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The Return of the Demand Flexibility Service

Electricity pylons across a field in winter
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Dec 13, 2023
4 minutes read

What Is It?

It’s come to that time of year again when energy suppliers are rewarding their customers for shifting their usage away from peak times. Known as the Demand Flexibility Service, the ongoing trial from the National Grid ESO helps balance energy production and demand. It works as a way of reducing the need for fossil fuels and helps use up renewable energy as it’s generated.

How Does It Work?

At specific predetermined times, the grid will pay suppliers and some providers a set amount per kWh of electricity saved by their users. It is then up to energy suppliers how much of this they pass on to consumers and in what form. You also need to sign up to the scheme first in order to receive any rewards, but this can only be one supplier per household.

How Do I Qualify?

For starters, your household needs to have a smart meter. Without this, your electricity supplier won’t know how much of your usage you’ve shifted. It needs to be working properly and sending readings every half hour.

Participating energy suppliers then advertise to their customers that they are running the scheme. There is limited availability, so it’s usually on a first come, first served basis. Once on board, you’ll be notified a short while in advance when to cut your usage. After the event, you need to opt into the next one.

When to Cut Usage

In a deliberate attempt to see how effective the scheme is on short notice, the exact dates of the Demand Flexibility Service will be announced perhaps a day in advance. They usually last for around an hour at peak times between 4.00pm and 7.00pm on weekdays, so that gives you a little advanced warning already. All you have to do then is shift your use until later or time energy-intensive appliances to run earlier.

Energy Supplier Rates

Not all energy supplies are offering the same rates, or even passing on all the savings they receive. While it’s expected that National Grid will give suppliers £3/kWh of electricity saved, most suppliers are passing this on as-is to their customers. Others offer a points-based scheme, which you can transfer into credit or other rewards. Shell, on the other hand, offers entries into a prize draw for a meagre £20 gift card.

Last year, while some customers received more than £20 in payments for taking part in the energy reduction days, most earned less than this. Utilita expects anyone taking part to earn around £31.75 this year, based on the 12 expected days between now and March 2024.

Full rates can be seen in the table below.

Get Money Back This Winter

As well as reaping the benefits of electricity credit and helping relieve pressure on the national grid, there are other ways you can get money back.

Flight Delay

If you’ve ever had a flight delayed for at least three hours in the last six years, you may be entitled to up to £520 in compensation. Use our flight delay compensation calculator to find out how much you’re entitled to. There’s also a separate one for cancelled flights.

Uniform Tax Rebate

Having to maintain and wash your uniform for work entitles you to a tax rebate on a standard £60 flat rate. Different professions can be entitled to larger amounts, such as £144 for cabin crew. Once applied for, this benefit carries on into future tax years automatically.

Diesel Emissions

Having owned a diesel car between 2007 and 2018 may entitle you to a group claim for compensation against the vehicle manufacturer. As carmakers are being taken to court separately and very slowly, this may not be a quick payout. Here’s how to find out if your diesel claim is genuine.