The UK extends power saving incentives but is reducing the risk of blackouts

National Grid extended its plans to offer discounts for households who reduce their energy consumption – activating its demand flexibility service for the second day in succession.

Smart meters customers will qualify for lower energy bills if they conserve energy between 4.30pm to 6pm, when demand is at its peak.

National Grid’s electricity system operator, NGESO, argued that the scheme was part “cautious steps” to ensure the UK had “adequate operational reserve tomorrow,” but downplayed the possibility of a supply shortage that could cause blackouts.

A spokesperson stated that they had taken the decision because they currently see a similar operational picture as Sunday’s. These additional services are not a sign that electricity supplies may be at risk. However, it is a signal that we need more options to manage the network as usual.

National Grid offered discounts between 5pm-6pm yesterday to more than a million households in order to preserve the network’s operating margins for electricity supplies.

It informed energy suppliers Monday that it required savings of 659MW in order to preserve its preferred energy security margins.

NGESO also requested that three of the UK’s remaining five coal units be heated for availability in case of an emergency.

After National Grid signed winter contingency agreements with Uniper, EDF, and Drax owners, the units were placed on standby for this winter.

It also requested that the coal power plants be heated up yesterday before cancelling the request later.

The UK is heavily dependent on gas for its energy needs during a cold snap like this winter (source:

Despite Russian supply shortages and colder winter weather, National Grid has been able to avoid blackouts so far. This includes its worst-case scenario published in the winter outlook last year, which included rolling power cuts in January.

It did, however, trigger and return early-stage emergency actions on two occasions in November.

The UK currently relies on fossil fuels for 59 percent of its current consumption. Renewable generation drops in colder climates to just 15 percent.