British Gas joins scheme that will pay customers to use less electricity in peak times this winter

British Gas joins flexibility scheme to encourage consumers to turn off energy Britain's biggest provider said it hopes 100,000 customers will sign up Households could save up to £100 for turning off their energy during peak hours 

British Gas will pay up to 100,000 customers not to use electricity at peak times – earning consumers £4 a day for every unit they reduce.

Britain’s largest energy supplier has become the latest to pay its customers to reduce the amount of electricity that they use during peak hours in order to help take pressure off the national grid.

Customers with smart meters will receive emails over the coming days to sign up to the scheme.

British Gas said that it hoped 100,000 customers would sign up to the flexibility scheme, which is run by the National Grid.

British Gas joined the National Grid's Flexibility Scheme which allows consumers to save money by turning off their devices t peak times

British Gas joined the National Grid’s Flexibility Scheme which allows consumers to save money by turning off their devices t peak times

The National Grid is encouraging homeowners to take part in the scheme in a bid to avoid potential blackouts. Earlier energy company Octopus suggested its customers could save as much as £240

The National Grid is encouraging homeowners to take part in the scheme in a bid to avoid potential blackouts. Earlier energy company Octopus suggested its customers could save as much as £240

British Gas CEO Chris O'Shea said the energy company was figuring out how to make the scheme fit with people's habits at home

British Gas CEO Chris O’Shea said the energy company was figuring out how to make the scheme fit with people’s habits at home

‘The electricity grid is facing increased pressure and smart technology plays a key role in managing peak demand – reducing consumption has the added benefit of helping consumers save on their energy bills,’ said chief executive Chris O’Shea.

Mr O’Shea said British gas was exploring how to make the scheme work best to fit with habits at home and that it was an approach that would be used more in winters to come.

‘We’ll be taking learnings from this stage with the aim of using our scale to roll out to our wider customer base.’

Under the scheme, households will be paid around £4 for every unit of electricity that they reduce their consumption by during specific times.

Up to nine more ‘testing sessions’ will be held across the winter by the National Grid.

Households will be sent a text by 6pm the day before to let them know when to switch off their ovens and TVs.

When the test is over the households can then use the energy in their home again as normal .

There is no obligation to take part and customers will not be charged more for using appliances during the peak times.

For a household it means moving the time that you turn on certain appliances, rather than not switching them on at all.

It could mean that by switching your oven on an hour later than normal you are paid £4.

The scheme means the electricity grid can tap into these households on days when there will be enough electricity for everyone to do what they need, but perhaps not all at the same time.

If the grid is able to ask people to reduce their consumption during certain hours, it will therefore not need to pay to get electricity from other sources – such as importing it from abroad.

British Gas’s decision comes just days after the scheme was almost run live for the first time since launching earlier this month.

There have been three tests of the system to date, with households helping to take the stress off the grid during those hours.

Octopus Energy has been the most active supplier participating in the Demand Flexibility Service and said its customers had saved £525,000 across two tests

Octopus Energy has been the most active supplier participating in the Demand Flexibility Service and said its customers had saved £525,000 across two tests

Octopus Energy, another provider which has signed up to the scheme, saw more than 200,000 households take part in the first test on November 15.

To date, Octopus Energy has been the most active supplier participating in the Demand Flexibility Service and has signed up more than 400,000 customers.

It released data showing its customers had helped reduce demand by more than 100 megawatts during two tests – equivalent to the amount one small power plant produces.

The energy provider said 94 per cent of those who took part in the first test also participated in the second session on November 22.

Octopus customers got paid over £525,000 collectively for providing flexibility to the grid across the first two sessions, the company said.

Alex Schoch, Head of Flexibility at Octopus Energy, said: ‘We are thrilled by these first results. By cooking tea a bit later or taking the dog for a walk, people could save a pound or two. The savings may be small, but just like the 20 per cent off a pack of sausages in the supermarket, it all adds up.’

Ovo Energy announced this week it is also trialling the scheme from December 8 to March 31, although it is only available to 15,000 customers.

Customers can make a minimum of £1 for every kilowatt-hour shifted below their personal household target.

An average home could earn around £50 in total, but it could be as much as £100.

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