The National Grid is to pay some households in cash and other rewards to cut their energy usage on Wednesday evening.

It's because the blackout prevention scheme has been activated due to the current cold snap, which has seen the North-east of Scotland given a yellow weather warning for snow and ice for much of the week.

The Live Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) started last year in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, though 5pm to 6.30pm on Wednesday evening will be the first time the service has been activated this autumn and winter.

The amount the grid pays customers varies, depending on regular energy usage, with more than 1.6 million properties being supported by the service in its first year.

That saved over 3,300MWh of electricity - enough to power approximately 10 million homes across Great Britain.

A spokesperson for the National Grid ESO (electricity system operator) said: "Our forecasts show electricity supply margins are expected to be tighter than normal on Wednesday evening.

"It 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."

Households taking part are not required to turn off all of their electricity, such as lights, but they are urged to turn off high-usage appliance's, such as washing machines, during the schemes activation periods.

Gas storage used

Meanwhile, the UK's largest gas storage facility, Rough, has released stored gas into the grid to help the UK both manage higher heating demand during the current cold weather and keep prices down. This is the first time Rough has released gas this winter.

This year, Centrica has filled Rough with the equivalent of 18 LNG tankers. Rough provides enough energy to heat over 3 million homes, every day, all winter, keeping families warm and bills down.

Rough is the UK’s largest gas storage facility. It stopped storing gas in 2017 but was re-opened for gas storage in October 2022, and its capacity was doubled in the summer of 2023. The facility, which is 18 miles off the coast of East Yorkshire, now provides half of the UK’s total gas storage.

Centrica’s long-term ambition is to turn the Rough gas field into the largest long duration low carbon energy storage facility in the world, capable of storing both natural gas and hydrogen.

Chris O’Shea, Group Chief Executive, Centrica, said: “Customers are struggling with high energy bills which are driven by international energy prices. Gas storage is vital to ensure the UK can manage demand effectively, keeping prices down, and Rough contributes more than 50% of the UK’s total gas storage.

"I’m proud of the actions our team has taken over the last 18 months, including our decision to bring Rough back online, to underpin the UK’s energy security. However, we still have the lowest levels of energy storage of the world’s major economies with the ability to store fewer than 8 days of peak winter demand and this leaves us susceptible to shocks in international markets."

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