Demand Flexibility Service to kick in tonight due to high energy demands

A smart meter being used with the Demand Flexibility Service next to a sink
The Demand Flexibility Service is being introduced for the first time this winter by the National Grid (Image credit: Getty Images)

The Demand Flexibility Service is to kick in for the first time this winter as the National Grid tries to curtail energy use to avoid shortages. This could mean homeowners make money back on their energy bills as part of the scheme.

It was announced by the National Grid that "electricity supply margins are expected to be tighter than normal" on Wednesday evening meaning that between 5-6.30pm homeowners could receive money back and other rewards by using less electricity.

The amount homeowners can receive will vary but the scheme could offer a welcome relief for homeowners looking for respite from energy price rises.

What is the Demand Flexibility Service?

The Demand Flexibility Service allows homeowners to save money on their energy bills by reducing their energy usage during peak demand hours.

During periods of high electricity demand, suppliers may need to deploy extra fossil fuel power generators, resulting in increased costs and higher carbon emissions.

Whereas during off-peak electricity times suppliers can afford to use less fossil fuels and more renewable energy sources.

The voluntary scheme was introduced in the winter of 2022/23 in order to create a more flexible and responsible way of consuming electricity.

Why is it being introduced tonight?

The Demand Flexibility Service is being introduced tonight, which will be the first time since last winter, after it was predicted energy demands were going to peak tonight.

It was announced on the National Grid ESO (electricity system operator) Twitter account that: "Our forecasts show electricity supply margins are expected to be tighter than normal on Wednesday evening. We are activating a Live Demand Flexibility Service event between 17:00-18.30 tomorrow

"It does not mean electricity supplies are at risk and people should not be worried. These are precautionary measures to maintain the buffer of spare capacity we need."

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Do I qualify for the service?

In order to qualify you'll need a smart meter that provides readings every half-hour.

This is in order to precisely track home energy usage during a Demand Flexibility Service event and establish a baseline of your energy usage over the last 60 days.

You must also be signed up to an energy provider who participates in the scheme. You can see a full list of registered suppliers on ESO’s website.

How can you save?

You can enrol with either your retail energy supplier or online providers/apps participating in the Demand Flexibility Service.

If you've joined with a registered provider, they will notify you before the event starts indicating when you should adjust your electricity usage. Events typically last an hour, but tonight's will last for an hour and a half.

When signing up you'll need to authorise your provider to access your smart meter for half-hourly data readings throughout the service duration. 

After that, you only need to reduce energy use during eligible event times and then you can make savings on your energy bills.

Where can I reduce electricity output the most?

You may now be thinking 'What uses the most electricity in a home?' in order to make the most savings.

Energy saving tips include using less energy-intensive appliances such as tumble dryers, ovens, dishwashers, and immersion heaters.

Using power-efficient alternatives during the event, like opting for a microwave over an electric oven, can contribute to reducing electricity consumption.

In contrast, televisions, laptops, and energy-efficient lightbulbs generally have lower power demands, so adjusting their usage times will likely have a limited impact.

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.