Why is an energy company paying its customers to use more electricity? An expert explanation
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IFRF Administration & Communication Coordinator
Experts from the University of Sheffield’s Energy Institute recently provided their insight on an unusual request from energy provider Octopus Energy. The UK company asked its customers money off their bill if they used more energy during periods of low demand.
Their email to customers says the UK is at risk of blackouts due to multiple factors: COVID-19 lockdown, the bank holiday weekend and the weather. In their words, using more energy will “help protect the UK from blackouts and make Britain greener” by balancing the grid and supporting renewable power providers.
Flora Biggins and Rachel Lee, from the Energy Institute at The University of Sheffield, provided their explanation.
“Balancing electricity supply and demand on a second-by-second basis can be a tricky business at the best of times. Add a high proportion of renewables, reliant on unpredictable weather conditions, into the mix and you’ve got a whole new level of complexity. The National Grid doesn’t just have to balance supply and demand; they also have to meet many other constraints to ensure the system remains stable.”