Cost of living: National Grid offering discounts to customers avoiding peak hours in bid to prevent blackouts

National Grid will be offering discounts to customers who use their electrical appliances outside of peak hours as part of a scheme to avoid blackouts.

Customers in the UK could receive discounts on their energy bills if they limit their usage of electronics during peak hours. This is part of a new scheme devised by National Grid to help avoid mass blackouts.

Under this new scheme, customers could potentially save £100 on their electric bills. However, there’s a catch - to qualify, you must have a smart meter fitted in your home.

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The scheme will be tested over a period of 12 days between November 2022 and March 2023 to see how customers respond to it. The scheme has been implemented in an effort to avoid blackouts in the UK - which could take place this winter.

To have a smart meter fitted in your home, you will need to contact your energy supplier. In England, Scotland and Wales, you can have the gadget installed for no charge.

John Pettigrew, CEO of National Grid, said they would be forced to incur blackouts in the “deepest darkest evenings” of winter, should there be not enough gas to power the nation. If gas imports are reduced, he warned customers to prepare for blackouts between 4pm and 7pm on “really, really cold” days in January and February.

The National Grid boss is confident these measures will not need to be resorted to. Despite this, he added: “In the context of the terrible things that are going on in Ukraine and the consequences of that [it was] right that we set out what some of the potential risks could be."

Fintan Slye, the director of National Grid ESO, said to The Guardian: “Businesses and homes can become virtual power plants and, crucially, get paid like one too. For a consumer that could mean a typical household could save approximately £100, and industrial and commercial businesses with larger energy usage could save multiples of this.

“We are working with Ofgem to get this scheme launched in November and for it to be rolled out through energy suppliers. If you are interested in participating or understanding what you could get paid, please contact your energy supplier.”