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National Grid ready to pay customers to cut energy use as cold weather continues

January 23, 2023

By Paul Homewood


h/t Philip Bratby


Now they’re getting desperate!



Households will be paid to cut their electricity use for the first time on Monday between 5pm and 6pm, under plans being drawn up by the National Grid.

With temperatures expected to plummet to -2°C today, ramping up pressure on Britain’s supplies, the power network operator is planning to call on consumers to use less electricity to help it manage the system.

Around a million people have signed up to the scheme, which will see them paid as much as £10 a day to cut the amount of electricity they use at certain times as part of efforts to tackle the energy crisis.

This could mean, for example, not running the washing machine or dishwasher during that hour, or waiting to charge an electric car until night-time.

The scheme has previously been trialled, but proposals to use it at a time of high demand have never reached this stage of planning before. Energy sources on Sunday night said agreements linked to the plans had been made with suppliers that could not be reneged on.

In a further sign of the strain on Britain’s energy supply, the National Grid also asked extra coal-fired power plants to be ready to supply back-up electricity on Monday evening if needed.

National Grid’s Electricity System Operator (ESO) said it was activating the programme, known as the Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) between 5pm and 6pm on Monday.

A spokesman said: “Our forecasts show electricity supply margins are expected to be tighter than normal on Monday evening.

“This does not mean electricity supplies are at risk and people should not be worried. These are precautionary measures to maintain the buffer of spare capacity we need.”

A government source said: "The morning is absolutely fine in terms of demand but we are expecting it to get higher in the evening.

“Like we have done before, we are keeping our coals warm, which is the phrase for having coal-fired stations on standby. They are ready to be backed into action along with the demand flexibility scheme.

“There will come a point where it will be a go or no go decision but the plan at the moment is to use it for the evening.

"This is not about blackouts. The point is that we can always get or produce more electricity. This is about giving people more flexibility and giving the grid more flexibility."


Despite their “reassurance” that it is all about “flexibility”, we simply should not be in the position where we have to rely on people using less electricity.

While the weather is cold today, we routinely have much colder weather most winters, and currently wind power is still running at 4 GW:


Maybe Keir Starmer might like to explain what will keep the grid going, when he has succeeded in shutting down North Sea gas?

Meanwhile the same anti-cyclone which is keeping UK wind power low is also having the same effect in Germany. Wind output there is currently running at just 3.8 GW, against a nameplate capacity of 65 GW. Germany is now relying on coal and gas for two thirds of its power:


  1. Mal permalink
    January 23, 2023 10:17 am

    Good find Paul.
    I’m assuming these payments will only be made to people who have a smart meter, and can therefore prove their reduction in electricity use.

    So, not me then…..

    • Nigel Sherratt permalink
      January 23, 2023 12:25 pm

      And a subsidised EV. How many more subsidies do wealthy people need?

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        January 23, 2023 1:11 pm

        All the people I know near me who have (subsidised) EVs, also have (subsidised) solar panels for which they get paid an export tariff “assumed” (not metered) at 50% of total generation. Of course, whenever possible, they reroute this subsidised assumed electricity surplus into the EV battery and thus are effectively paid to charge up. And now they want to be paid to “return(!)” this electricity to the grid from the EV battery at times of stress.
        Strewth, you really could not make it up.

    • Joe Public permalink
      January 24, 2023 2:20 pm

      “I’m assuming these payments will only be made to people who have a smart meter, and can therefore prove their reduction in electricity use.”

      The first part is correct.

      The second part is a non sequitur. 😉

      There are millions of so-called smart meters that are incapable of communicating with their energy supplier.

  2. T Walker permalink
    January 23, 2023 10:18 am

    Temperatures plummeting to -2C. LOL

    • dennisambler permalink
      January 23, 2023 12:17 pm

      Global warming in West Wales, +9 C

  3. Ray Sanders permalink
    January 23, 2023 10:30 am

    “Energy sources on Sunday night said agreements linked to the plans had been made with suppliers that could not be reneged on.” So not like a CfD then!

  4. Vernon E permalink
    January 23, 2023 10:36 am

    The Telegraph headline article only mentions domestic users. What about industrial/commercial users? Will there be load shedding?

    • eastdevonoldie permalink
      January 23, 2023 1:26 pm

      “What about industrial/commercial users?”

      By far the biggest users of energy……….

  5. Rowland P permalink
    January 23, 2023 10:45 am

    Slightly off message but I heard on the BBC today(where else??) yet another prediction that Arctic ice MIGHT disappear by 2040! Well, how often have we heard that before? By all accounts, it should have gone years ago.

    • eastdevonoldie permalink
      January 23, 2023 1:27 pm

      Does this sound familiar?

      “The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer, and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard‐of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable.” —
      from an Associated Press report published in The Washington Post on Nov. 2, 1922.
      The Global Warming Apocalypses That Didn’t Happen

      • Nigel Sherratt permalink
        January 23, 2023 2:24 pm

        ‘It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated …’

        President of the Royal Society, London, to the Admiralty, 20th November, 1817, Minutes of Council, Volume 8. pp.149-153, Royal Society, London. 20th November, 1817.

      • eastdevonoldie permalink
        January 23, 2023 4:41 pm

        Nigel Sherratt – similar reports today would be seized upon by the eco- blob as evidence of Climate Changes yet neither get even close to the the UN IPCC definition of CC, I quote:

        “A change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by
        using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties and THAT PERSIST FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD, TYPOICALLY DECADES OR LONGER (my emphasis). Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.*

  6. GeoffB permalink
    January 23, 2023 10:46 am

    Planning to up my usage of electricity at 5pm, oven, washing machine, tumble dryer………I always thought Demand Side Reduction was increasing the price, on the smart meter NOT paying consumers to use less. I just wonder where the money is actually going to come from, National Grid is not renowned for their generosity, so I suppose it will be hidden somewhere in the green levies that we all pay, including the poor with advance payment meters. As we go the way of South Africa and Pakistan with unreliable and unaffordable electricity. Here’s hoping for some blackouts, it is the only way to educate the population that net zero is just not practical.

    • Chris Phillips permalink
      January 23, 2023 11:06 am

      I agree – I’ve thought for quite a while that unfortunately we’ll need to suffer blackouts before most of the population will finally understand how impracticable the Govt’s net zero plans are.
      And these coal fired stations that are now on standby – they are slated for demolition next year aren’t they? So what will we do next year when we get an inevitable cold period with no wind? Oh, I forgot, the Govt’s energy “policy” is to assume “something will turn up”.

      • eastdevonoldie permalink
        January 23, 2023 1:29 pm

        “the Govt’s energy “policy” is to assume “something will turn up”.

        Indeed, next year it will be Labour’s problem!

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      January 23, 2023 11:57 am

      I run our washing machine and dishwasher over night. Always have done.
      It means the washing can go out all day rather than just the afternoon and all cockery and cooking utensils are clean for the day ahead. In the days before built in timers both at the same time now I can sequence them
      Simple really

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      January 23, 2023 12:40 pm

      Yep. Time to break the system, before it collapses totally. Just to kick the greentards in to some action. Probably won’t work, though.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      January 23, 2023 1:34 pm

      It will be recharged along with all the other balancing costs. AFAICS they have panicked unnecessarily. Day ahead prices don’t show major system tightness either in GB or on the Continent, even for peak hours. Wind forecasts aren’t at rock bottom. This looks more like a practice for the threatened cold snap in February, which could be much more challenging.

  7. January 23, 2023 11:16 am

    If anyone actually does this, look for a big boost in demand at 6pm when everyone comes back on line along with the normal 6pm users

  8. MrGrimNasty permalink
    January 23, 2023 11:28 am

    ” Craig Dyke, Head of National Control at National Grid ESO, suggested that the measure could become a regular part of the UK winter. He said: ‘It is something we strongly believe in. It provides flexibility for the system and the consumer. We see this as a growing market. We see this as a world leading step forward into a space where we can only grow and drive forward towards Net Zero’.”

    LOL, they’re not patching up a disaster, they’re leading the world! I’ll have some of the drugs he’s on.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      January 23, 2023 11:41 am

      Just noticed above includes subliminal message:- ‘Dyke, Head’
      Someone really is having a laugh.

    • mikewaite permalink
      January 23, 2023 11:54 am

      The drug he is on is called Net Zero . Look at his profile : totally woke , committed to decarbonisation rather than providing customers with what they need , and in many cases have already paid for (DDs to suppliers so high , many of us still in credit).

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        January 23, 2023 12:41 pm

        What a Dick Head.

  9. Simon Newington permalink
    January 23, 2023 11:29 am

    I listened to somebody from National Power talk about this on Radio Doom today.He was alll about selling this as a benefit of smart meters not the fact that they have screwed up our power sources over the last 20 years or so .
    Just wait till we all have installed heat pumps and run electric cars that need recharging .It will become a daily event .
    Bloody madness writ large !!!

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      January 23, 2023 1:38 pm

      Power cuts where they agree to pay compensation up front.

  10. January 23, 2023 11:41 am

    Motionless wind turbine blades on a long car journey this morning in cold South England, but Net Zero is likely to be a sustainable policy … demand is being destroyed at roughly the same rate as proper power stations.

  11. January 23, 2023 11:48 am

    the National Grid also asked extra coal-fired power plants to be ready to supply back-up electricity on Monday evening if needed.

    They’re already running at >2% of total demand.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      January 23, 2023 11:54 am

      That’s from the regular units, not the ones they asked to warm up in case.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        January 23, 2023 11:59 am

        Still a warning to anyone with working eyes and ears, so not any politicians then.

      • Keith permalink
        January 23, 2023 2:09 pm

        I’ve noticed the media never mention the regular units. The implication is always that Coal is only ever switched on in these “extreme” situations, and the authorities are happy to not correct them. (Plus general confusion that an entire power station = 1 unit)

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      January 23, 2023 1:36 pm

      If they’re cheaper than gas they should be running baseload.

  12. avro607 permalink
    January 23, 2023 12:33 pm

    So it has started.The comrades in our Parliament who wish to control us are annoyed to see a low take up of smart meters,so they have decided to use a little bit of bribery,in the hope that those who have not yet succumbed to their big green lies,will clamour to be saved.The oldest trick in the book.
    Remember,when we all have smart meters,they will then control you,totally.
    Think about it.
    The book (Limits to Growth) out lines what they have planned for us.
    Be afraid.Be very afraid.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      January 23, 2023 12:43 pm

      They are OUR SERVANTS. Time to start the lynchings.

  13. johnbillscott permalink
    January 23, 2023 12:51 pm

    ESO needs to be taught a lesson about OUR electric supply. Smartmeter users have been sold a “bill of goods”, and can be penalized on a mere bureaucratic whim. The rest of the users, including Industry, should, en-mass, switch everything on at 5pm to 6pm an cause a good blackout. Then let ESB and our idiot politicians try to explain the reasons why it happened. Just watch the mea culpas with all involved blaming others and Putin and Ukraine. ESO need to realize they have a duty to provide stable power supplies to all users and stop playing Energy Russian Roulette with a public service. A few ESO heads rolling for incompetence would concentrate a few minds,

  14. Ray Sanders permalink
    January 23, 2023 1:04 pm

    Looking at the numbers, I can only see this as some form of perverse gimmick.
    They are claiming “Around a million people have signed up to the scheme,” From that I assume (risky I know) that they mean 1 million households. There are approx 27.5million households on the GB Grid (i.e. excluding Northern Ireland which is on the Eiregrid).
    So this is only 3.6% of households. Domestic electricity consumption accounts for about 35% of overall annual consumption and even though it has peaks at early evening, it is unlikely to represent more than 40% of total generation at that time.
    So assuming 50GW of peak total demand, 40% represents 20GW and even if the 3.6% of signed up totally stopped consumption that is only likely to be about 720MW.
    Even if the 3.6% were very high users normally, hugely reduced consumption and if domestic demand is a greater percentage than I have allowed for, it is still hard to see the maximum total reduction coming to more than 1GW. I suspect the real world reduction will be much, much less than my original estimate.
    If NG are claiming that such an amount is “make or break” then how on earth are we going to survive when Sizewell B (1.2GW) shuts down for refuelling in February? Indeed what if it, or any of the other nuclear plant, were to trip offline unexpectedly?
    What exactly are we being “softened up” for?

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      January 23, 2023 1:45 pm

      Here’s the bid curve

      All the way up to £6,000/MWh long before you get to 700MW.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      January 23, 2023 2:54 pm

      Check out the various planned outages here

      The wind numbers aren’t really useful, but the rest can be looked at individually using the filters.

    • Gamecock permalink
      January 23, 2023 7:33 pm

      Ray, I expect uptake to be very low, assuming it’s voluntary.

      ‘Households will be paid to cut their electricity use’

      Sounds voluntary. If you cut your use to some level, they pay you something. If you don’t, they don’t.

      Many won’t bother. Many others will ask themselves, “Do I want to stop cooking dinner for £10? Nah, not this time.”

  15. eastdevonoldie permalink
    January 23, 2023 1:23 pm

    This story was discussed on GB News this morning with a former Head of UK Energy……. in the discussion the elephant in the room i.e. NET ZERO was not mentioned at all.

  16. It doesn't add up... permalink
    January 23, 2023 1:54 pm

    Panic already over. Coal stations no longer being kept warm.

    But we’ll pay for the contracted powercuts anyway.

  17. ancientpopeye permalink
    January 23, 2023 3:38 pm

    Just received my EDF tariff by mail and I see those on E7 prepay gets their night electricity 3p cheaper than my E7 DD tariff. Surely since I am always in credit on DD that should be classed as prepaid?

  18. angryscotonfragglerock permalink
    January 23, 2023 4:59 pm

    So, if CO2 is such a good absorber/emitter and god of warming, why don’t we pump the gas into our homes to, say 1000ppm? Save a shed-load on heating bills! 🤣🤣🤣

  19. Mikehig permalink
    January 23, 2023 5:14 pm

    Meanwhile France is staying with a nuclear future:
    “EDF’s executive director in charge of the nuclear and thermal fleet, Cédric Lewandowski, told France’s National Assembly that extending the operation of the country’s nuclear fleet to 80 years is an option that must “be put on the table”. Speaking at a hearing conducted by the Commission of Inquiry aimed at establishing the reasons for France’s loss of sovereignty and energy independence, Lewandowski said: “The question of the passage from 60 to 80 years requires a certain number of study works and therefore we engage them,” L’Usine Nouvelle reported. “The 80 years, it is not a taboo,” he said. “Six reactors in the United States have been licensed to operate for up to 80 years and our technologies happen to be roughly similar.””
    (From World Nuclear News)
    Macron has committed to ordering another 6 EPRs with options for a further 8. This report suggests that these will be net new capacity rather than replacements for retiring units.
    Electricity has been France’s second-largest export for decades: that looks set to continue.

    • January 23, 2023 7:34 pm

      They are also looking to speed up the approvals process by removing some of the consultation levels so they can get started on construction.

  20. frankobaysio permalink
    January 23, 2023 5:40 pm

    European Commission still appears to be in control of UK Energy….?? They have ruled that the Capacity Market scheme must be at Standstill until they have decided if it breaches State Aid Regulations. Excerpt from Govt UK Statement today. “The UK government is working closely with the European Commission on the necessary steps for the GB Capacity Market (CM) scheme to be investigated as quickly as possible. This follows the judgment of the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case T-793/14 and the standstill period it has imposed on the CM.” Link:

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      January 23, 2023 7:46 pm

      Preventing the UK from holding capacity auctions to bring forward essential capacity is a deeply unfriendly act, with ulterior motives of attempting to screw us at times of shortage.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      January 23, 2023 7:58 pm

      Checking I see that the court case is old (2018) and has been resolved.. However the idea that 5.8GW of extra capacity can be found at one year’s notice surely implies coal must be kept on, and nuclear too.

      I detect a small element of panic at BEIS and National Grid.

      Click to access beis-update-to-capacity-market-auction-parameters-2023.pdf

      • Joe Public permalink
        January 24, 2023 2:33 pm

        Dispatchable power sources, as with trust & credibility, take ages to create and only moments to demolish.

  21. CZP permalink
    January 23, 2023 7:38 pm

    Always amazes me that the reporting of this always talks about people being “paid” to curtail usage. No one can end up with any overall payment, or nett positive from these “payments”, they are just at best discounts on the rest of their usage, or at worst avoidance of being charged at higher rates for wanting to use energy at peak times.

  22. Gamecock permalink
    January 23, 2023 7:41 pm

    ‘So far, three coal-fired power plants in the country have been ordered to make themselves ready for use to combat the shortages’


    • Jordan permalink
      January 23, 2023 10:40 pm

      In the sense of ordering a pizza. Price is agreed between the ESO and the Generator and service will be duly paid for.

  23. Cheshire Red permalink
    January 23, 2023 7:41 pm

    This is a national disgrace. Where are the eco-groups throwing litigation at the government for not supplying enough electricity to keep the nation functioning?

    Honestly, underneath the (completely misplaced) bravado from Mr Dyke this is a genuine low point for the UK.

    The politicians and policymakers responsible for this national infrastructure failure deserve prosecuting. They’ll probably get knighthoods and peerages.

  24. catweazle666 permalink
    January 24, 2023 12:01 am

    Fury over China & UAE multi-million offshore wind profits in Scotland

    In just their last full financial year, together offshore wind farms have made over £230m in profits.

    The “astonishing” array of state government-controlled firms that are making millions from having a key stake in Scotland’s collection of offshore wind farms also include France, Norway, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland. The Scottish Government has no stake in any company reaping the green rewards, even though it is in the nation’s waters that the farms are being constructed..

    Controlling interests are also being held by privately-owned energy firms in Germany, Spain, Holland and Japan.

    No comment!

    • Douglas Dragonfly permalink
      January 24, 2023 7:11 am

      ‘These wind farms are not in Scottish waters. All the waters are under the control and protection of the Crown, ie, the UKG. Same applies to fishing rights.’ And where the land rent goes.
      Hence the right king Charlie opening up a wind farm named after his niece, Princess Beatrice aka Mrs Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi or spawn of Andrew da Ponce.

    • Jordan permalink
      January 24, 2023 7:52 am

      People making profits? Sounds like the market doing what markets do best. Wasn’t it an “astonishing” array of state government-controlled firms, as well as private firms, that made millions from North Sea oil and gas recovery?
      If wind power is supposed to be “nine times cheaper” than the best alternatives, the UK Government only needs to stand back to enjoy the ensuing bonanza.

  25. January 29, 2023 1:19 am

    Use the correct words not the PR words they give you

    #2 You are paid today but the costs is merely added to yours and everyone else’s bills

    If we our own fracking and gas power plants
    such rationing would not be necessary

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