HOUSEHOLDS could be paid to use certain appliances tonight to reduce pressure on the energy network.
National Grid ESO is to activate its Demand Flexibility Service between 5pm and 5pm this evening.
The scheme entitles some households with smart meters to discounts if they cut their use of electricity.
It is due to stay in place until March, with 26 energy suppliers including Octopus Energy and EDF signed up to it, but until now has only been used in tests.
This is the first live event that has taken place.
It means you could be paid for putting on the dishwasher or washing machine overnight or charging an electric vehicle at off-peak times.
And most people currently pay the same amount for energy throughout the day and night, unless they are on an Economy 7 or 10 tariff
These give you cheaper rates during the night and more expensive ones in the daytime – so the scheme will have varied results depending on which tariff you're on.
Which appliances can I get paid to use overnight?
You'll be able to opt into the scheme directly with your energy supplier.
If you are already signed up through your supplier, then you don't need to do anything to take part in tonight's event.
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Here's what they could pay you to use during the night:
According to uSwitch, an electric oven powered at 0.97 kilowatts and used for 30 minutes costs roughly 18p.
If you used it for 30 minutes every day for a year, that would cost you roughly £66.
A household of two adults and two children does an average 468 loads of washing a year – equivalent to 1.3 loads a day.
For these households, the cost of running a washing machine costs an annual price of £159.12.
Uswitch told The Sun that using a slow cooker for eight hours costs 92p.
If you ate a slow-cooked meal every day for a month, you'd fork out roughly £13.80.
It costs roughly 27p to run a single dishwasher cycle.
So if you used it every day for a week, it would rack up over £12 a month.
It costs about £56 a year, or 0.6p an hour, to run a fridge.
You'll pay around 17p for every ten minutes you use a kettle, on average.
That's based on one with a power rating of 3,000W, so the exact amount depends on your particular one.
It costs around £80-90, depending on where you buy your petrol, to fill the average car.
The EV equivalent is the VW ID.3. The largest battery it comes with is 77kWh and the current average kWh price for electricity at home is around 28p. A full charge, therefore, costs around £22.
But if you have a long journey ahead of you, you might need to top up more frequently.
How much you spend on energy and how much you could save on the scheme largely depends on your energy usage.
It's expected that households will receive a text, email or letter explaining that if they use less energy during peak hours on set days, they could be paid up to £10 a day if they choose to opt in.
But remember – there are a few risks and pieces of safety advice to take note of if you're going to run some appliances overnight.
- Close all doors as this can help to prevent fire and smoke from spreading.
- Switch off and unplug electrical items such as TVs.
- Avoid charging devices like mobile phones when you sleep.
- Make sure any candles are out before you go to bed.
- Check your cooker and heaters are turned off.
Other ways to get help with bills
Energy suppliers offer support for those who are struggling to pay their bills.
Those on Universal Credit and older legacy benefits could get over £3,000 in bill support.
There are plenty of energy grants and schemes open to help you out if you're struggling.
British Gas has recently confirmed that it'll pay its most vulnerable customers grants worth £750 to help with sky-high bills.
Ask your supplier what's on offer and how to apply, or check here:
- British Gas Energy Trust
- Bulb energy fund
- EDF's energy customer support fund
- E.on's energy fund
- Npower's energy fund
- Ovo's debt and energy assistance
- Scottish Power's hardship fund
There's also a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you're on a prepayment metre.
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You can also contact the following if you're really struggling – help is just around the corner:
- Money Advice Service – 0800 138 7777
- Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060
- StepChange – 0800 138 1111
- National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
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