What is Crowdflex?

Crowdflex is a Ofgem Strategic Infrastructure Fund (SIF) project that looks to understand how domestic flexibility can be used to help manage the electricity grid. Domestic flexibility refers to households shifting the times they use energy to help balance supply and demand. This helps consumers to reduce their energy costs and will help GB meet the net zero energy system by 2035 target.

In the first phase of the project, Crowdflex looked at historical data to understand how consumers on time-of-use tariffs responded to price signals by changing their behaviour. These tariffs offer consumers cheaper electricity prices when electricity demand is low, or generation is high. The study found that time-of-use tariffs can help customers reduce their evening peak demand by up to 23%.

In the beta phase of the project, consumers will take part in flexibility trials exploring two kinds of flexibility services:

  • Utilisation service: consumers will be paid to turn up or turn down their energy use at certain times
  • Availability service: consumers will be paid a regular fixed payment to make their assets available to the grid e.g. to plug in their electric vehicles 

These trials will help to inform thinking in the Control Room on how to manage the grid at different times of day and at different times of the year. The data gathered will provide a better understanding of system challenges like peak demand, network constraints and the potential balancing solutions which distributed domestic assets could provide. 

Recruitment for these trials commenced in spring 2024, with Octopus Energy, OVO Energy and Ohme EV offering the service to their customers.

Crowdflex is also being delivered by a consortium from across the energy sector: Centre for Net ZeroElement EnergyAmazon Web Services (AWS)National Grid Electricity DistributionScottish and Southern Electricity Networks, The Smith Institute and Centre for Sustainable Energy.

Latest news

CrowdFlex wins OFGEM funding for domestic flexibility

National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) have been awarded a second grant from Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) as part of a wider project that looks to understand how domestic flexibility can be used to help manage the grid. 

CrowdFlex NIA

The original CrowdFlex study. A joint project by National Grid ESO, SSEN, Octopus Energy and Ohme. The project conducted analysis of customer energy use patterns to demonstrate how they might change their behaviour.

Domestic Reserve Scarcity Trail

– A pioneering real-time trial to find out if moving home energy demand out of peak times can support balancing the power grid and reduce costs.

Watch our introduction to CrowdFlex beta

The ESO is excited to be undertaking this project with our partners: Octopus Energy, OVO Energy, Ohme Technology, Element Energy, Centre for Net Zero, AWS, National Grid Electricity Distribution (NGED) and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution. The ESO will also be supported by The Smith Institute and Centre for Sustainable Energy.

The Crowdflex project is funded by energy network users and consumers through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), a programme from the UK’s independent energy regulator Ofgem managed in partnership with UKRI. It aims to find and fund ambitious, innovative projects with the potential to accelerate the transition to net zero.


ENA Project Page

Here you can find useful summary information on the Energy Networks Association (ENA) website.


The learnings from Crowdflex could deliver multiple benefits, such as:

  • Lowering customer bills
  • Reducing the costs of grid balancing and network reinforcement
  • Enabling greater market participation on the demand side
  • Increasing the use of renewable generation and lowering carbon emissions

Useful information and related projects

Virtual Energy System

CrowdFlex will provide data to inform the Virtual Energy System (VirtualES), an ambitious, industry-wide mission to digitise our energy system.

System Flexibility

Flexibility is crucial to operating the whole energy system where the supply and demand of energy needs to be balanced over different timescales. Read more about whole energy system flexibility in our Future Energy Scenarios.

Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)

The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is a funding mechanism for the Electricity System Operator, Electricity Transmission, Gas Transmission and Gas Distribution sectors.