Get paid to use less electricity with a new National Grid scheme

A new scheme by the National Grid Electricity System Operator has launched giving you £100 for using your appliances during off-peak times following blackout fears.

Even with the Energy Price Guarantee, which has frozen energy prices until April 2023, and the government’s £400 energy grant, we’re all still looking for ways to save on our bills. The good news is thanks to a new scheme by the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) you could be compensated for using less energy. 

National Grid has launched a scheme that will give smart meter customers up to £100 if they reduce off-peak energy use during the winter to help combat blackout fears. 

In an effort to encourage people to reduce energy use during peak times and decrease the chances of power cuts this winter, the ESO has said it will give smart meter customers the chance to earn £3 per kWh by using appliances at night.

National Grid says the scheme will have 12 test days to see how customers respond between November and March 2023. Those customers taking part in the test will get 24 hours’ notice to use less energy for an hour between the hours of 4pm and 7pm 

Customers with smart meters living in England, Scotland and Wales who are taking part will be given 24 hours’ notice of a “test” day where they will be asked to reduce their peak-time electricity use for a one-hour period, likely to be between 16:00 and 19:00.

The scheme was trialled by Octopus Energy earlier this year. The energy supplier asked its clients with smart meters to use more energy during off-peak times. Customers with Economy 7 meters are already eligible for a cheaper night-time rate, but now the ESO is announcing a nationwide scheme for small to medium-sized businesses and homes with smart meters.

National Grid will pay energy suppliers signed up to the scheme to operate it and pass the savings on the smart meter customers.

How will I get paid to use less electricity?

How you get the money will be down to your supplier, but it could come as a credit on bills – similar to the £66 instalments we’re getting as part of the £400 energy grant

Octopus Energy has also unveiled its own scheme, “Saving Sessions”. For every unit of energy that customers save compared to their typical usage throughout a set time, Octopus calculates it will pay its 1.4 million smart meter customers £4 on average – saving them around £100 throughout the winter, until March 2023. The supplier will send customers an email with information about its scheme and how they can sign up to get a text outlining the hours when they should use less electricity to get qualify for the payment. 

Ovo Energy has launched a similar scheme. The supplier is asking volunteers to cut their average energy consumption between 4 pm and 7 pm – when it claims we use up to one-fifth of our energy. If you manage to lower your energy use to Ovo’s threshold, it will pay you £20. Its trial will run from November 2022 to March 2023. You don’t have to do anything if you choose not to take part — you’ll just be billed at the standard 34p per kWh rate. 

Why are we getting paid to use less electricity?

The ESO is launching the scheme to help protect the grid throughout peak hours. The National Grid warned earlier this year that the UK could face power cuts between 4pm and 7pm, during cold days in January and February, if we don’t get enough gas from Europe. Of course, blackouts aren’t on the cards yet and the ESO’s campaign is aimed at incentivising customers to use less energy so we can avoid them.

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