British energy supplier Octopus will pay customers to save power this winter

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British energy supplier Octopus is launching a scheme to pay customers not to use electricity during times of high-power demand to help prevent blackouts this winter, it said on Friday.

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Britain’s National Grid warned on Thursday homes could face three-hour rolling power cuts if the country is unable to secure enough gas and electricity imports.

The government said it would not be urging the public to use less energy, but National Grid said flexibility management - like the scheme announced by Octopus - would be part of its toolbox to keep the lights on this winter.

“Instead of cutting off whole chunks of the country if we are short of gas, we can reward people for using less energy at times of peak demand,” Octopus CEO Greg Jackson said.

Under the so-called “Saving Sessions” Octopus's 1.4 million customers with smart meters and around 5,000 of its business customers will be emailed and texted to be told of time slots when they could be paid for reducing their energy use.

Octopus said it expected to pay an average of 4 pounds ($4.46) for every unit saved during the specific timeframes from November to March 2023, which could allow customers to save around 100 pounds over the course of the winter.

Octopus said a trial of the scheme in February and March saw 100,000 customers sign up, shifting 197 megawatts hours (MWh) from peak time demand, equivalent to the electricity used streaming 2.5 million hours on Netflix.

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