THERE is growing fury over a scheme that will see households get £10 a day to cut their energy use in order to avoid blackouts this winter.
However, a massive catch in the small print of the National Grid plans means not everyone will be eligible to receive the cash.
1Households will get just £10 a day to cut their energy useCredit: Getty
The National Grid has warned that parts of the UK could be without power for up to three hours this winter.
In order to prevent the power cuts, households are being urged not to use certain appliances, such as washing machines, at peak times as a means of saving energy.
That could mean putting on the dishwasher or washing machine overnight or charging an electric vehicle at off-peak times.
The Prime Minister has been slammed for launching a campaign that encourages people to cut their energy usage in response to blackout fears.
Brits will get just £10 a day in return – but only if they have a smart meter.
You will still have to pay for the off-peak electricity you use and will then get the cash back.
Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith told the MailOnline that it seems “cynical that only people with smart meters can benefit”.
Around 27.8 million households had a smart meter at the end of 2021, according to government figures.
Prime Minister Liz Truss said that the UK has “good energy supplies” before adding that “we can get through the winter”.
There are also concerns that smart meters are not reliable enough, with some households hit by bills for thousands of pounds due to faults.
Mum-of-one Chloee Miles Prior was shocked when she discovered her smart meter said she’d used £40,000 worth of power in just one day.
A British Gas customer had also complained that a faulty smart meter showed she had used £2,400 per day in electric.
Joe Malinowski, founder of price comparison service The Energy Shop told the MailOnline there are “serious questions” to be asked about whether smart meters are set up to measure energy usage accurately.
People are being encouraged to sign up with their electricity supplier for the scheme which will give them money back on their bills.
The “demand flexibility service” will run from November to March, and is being introduced to help prevent blackouts.
Without the scheme, the cold days ahead could create a demand that overtakes supply.
It could then mean certain areas of the UK would have to be prepared for planned blackouts.
According to the National Grid, in this scenario, there would be a potential need to interrupt the supply to some customers for limited periods.
Colder temperatures during the winter naturally lead to more energy being consumed as people turn the heating on and have to use electricity for longer periods of the day.
And since Russia’s flow of gas to Europe has stopped, there is less supply which can be imported to Britain.
The Grid said that the exact number of people left without electricity would depend on how many bigger energy intensive factories are powered down to conserve energy for households.
However, it is thought that chunks of cities will be powered down at a time.
Yesterday, Ovo Energy announced that its customers could get up to £100 back by shifting their energy usage to off-peak times.
The company is looking for participants to cut their average consumption between 4-7pm to less than 12.5%.
Ovo said that for the average household, that could be the equivalent of moving three loads of washing per week from peak time to a greener time of day.
The energy supplier will pay the average customer £20 for each month this is achieved.
Why could there be blackouts this winter?
There has been unprecedented turmoil in energy markets in Europe, due to shortfalls in gas caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Around 40% of the UK’s electricity supply is generated from gas.
The National Grid says we are expecting a “challenging” winter and it is planning for what could happen if we’re unable to import electricity from Europe.
Previously the National Grid has always said that if there were planned blackouts, these would only affect big business and not households.
To tackle a loss of imports from France, Belgium and the Netherlands, there are two gigawatts of coal-fired power plants on stand-by to fire up if needed to meet demand.
Don’t energy firms already offer cheaper tariffs for off-peak supplies?
Yes, that’s right. Some energy firms offer off-peak usage tariffs which are cheaper at night. These are usually called Economy 7 tariffs.
It means that households have to run appliances or charge electric cars during off-peak times.
Energy firms are expected to offer their own schemes.
For example, Ovo has announced its plans and says customers who opt in could save £100 on bills.
Octopus energy has already been trialling a scheme which pays customers to cutting usage.