The UK’s National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) plans to continue load shedding measures introduced in 2022 to reduce the risk of blackouts this winter.  

The Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) was introduced last winter amid energy shortages resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The scheme uses volunteer households that will switch off appliances for a certain period as a means of load shedding.  

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According to a National Grid ESO press release the scheme was “used last year to incentivise consumers and businesses to reduce their electricity usage at specific high demand periods”. 

The National Grid ESO told reporters that it was “prudent to maintain” the DFS and that the terms of the scheme are now open for consultation.  

The body’s Early Winter Outlook Report, published on 15 June, expects that the grid will have sufficient capacity to meet demands for this winter. 

According to the report, “the de-rated margin in this Base Case scenario is 4.8GW (around 8%)” for this year. This reduces the period when demand may equate to more than supply to 0.1 hours, compared with 0.2 hours last year.  

“That is really healthy, but even within that there will be tight days,” National Grid ESO corporate affairs director Jacob Rigg told Sky News. “There will be cold snaps in the winter and therefore we do expect to use our normal operational tools. 

“We are continuing to have discussions on the availability of having two coal units in contingency contracts this winter. One of the units held in contingency last winter has returned to the market. The other two units have now closed,” he went on. 

The National Grid ESO will review its winter outlook in September and update findings.