You may have heard discussion about the potential for energy blackouts and whether householders and businesses should be encouraged to ‘turn it down’ or ‘shift demand’.
The likelihood of blackouts is, we understand, remote.
The opportunity for turning down and/or shifting demand is real, considerable and can save you money.
One of the causes of the energy crisis is increasing global demand for energy and a restricted supply of gas. This impacts us here in the UK because our gas fuelled power stations get switched on and/or turned up to help generate enough power to meet times of peak demand; and this power is the most expensive.
One way of helping reduce this impact is if we all do what we can to reduce our demand for power at peak times by doing things differently. This should also save you money. A “win-win” outcome!
Opportunities within the household
The peak period for power use is between 16:00 and 20:00. This is when many households come back to the home and/or are thinking about an evening meal, household tasks and settling down for the evening.
Whenever you can, consider how you might be able to do things differently!
Slow cookers and microwaves rather than ovens and hobs
There are several options for cooking food using appliances with a lower power rating. These include microwaves and slow cookers. They can also save you time and will save you money. For example preparing a meal in a slow cooker and/or using a microwave for cooking food could cost a tenth of using the hob or the oven. This really adds up over a week and a month.
Washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers etc.
We would encourage those of you who can, not to use household appliances such as washing machines and tumble dryers during the peak periods, but at other times of the day.
The National Grid is working with energy suppliers to roll out a scheme called the Demand Flexibility Service. This will enable households with a smart meter to take part in a national turn down during peak hours. We understand that this will take place on twelve occasions between November and March, with an incentive payment of £100 for households who take part.
Octopus Energy and Ovo Energy have now announced their schemes. They are being marketed as ‘Saving Sessions’ and ‘Power Move’ respectively. Other energy suppliers are expected to follow.
The importance of smart meters
These initiatives emphasise the importance of having a smart meter installed. Your smart meter should help you better understand your usage through your In-Home-Display monitor; and can also enable you to participate in schemes such as the Demand Flexibility Service.
Find out more?
If you’d like to find out more about reducing/switching your demand check out the links in this article and below. You are also welcome to come along to the Okehampton Energy & Retrofit Fair on Oct 22nd 2022 (Ockment Centre: 10:00-14:00) or Tamar Energy Fest on Nov 12th 2022 (Butchers’ Hall: 10:00-15:00).
Useful links and further information
There is further information about plans from the National Grid here. Please note that this is aimed at organisations within the power supply industry and contains a number of technical terms.
Tamar Energy Community was a partner in a National Grid project pre-Covid called Open LV. This was also looking at the levels of household energy demand through the day, and the opportunities for reducing this. There is more information about this project here: The Power in Your Hands – OpenLV.