The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) has welcomed the new ‘Demand Flexibility’ service (DFS) from National Grid ESO to be introduced this winter, with the service enabling some consumers to contribute towards balancing the electricity system and simultaneously helping ease pressure on their rising bills.
The new winter service will enable suppliers to provide consumers with offers that rewards them when voluntarily reducing their energy demand at specific times. It is expected this will also help to raise consumer awareness about the benefits of demand side response and flexibility.
Households and businesses will be able to participate via their energy suppliers if they have a smart meter installed and if the supplier is able to offer suitable customer tariffs. However, as nearly half of all energy meters in the UK are not smart meters, including many of the four million consumers on pre-payment meters (of whom are often the most vulnerable consumers), there will be a large population who may well not have the option to benefit from this service.
The REA says that it has long called for an acceleration of smart system and flexibility policies that deliver benefits to the energy system and consumers. The increased rollout of smart meters will help to maximise the benefits of this service across the UK.
Mark Sommerfeld, head of power and flexibility at the REA, said: “The REA welcomes the new ‘Demand Flexibility’ service being run by National Grid ESO, which will provide consumers with the option to voluntarily reduce their energy demand at specific times this winter and be rewarded. This will allow both households and businesses to play a role, via their energy supplier and smart meter, to help in balancing the electricity system and ease pressure on rising bills.
“The REA has long called for the accelerated delivery of flexible energy products, such as this, that reward energy users for reducing and shifting their energy demand. This will be crucial to the delivery of a decarbonised and decentralised energy system. However, such innovations are dependent on the right infrastructure being in place to enable participation in new energy markets.
“The delivery of this scheme is a positive step forward, but more will need to be done to enable all consumers to be able to participate, including speeding up smart meter deployment and delivery of wider energy efficiency measures.
“The REA looks forward to further information regarding details of implementation of this scheme and stands ready to work with industry to see this new service delivered.”