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Energy management company, equiwatt, is offering an alternative solution to UK households who are missing out on financial incentives from the National Grid’s Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) with a free app.
National Grid’s DFS encourages households to cut their energy usage at specified peak times to ease the pressure on the UK’s energy supply and prevents suppliers from having to turn to carbon-emitting power plants to provide additional power to homes.
Customers who reduce energy usage during peak times – typically between 4pm and 7pm when demand is highest – are rewarded with financial incentives, such as money off energy bills.
Despite the scheme first surfacing in November, National Grid has said it will be activating the DFS today after warning supplies are “tighter than normal”.
But, while the scheme is actioned by individual energy suppliers, only a small number have signed up to participate. These include major suppliers such as British Gas, Ovo Energy and EDF Energy, Octopus and Shell Energy.
Several energy suppliers are also limiting the number of customers that can join their schemes even if they fit the criteria, which includes having the required connected smart meter and offering half-hourly readings.
However, households who aren’t customers of the listed energy suppliers can still take part in the scheme with equiwatt, which is independent of energy suppliers and is working directly with the National Grid.
equiwatt, which is on the National Grid’s approved list of DFS providers, has developed a free app that rewards households for saving peak-time energy.
Dr Johnson Fernandes, CEO of equiwatt, said: “National Grid’s demand flexibility service is a great initiative that offers a way for householders to access incentives for saving energy at peak times of demand, while also helping to reduce strain on the grid.”
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“But many consumers will miss out on those energy savings and the financial rewards that come with them, as they either are not invited to a supplier scheme or don’t have a smart meter.
“We’re delighted that, through our app, we can offer a greater number of households the opportunity to reduce their energy usage and be rewarded financially this winter.”
It is also expected that most energy suppliers will only offer around 25 opportunities – known as energy-saving ‘events’ or ‘sessions’ – to save on peak energy usage over the winter.
However, according to equiwatt, it will be running energy-saving ‘equivents’ year-round with over 300 events to date, helping consumers access financial benefits throughout the year, not just over winter.
How does the equiwatt app work?
The app is free and easy to use and links to smart technologies used in homes across the UK – like smart meters, smart plugs or smart chargers.
When an energy-saving event is due to begin, the app will send a notification to take part, after which Britons who join should turn off or avoid using energy-guzzling appliances.
This can include anything from washing machines and TVs to electric vehicle (EV) charging points.
equiwatt’s energy-saving ‘equivents’ last for up to one hour and users are rewarded for the energy and CO2 savings they make with points that can be redeemed for vouchers on Amazon, John Lewis and other big brands.
Commenting on the equiwatt app, user Giles Matthews-Pipe said: “We recommend equiwatt to all our friends and family especially those who already have smart plugs.
“It’s a straightforward set-up on the app with super helpful customer service if needed and you get rewarded for doing nothing apart from acknowledging the appliances will be off for an hour.”
“While energy prices are rocketing it’s something we can do to help cut our bills as well as make a small contribution to help tackle the climate emergency. But small individual actions add up if we all do them.”
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