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Plan to pay UK energy customers for avoiding peak-time use proving popular

More than one million homes and businesses have tested a new scheme enabling them to be paid for avoiding energy use at peak times, collectively saving some £2.8m.

The ESO first launched the Demand Flexibility Service on a trial basis earlier this year, in partnership with Octopus Energy. This enabled it to prove the proof of concept for a wider scheme, which it has been scaling up through a series of demonstration periods in partnership with some of the UK’s biggest energy retailers including British Gas and Ovo Energy.

Late last week, the ESO confirmed that both the first and second demonstration periods “exceeded expectations” in terms of how many homes and businesses took part – and how much they were able to reduce their electricity use during the early evening peak period. For this period, participants were asked to avoid using devices such as electric car chargers and tumble driers. They were paid in line with the amount of energy saved over two hours, with savings tracked using smart meters.

The National Grid ESO’s head of national control Craig Dyke has called the initial tests “a major milestone in the evolution of consumer flexibility in the UK”.

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