National Grid Demand Flexibility Service – what is it and how much would my business be paid?

The Demand Flexibility Service is a series of sessions where energy customers reduce their energy usage in exchange for a financial incentive

Over a million energy customers – including businesses – have signed up to the Demand Flexibility Scheme from the National Grid.

The scheme was established earlier this year to help ease the strain on the grid and avoid blackouts during high demand periods. In return, those who participate will get around £3 per unit (kilowatt-hour) they save, though incentives vary by supplier and will be credited to your energy account.

Craig Dyke, head of National Control, said: “These test results show that, if called upon, this service will help the ESO balance the national electricity network this winter.”

Here is more information on the scheme and how to apply.

What is the Demand Flexibility Service?

The Demand Flexibility Service allows households and businesses to be paid for reducing their energy consumption. This reduces the chance of the National Grid resorting to energy generators to meet demand or having to perform an emergency response.

The scheme will run at least 12 sessions on weekdays from November 3, 2022 – March 31, 2023. Again, dates vary by supplier. The reduced energy period will last for around an hour for each session and involves reducing your normal consumption by around 30 per cent.

The best way to do this is to avoid using energy-intensive appliances such as ovens and dishwashers. Low-energy appliances such as lightbulbs and modern TVs are fine to keep on.

You’ll be given a day’s notice before each sessions so that you can opt in or out depending on your schedule. There are no penalties for not taking part but you won’t receive your incentive from your supplier, even if you’ve signed up for the session.

Am I eligible?

You must have a smart meter that can take half-hourly readings and be with one of the following suppliers to sign up:

  • CarbonLaces
  • Conrad Energy
  • CUB (UK) Ltd
  • Drax
  • EDF
  • ENGIE Power Limited
  • Equiwatt
  • Flexitricity
  • Grid Beyond
  • Gridimp
  • Labrador (via Perse Technology Ltd)
  • Oaktree Power
  • Octopus Energy
  • Pearlstone Energy
  • SMS
  • VPowerU
  • Zenobe Energy Ltd

However, some suppliers are working on an invite-only basis so if you haven’t heard from them, you may not be eligible.

How do I sign up for the Demand Flexibility Service?

The scheme is open to ‘as many people as possible’ and you should have been contacted by your supplier. If not, your supplier may still be taking sign-ups – head to their website to see if you can still register.

What about the Energy Bill Relief Scheme?

The Demand Flexibility Service comes at a time when many small businesses struggle with their energy bills. After denying in the Autumn Statement that the Energy Bill Relief Scheme would be extended, chancellor Jeremy Hunt is reportedly considering an extension beyond March. It would apply to all British businesses rather than just vulnerable industries such as steel and ceramics. However, it would be lower than the current level. The announcement is due to be made ‘just before or just after’ Christmas.

Federation of Small Business (FSB) research says that almost a quarter of firms would close, shrink or restructure without further support beyond March.

Read more

Energy Bill Relief Scheme – how it works

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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