The National Grid has proposed the plans as a way to avoid blackouts this winter.
People could be paid to switch off their high-energy appliances during peak times this winter in order to reduce the risk of widespread blackouts.
The new plans – which are set to be announced in the next two weeks – could see households with smart meters offered discounts on their energy bills for avoiding the use of appliances such as dishwashers and tumble dryers between the hours of 5pm and 8pm.
According to a report in The Sunday Times, the proposals – which have been put forward by The National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) – will now be submitted to the energy regulator Ofgem for approval, in the hope that the scheme could be underway by October.
“We are developing a new service that will be available for consumers to benefit from across this winter and will be announcing further information soon,” a spokesman for National Grid ESO said.
Reports about the new scheme suggest that households could receive up to £6 per kilowatt hour (kWh) saved. That’s equivalent to just under one hour’s use of a dishwasher or a quarter of a tumble dryer cycle (according to Uswitch, one tumble dryer load uses 4.5 kWh of energy per cycle).
With energy bills rising at a terrifying rate, this scheme will no doubt be welcome news to many of us. After all, energy industry analysts are predicting that the average annual bill will reach £3,582 by the time the energy price cap goes up in October – £200 higher than was previously estimated, and £2,182 higher than the average bill last October.
The new plans come amid fears that action will be needed to combat the risk of widespread blackouts this winter, unless the government orders energy rationing across Britain.
However, ministers are trying to avoid telling the public what to do, according to Adam Bell, ex-head of energy strategy at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
He told the Metro: “This government is wary of being seen to tell people what to do. But this is a crisis – it is absolutely the right moment for government to provide people with the information that they need to make decisions to help protect their families, and also to help reduce our overall energy demand.”
He continued: “By not educating the public about how they can best lower their demand, they’re increasing the likelihood of a security of supply issue.”
While the idea of blackouts may seem scary, the government has repeatedly reassured the public that they are an absolute worst case scenario, adding that the UK’s “secure and diverse” energy supplies will ensure everyone gets the supply they need.
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