How to sign up for the National Grid’s Demand Flexibility Service scheme

Virgin Radio

24 Jan 2023, 12:33

Smart meter

Credit: Getty

Millions of households can now earn money by cutting their electricity usage by a new National Grid scheme. 

The National Grid’s Demand Flexibility Service (or DFS) is now live, and began for members of the public yesterday (Monday 23rd January), with the hope of relieving some pressure on the power grid. 

The National Grid ESO has confirmed another 'live event' will take place tonight (Tuesday 24th January) between 4:30pm-6pm

Households can earn up to £70 for turning off their electricity for an hour, with each ‘live event’ designed to offset any extra pressure of supply margins and high demand during the current cold snap in the UK. 

The ‘live events’ are supported by three back-up coal plants with no risks of blackouts anywhere in the country, and only considered a ‘precautionary measure’ to help maintain a buffer of spare power, according to Metro

If you have a smart meter, you’re already on your way to being eligible, as frequent automated readings are required to monitor the energy usage throughout the day. 

Those in remote areas may not be allowed to take part as smart meters need a wireless network, and can’t be used where the connection might not be very strong. Those rural homes on standalone generators are also not eligible to take part. 

To apply, customers with certain energy suppliers can sign up by their providers, who will then notify those paying how to activate the service. British Gas, EDF and OVO Energy are just a few of the approved providers, but if your provider is not on the list, you can still sign up through other companies without having change suppliers.

Each DFS live event works for at least one hour, usually in late afternoons and always on a weekday. 

Those taking part will be notified a day in advance with customers told to confirm if they’re taking part. 

Then it’s off to turn off or reduce the amount of electricity used in the live event, with the best way of doing it being to turn off power-hungry appliances like washing machines and ovens. 

Be careful when you schedule a tea break though, as kettles also come under appliances that use a lot of energy. 

Anyone reliant on eclectic heaters are asked to make sure turning them off won’t have any adverse effects by making them too cold. 

You don’t have to switch everything off though, as new light bulbs and modern TVs use up very little electricity, and you will have to meet a certain target in energy reduction for at least half an hour in order to earn money. 

That money depends on which provider you’re with, but The National Grid previously estimated that households who meet the targets can earn around £100 across 12 testing events. 

Ahead of yesterday’s first live event, a spokesperson for National Grid ESO told Metro: “Our forecasts show electricity supply margins are expected to be tighter than normal on Monday evening.

“We have instructed coal-fired power units to be available to increase electricity supplies should it be needed tomorrow evening. 

“This 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.”