when electricity demand is high.
National Grid warned in October that homes could face three-hour rolling power cuts this winter if the country is unable to secure enough gas and electricity imports. It launched the DFS as part of its tool box to help prevent cuts.
The service, which has been trialled but not run in a live situation before, would run from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, it said, adding that the move did not mean electricity supplies were at risk and advised people not to worry.
National Grid has also called on those signed up to curb electricity use between 4.30 p.m and 6 pm on Tuesday.
The measures were announced in order to “ensure that everyone gets the electricity they need,” Craig Dyke, Head of National Control at National Grid ESO, told BBC Radio on Monday, adding that 26 suppliers had signed up for the scheme.
Below freezing temperatures have been recorded across much of the UK in recent days with the national weather service, the Met Office, last week issuing severe weather warnings for snow and ice.
A separate measure, calling on coal-fired power plants to fire up as back up power has however been stood down for Monday evening as the supply picture had improved a National Grid spokesman told Reuters via telephone.
Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of British Energy regulator Ofgem, said the country’s overall power supply outlook has improved from when National Grid first warned of potential power cuts.
He said high gas stocks in Europe and an improvement in the operation of French nuclear plants, which often provide electricity to Britain via several power links, had helped to ease the supply risks.
However, “as today’s events show…we need to remain vigilant and cautious about what may happen in the future,” he said at an Institute of Government event on Monday.
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