Power Grid

24 Nov 2022

Octopus Energy’s Smart Meter Scheme Demonstrates 1GW Load Shift Potential

24 Nov 2022  by   
UK energy supplier Octopus Energy has released preliminary results from its first ‘Saving Session’ trial, which has demonstrated that – should such a project be scaled to all UK smart meter customers – the resulting flexible energy load could be over 1GW.

Image: 123rf

Saving Session is the supplier’s energy reduction scheme that allows households with smart meters to get paid for shifting their energy usage out of peak times.

Together, the group managed to reduce the UK’s energy demand during the one-hour period by 108MW, as much as a gas power station can generate in an hour and more than half of the 200MW flexibility requirement National Grid needed from all sources.

If the programme was scaled up to all electricity smart meter customers in Great Britain, the resulting flexible energy load would be over 1GW, almost as much as powering up one of the UK’s major coal-fired power stations (but without the emissions).

This demonstrates that if one other energy company delivered the same scheme as Octopus, consumer demand could have met all National Grid’s needs for flexibility.

Saving Session

The smart meter demand response scheme was announced earlier this year in October.

Octopus invited all of its 1.4 million electric smart meter customers to join the scheme, which runs from November to March 2023. Over 400,000 customers have already joined.

Over 200,000 customers opted in to the first test session conducted between 5-6pm on 15 November. The average customer managed to reduce their energy usage by over half (59%) of their regular usage during that time period.

Typical bill payers received over £1 ($1.19) for one hour’s shift (as well as saving on their energy costs). The top 5% of participants earned an average of £4.27 ($5.07).

Alex Schoch, head of flexibility at Octopus Energy Group, commented: “Giving consumers the chance to grab a bargain is a win-win-win: cleaning up the grid, cutting costs and delivering greater energy security.

“Just like the yellow label products priced to clear in a supermarket, it doesn’t need everyone to take part, but those who do get cheaper energy for themselves and drive down waste and reduce costs for everyone else too.”

The scheme is enabled by a new flexibility service National Grid ESO launched this winter following previous Octopus trials, which gives all UK energy suppliers the option to financially reward customers who reduce their electricity usage during times of peak demand.

The service, which aims to help balance the grid and lower the UK’s dependence on gas, is the first and largest of its kind in the world.


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