British Gas to pay households to cut teatime electricity use by 30%

The supplier will offer a trial program to its 3.8 Million smart meter customers in the next year.

British Gas will pay its customers to reduce their electricity consumption by 30pc at teatime in order to avoid blackouts this winter.

The largest household supplier in Britain has confirmed that it is eager to participate in National Grid’s new scheme to boost electricity supplies amid concerns over energy shortages in the winter months.

British Gas, owned by Centrica, an FTSE 100-listed company, stated that it expects to begin trialling a scheme for its 3.8 million smart meter customers later in the year.

A spokesperson said that they are currently working on a program to reward customers who use less during peak hours. The target is around a 30% reduction.

The Office for National Statistics conducted a survey and found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of households had already reduced their energy consumption in an effort to save money. 43pc of adults said they were having difficulty paying their bills.

Two out of five people reported that they took fewer trips in their cars after a spike in petrol prices, which has pushed up the price of filling up the tank by nearly one-quarter in the past year.

This happened as Centrica opened its Rough Gas Storage Site in the North Sea, to increase winter energy security. Centrica stated that the site will increase UK’s gas reserves by 50%, but it will only run at 20% capacity this winter.

This winter, Centrica will open the site without any government financial support. Centrica’s chief executive Chris O’Shea said that it would require support to expand the site’s capacity next winter and convert it to hydrogen storage in the long term, as it hoped.

Rough would benefit from the support provided to electricity interconnectors. This support, which is a cap-and-floor mechanism that shares financial risk and reward with consumers, he said. He said that it was unlikely that something would be in place by next winter.

He stated that while we are not yet there, a model is likely in the near future. However, he said, “We will continue to discuss with the Government.”

Concerns about electricity shortages in winter have been raised by Russian cuts to gas supplies to Europe, and outages to France’s nuclear fleet, especially during peak hours like between 5 and 8 pm when most people are home.

National Grid will pay the household suppliers the amount they can cut to reduce the risk of blackouts.

Suppliers who accept to participate will be paid by customers who agree not to run their dishwasher or washing machine when they are requested.

Signing up for the service could get you payments as high as £240 to cover a series testing this winter. This is in addition to any payments that are required due to supply shortages. The number of payments will depend on the supplier and how much you use it.

Individual suppliers can decide whether or not they wish to participate in the scheme. Customers have the final say on whether or not they sign up.

These schemes can be difficult to implement and require trial as suppliers must determine how much they are able to reduce demand if necessary.

National Grid’s scheme opens next week and will run through March. Octopus Energy, with approximately three million customers, seems to be the only large supplier that has made a formal offer to households in the scheme.

E.ON stated that it would participate, while Ovo Energy stated it was supportive of the service. In the meantime, it is running a separate program under which customers will receive compensation for reducing peak demand.

Bulb, which is home to approximately 1.7 million customers, isn’t participating in National Grid’s scheme while it is in government-backed special admin, but is close to being purchased by Octopus.

Scottish Power didn’t respond to our request for comment. EDF stated that it intends to participate, but Shell Energy claimed it was unlikely.

Good Energy stated it was willing to participate in some form, while Utilita claimed it would launch a trial starting in November.

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