Transmission systems operator National Grid said it would compensate UK consumers for using less electricity on 23 January. The group announced that customers will receive incentives if they agree to use less electricity during peak demand hours under a new Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) programme.

The service was tested before on a smaller scale, with customers of just one supplier. From Monday, 26 energy suppliers will support the scheme, including Octopus Energy and France’s EDF. However, the energy company has requested three coal-powered generators as a backup to tackle harsh winter temperatures. 

The plan enables homeowners who use up-to-date smart metres and have signed up for the scheme through their provider to receive discounts if they reduce their power use by turning off energy-intensive items at certain times.

According to reports, the plan measures consumption to a customer’s average demand and pays $3.7 (£3) for every kilowatt-hour saved. British news organisation Sky news reported it could save homes up to $123.9 (£100) in winter.  The scheme will end in March. 

A spokesman for National Grid said: “Our forecasts show electricity supply margins are expected to be tighter than normal on Monday [23 January] evening. This does not mean electricity supplies are at risk, and people should not be worried. These are precautionary measures to maintain the buffer of spare capacity we need.”

Newspaper The Telegraph reported that the National Grid launched the DFS service last year in response to concerns about power supply this winter. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and outages on France’s nuclear fleet triggered gas markets and power supply disruptions.