Demand Flexibility Service delivers electricity to power 10 million households.
9 May 2023 - 3 minute read
The Demand Flexibility Service, put in place by the ESO across the 2022/2023 winter, saved over 3,300MWh of electricity as consumers and businesses did their part to reduce demand at key times. In total, this was enough to power nearly 10 million homes across Great Britain.
1.6million households and businesses participated in the Demand Flexibility Service, delivering demand reduction across 22 events held across this winter.
Southern England, East of England and East Midlands led the way by each saving over 370MWh across the 22 events held over winter 2022/2023.
Welsh consumers and businesses delivered an estimated electricity reduction of over 348MWh across the winter, enough to power over 1 million households, roughly 80% of Wales’ 1.3million homes.
The 22 sessions covered both live events to balance Great Britain’s electricity network and monthly test events to deliver savings for consumers. This has demonstrated interest and enthusiasm for consumer flexibility on a scale not previously seen in the UK.
Across this winter consumers and small and medium sized businesses worked with the ESO, 31 suppliers and aggregators, to deliver new levels of demand flexibility, unseen on Great Britain’s electricity network until now.
The national smart meter network operated by the Data Communications Company (DCC) also played an important role in facilitating greater consumer participation, helping to connect consumers to a new range of smart applications used by providers for this service. In total consumers and businesses delivered 3,300MWh of electricity reduction at key times, helping the ESO to balance the network as usual across the winter.
Introduced as an enhanced action to support operation of the network, the Demand Flexibility Service was used twice for live events in January 2023 to support the management of the network. While the ESO’s day-to-day operational tools allowed it to operate the network as normal without the active use of DFS to manage margins, this service demonstrated the level of interest and engagement in consumer flexibility. Consumers and businesses notably delivered their highest output for these live events, 20% higher than for regular monthly or onboarding test events.
Following verification of market data, the ESO can confirm that consumers and businesses in Southern England, East of England and East Midlands led the way in participating in the Demand Flexibility Service. Based on its estimates of regional participation the ESO can report that each region delivered an estimated electricity reduction of over 370MWh, across the length of the service. To put this in context this amount of electricity would power over 1.1million homes in each of the three regions.
Overall, the data shows that the Demand Flexibility Service delivered 3,300MWh in electricity reductions at peak times across the 22 events (this is roughly the amount of electricity that 9.9million households would use at peak times across a single hour).
These test events have successfully demonstrated that the Demand Flexibility Service can deliver flexibility at scale, enabling consumers and businesses across the country to benefit from shifting their electricity use away from a specific time period.
The ESO is currently undertaking a holistic review of the DFS alongside industry participants and consumers to assess how the service could be improved in future. The outcomes of this review will be published later this summer and will inform decision making around the future evolution of the Demand Flexibility Service.
Claire Dykta, Head of Markets, ESO
“Across this winter the Demand Flexibility Service successfully demonstrated the interest of UK consumers and businesses in playing a more active role in balancing our electricity needs. Their work, alongside the providers involved in the Demand Flexibility Service helped to maintain normal service for all GB electricity users.”
“We are now working with industry and consumers to establish how this world leading service can grow from strength to strength and support the continued evolution of consumer flexibility in the UK.”