The Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) is a scheme designed by the National Grid to help manage energy use and demand in winter. You may be able to earn rewards from your supplier by taking part.
The scheme ran in 2022 and was successful in preventing the need for emergency blackouts when the grid came under pressure during times of high-energy use.
The scheme will return for the 2023/24 winter and there will be at least 12 sessions to take part in.
Why does it exist?
The DFS was introduced in the wake of global energy shortages last year because of the war in Ukraine. However, it also helps us manage the grid by encouraging households to shift usage to off-peak times.
At peak times in the winter, there is a small possibility there isn’t enough energy generation to match demand. The DFS is part of the way the UK is tackling this problem.
How does it work?
You will only be able to take part in the scheme if you have a smart meter and your energy supplier is signed up to take part or you sign up through a third-party service.
Smart meters are essential for the service as they are the only way the supplier will be able to monitor your consumption to know whether demand has been switched to off-peak times.
The National Grid will inform energy suppliers when demand needs to be switched; your supplier will ask if you would like to opt-in to each flexibility period. You do not need to take part in all of them if you don’t want too.
You will usually have around 24 hours’ notice so you can plan how you will move your energy consumption out of this period.
Speak to your supplier for more information about the scheme if you are interested in signing up. You can find a list of participating suppliers and third party services that are taking part here.
How can I shift my consumption?
As a general rule of thumb, appliances that produce heat are going to use more energy.
You could, for example, look at shifting your usage of cookers, washing machines and electric heaters to different times of the day.
If you usually cook at a peak-time, consider preparing a meal in a slow cooker in advance.
Low energy appliances include light bulbs and even TVs, so these are less important when considering how to shift your usage.
You should not take part in the Demand Flexibility Service if you need to go without heating, eating or lighting to make up enough savings. It should only be used if you can comfortably shift usage elsewhere during the day.
Would you like more advice on managing your energy use at home? Cosy Kingdom is a free and impartial energy advice service available to everyone living in Fife.
Our energy advisors can be contacted by: