Energy firms urge people to turn off their electricity for a couple of hours tonight as…
December 12, 2022 at 2:45 p.m. | Updated December 12, 2022 3:38 PM
Energy companies have urged people to shut off their electricity for a few hours tonight in freezing weather conditions.
Customers are being asked to limit their use of electricity and gas for two hours after temperatures dropped to -15.6C.
The National Grid is conducting a planned test in which households will be paid to reduce their energy use between 5pm and 7pm – the period when record prices are expected during peak periods.
Octopus Energy, Drax and Eon are all participating in the program to avoid potential blackouts during the remaining winter months.
So far, National Grid’s power grid operator wing has conducted four hour-long trials of what it calls the on-demand flexibility service. But tonight will be the first two-hour session.
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Households and businesses that reduce their electricity consumption are paid for each unused unit.
Octopus customers have been the most active among providers offering this service.
The company said the scheme’s top households have saved up to £20 since it launched just over a month ago.
“This is a massive milestone. In just four hours we were able to pay our customers £1million,” said Alex Schoch, Head of Flexibility at Octopus.
“Normally that money would have gone to corporations or dirty gas plants to offset energy needs. Instead, it’s helping people lower their energy bills this winter.
“We are proud to have pioneered this groundbreaking project that paves the way to a smarter, greener and cheaper grid for all.
“And we’re excited that other utilities are now joining in, allowing even more people to grab a bargain and lower bills for everyone.”
Meanwhile, National Grid shut down two coal-fired power plants it had on standby to generate electricity in the event of a power outage.
The company had asked Drax, which owns Britain’s largest power station in North Yorkshire, to prepare two coal-fired blocks on Monday.
However, they were canceled due to the high output of wind and nuclear power, reducing the likelihood of energy shortages.
Households should “continue to use energy as usual”.
It comes as commuters face travel hell on their journey home tonight, with disruptions expected on roads, railways and runways.
The knock-on effect of the cold snap has seen flights cancelled, stretches of motorway closed for several hours and trains halted.
Drivers on northern sections of the M25 were stuck for several hours as traffic came to a standstill.
Britain’s busiest motorway was closed in both directions between Junction 23 for South Mimms and Junction 25 for Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire on Monday morning.
National Highways said the closure was caused by “snow and jackknife trucks.”
Those traveling to UK airports have been urged to check their travel plans and flight status with their airline before setting off too.
Several subway lines also experienced significant delays throughout the day.
The routes most affected seemed to be those with extensive stretches of above-ground track, as icy rails wreaked havoc on almost all routes.
And conditions are only set to deteriorate as a rail strike on Tuesday will also have devastating effects.
Parts of the UK will continue to be battered by snow and ice on Tuesday – with the potential for the country to experience the coldest night of the year for a second straight day.
The Met Office has issued a yellow snow and ice warning for northern Scotland and north east England from midnight Tuesday until midday Thursday.
A separate snow and ice warning will cover Shetland until midnight tonight.
There is also an ice warning covering much of the south east, including London and Brighton, until 11am on Tuesday.
Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon said it will snow heavily again in some places on Tuesday.
“Effective from midnight tonight until Thursday noon, (there is a) major snow and ice warning covering the north-east of England, the whole of northern Scotland and the Highlands and Islands,” he said.
He added that “up to 15 to 20 centimeters of snow could accumulate over high ground.”
Mr Claydon said northern Scotland could see even colder temperatures on Tuesday after it broke the record for the coldest night of the year on Monday.
“In terms of temperature, we could see another very cold night, especially in parts of Scotland where we have this snow,” he said.
“We saw minus 15C last night. We could see similar or possibly even colder temperatures tonight with clear skies as snowfall settles in places.
“So a very cold night there, but also broadly very cold across the UK, with freezing conditions widespread.”
Mr Claydon urged commuters across the UK to “take a little extra time” when driving and travel with “a little extra caution”.