How much money could you earn through the Demand Flexibility Service?
How much could you earn through the Demand Flexibility Service?
- Last year, people typically saved between £1 and £5 per event (the hour-long period when they were asked to reduce their electricity use). We calculate different households’ potential savings below.
- The rewards you earn depend on how much electricity you normally use at peak times (late afternoon to early evening), and how much you can reduce this.
- You’ll earn bigger rewards if you normally use a lot of electricity at peak times – for example charging an electric car, turning on electric heating or using an electric shower.
- You won’t earn much if you don’t have much energy use to shift – for example, if you use mains gas for space and water heating and live alone.
How are rewards calculated with the Demand Flexibility Service?
1. Your provider calculates how much electricity you normally use.
Your supplier works out what your usual energy usage is during peak hours and records this as your baseline. It’s based on each half hour of the day for either the 10 most recent weekdays (for weekday events) or the four most recent weekend days (for weekend events).
You can get an idea of your baseline using your smart meter. All smart meters should come with an in-home display or ‘energy monitor’. You can view your energy usage or spending for the whole day, week, month, or year. There are also various energy apps that let you to see this information easily from your phone.
Make sure you’re only looking at your electricity usage, as gas use isn’t included in the DFS.
For more information, see our advice page on smart meters.
2. How much you earn through the Demand Flexibility Service depends on how much you reduce your electricity use at peak times.
A DFS event is the period of time when you’re asked to reduce your electricity use. It’s normally for one hour between 4pm and 8pm.
Your baseline – how much electricity you use during peak times – is key. Your provider compares how much electricity you used during the event with your baseline usage. This is measured in kilowatt per hour (kWh).
If your household normally uses 10kWh during peak time, and you use 3kWh during the DFS event, then you will have reduced your consumption by 7kWh.
The electricity companies are paid a set amount by the National Grid ESO for every kWh of electricity their customers shift. Some pass all this on to DFS participants and others only pass on some of it. And others enter their customers into a prize draw instead.
Different appliances use different amounts of energy.
The more electricity an appliance uses the higher the savings you can make from shifting when you use it. Check out our What uses watt? page to find out the best and worst appliances for earning DFS rewards.
How much could you earn through the Demand Flexibility Service?
We calculated the average peak-time electricity consumption for different types of households and estimated the potential rewards they could earn through the DFS.
The figures below are based on the DFS provider passing on the full amount of reward to their customers. Not all providers are doing this, so the actual rewards you receive may be lower.
How much reward could you earn for switching your electricity use to off-peak?
|Shifting 25% of your energy use.
|Shifting 50% of your energy use.
|Shifting 75% of your energy use.
|Shifting almost all of your energy use (except essentials like fridges and freezers).
|Home with electric heating or an electric car used/charged at peak times.
Average peak time hourly consumption:1.1kWh
|Home with gas heating, 2 adults and 2+ children.
Average peak time hourly consumption: 0.8kWh
|Home with gas heating, single occupant.
Average peak time hourly consumption: 0.3kWh
Staying safe while saving energy through the DFS
Leave essential electrical items on — Remember, rewards from the DFS are relatively small. Never turn off essential medical or mobility equipment. Similarly, fridges and freezers use very little energy, so turning them off won’t influence your earnings much – it’s not worth letting your food spoil.
Stay warm – DFS rewards are relatively small and aren’t worth the health risks associated with cold homes. Remember – only electricity use is considered, so if you don’t have electric heating, turning down the thermostat won’t generate rewards. If you’re considering turning off electric heating, check out our tips for keeping warm at home.
Keep the light on. Lights use a very small amount of electricity so it’s not worth risking trips and falls (or the misery of sitting in the dark).
Don’t run washing machines, tumble dryers or dishwashers overnight. If there’s an issue like a leak or fire, you’re less likely to notice.
If it’s difficult for you to access plug sockets to turn things off at the wall, consider using a smart plug. Check out our smart plug page for more information.
Look out for scams. Taking part in the DFS means you’ll be sharing data with your provider, so make sure they’re on this list of approved DFS providers.
Baseline energy use – what kind of household are you?
Peak time energy use is very different for different people.
The video below looks at the electricity use of three different example homes over 24 hours. They’re based on real households that took part in the DFS last year. Names have been changed for privacy reasons.
- The Smith family – high energy users. An example of a larger household with electric heating (non-economy 7) or an electric car that they charge at peak times.
- The Patel family – variable electricity users. Another example of a large household, but they use gas heating and don’t have an electric car.
- Thomas – low electricity user. An example of a single-occupant household that uses gas heating and doesn’t have an electric car.
The first two have much higher usage overall and have a bigger peak during the early evening hours.
Different households’ rewards from last year’s DFS
These stories give more detail about the rewards received by the example households above.
- Two adults and three children in the home.
- Electric heating (not on an Economy 7 tariff) on a prepayment meter.
- Made between £2 and £5 per event.
The Smiths got their rewards as money directly on the meter which worked well for them. With a monthly electricity bill of around £500 this made a small but helpful difference.
They switched off most things in the house during the DFS events. The biggest challenge was timing as peak time is when the children usually have their tea. But they managed to cook either earlier or later.
“The kids weren’t too happy about it as they would usually be gaming. They protested but luckily it was only for an hour.
- Two adults and two children in the home.
- Gas heating.
- £2.09 was the most they earned in one event.
The Patel family took part in four events and saved a little each time.
But they saw some other benefits to taking part. Their daughter was learning about “saving the planet” in school so it was good to do something at home to teach her about energy. They also saw an unexpected benefit as they found a faulty appliance:
“We discovered a broken appliance when we were turning everything off and on again. It was costing us lots, so we’ve replaced it.
Some evenings the whole family are at home and use quite a lot of electricity: with the washing machine running, the TV and a laptop on, and dinner cooking in the electric oven. Some days they are all out of the house after school and work. On these days their peak time use is almost nothing.
- One person household.
- Gas heating.
- Earned an average of 40p per event.
Thomas lives in a rented home with mains gas. He lives alone and has a health condition that impacts his day-to-day activities.
For the DFS events he turned off all power and would read a book. With a small household size and mains gas, Thomas usually has low electricity usage during the early evening peak times. This is reflected in the rewards he earned – an average of 40p per event.
“It wasn’t worth it at all for the money. I turned off everything in my house. As the events were only an hour, it was manageable. It didn’t cause an issue with my health condition but if the events were longer it might have.
Thinking about taking part in the DFS?
Find out more about the scheme and whether taking part is for you.
The data on this page is based on research conducted by the Centre for Sustainable Energy around the experiences of real people who participated in last year’s DFS.