National Grid ready to pay customers to cut energy use as cold weather continues

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By Paul Homewood

h/t Philip Bratby

Now they’re getting desperate!

Households will be paid to cut their electricity use for the first time on Monday between 5pm and 6pm, under plans being drawn up by the National Grid.

With temperatures expected to plummet to -2°C today, ramping up pressure on Britain’s supplies, the power network operator is planning to call on consumers to use less electricity to help it manage the system.

Around a million people have signed up to the scheme, which will see them paid as much as £10 a day to cut the amount of electricity they use at certain times as part of efforts to tackle the energy crisis.

This could mean, for example, not running the washing machine or dishwasher during that hour, or waiting to charge an electric car until night-time.

The scheme has previously been trialled, but proposals to use it at a time of high demand have never reached this stage of planning before. Energy sources on Sunday night said agreements linked to the plans had been made with suppliers that could not be reneged on.

In a further sign of the strain on Britain’s energy supply, the National Grid also asked extra coal-fired power plants to be ready to supply back-up electricity on Monday evening if needed.

National Grid’s Electricity System Operator (ESO) said it was activating the programme, known as the Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) between 5pm and 6pm on Monday.

A spokesman said: “Our forecasts show electricity supply margins are expected to be tighter than normal on Monday 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.”

A government source said: “The morning is absolutely fine in terms of demand but we are expecting it to get higher in the evening.

“Like we have done before, we are keeping our coals warm, which is the phrase for having coal-fired stations on standby. They are ready to be backed into action along with the demand flexibility scheme.

“There will come a point where it will be a go or no go decision but the plan at the moment is to use it for the evening.

“This is not about blackouts. The point is that we can always get or produce more electricity. This is about giving people more flexibility and giving the grid more flexibility.”

Despite their “reassurance” that it is all about “flexibility”, we simply should not be in the position where we have to rely on people using less electricity.

While the weather is cold today, we routinely have much colder weather most winters, and currently wind power is still running at 4 GW:

Maybe Keir Starmer might like to explain what will keep the grid going, when he has succeeded in shutting down North Sea gas?

Meanwhile the same anti-cyclone which is keeping UK wind power low is also having the same effect in Germany. Wind output there is currently running at just 3.8 GW, against a nameplate capacity of 65 GW. Germany is now relying on coal and gas for two thirds of its power:

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