In the UK, National Grid plans to implement a program that rewards consumers for forgoing high-power tasks such as cooking or charging electric vehicles during peak demand periods. The aim of the program is to balance the power grid at times of the year when heating and lighting causes overall electricity demand to be higher. The organisation says it hopes the new scheme would help to avoid the need to burn more coal for energy.

The action comes after an experiment in which Octopus Energy provided incentives to 100,000 of its customers to cut back on their energy consumption. Under the scheme, customers were told to reduce their energy consumption in two-hour windows, from 9am to 11am and from 4.30pm to 6.30pm. The experiment was conducted in February and March this year when many people’s electricity bills were higher due to the colder weather. 

Octopus Energy said smart meter customers who reduced their consumption on evenings when demand is highest managed to save on average 23p per each two-hour trial window. Some participants saved up to £4.35.

All UK based energy suppliers are being contacted by National Grid to provide feedback on its proposals. It is understood a scheme could be established across suitable homes in Britain within months if energy firms agree.

The plan comes at a critical time as Ofgem is expected to add another 51% to average bills when the new cap comes into effect on 1st October. That equates to about £900 a year more, depending on usage. 

How we can help

Through our data science and behavioral science based customer engagement programmes we can help energy suppliers to encourage their customers to reduce their energy bills by using energy at off peak times. 

We can also use data to identify customers who might be better suited to a Time of Use tariff. We do this by using data and customer engagement tools such as our audit/survey to obtain further information about their homes, consumption habits and lifestyles. We can then use behavioral science based techniques to help nudge them towards switching tariffs. Read more about how we nudge customers towards a Time of Use tariff.

Our solutions can also identify and communicate with customers that might be in a position to change their behaviour/habits and complete high power tasks such as cooking, washing and charging their Electric Vehicle (EV) at off peak times. These might be people who work from home, are retired or who work shifts.

How we’re nudging people in Sacramento

Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in California is leveraging our Data and Behavioral Science based customer engagement platform, alongside our experience and expertise to educate and empower customers to utilise their electricity on SUMD’s Time-of-Day rates. Read more about SMUD’s Home Electricity Report Program.

If you want to encourage and incentivize your customers to reduce their energy consumption and bills by using energy at off peak time, get in touch to find out more about our customer engagement programs. Or discover more about our energy expertise.