Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

British Gas to pay customers to use less electricity

Customers with smart meters will be able to sign up to the energy saving scheme (Yui Mok/PA)
Customers with smart meters will be able to sign up to the energy saving scheme (Yui Mok/PA)

Britain’s largest energy supplier will become the latest to pay its customers to reduce the amount of electricity that they use during peak hours in order to help take pressure off the grid.

British Gas said that it hoped 100,000 customers would sign up as it launches the demand flexibility service for the households that it supplies.

The supplier becomes the latest – and the largest – to sign up to the scheme – which is run by National Grid.

However, its ambitions for participation are lower than Octopus Energy, which has so far signed up more than 400,000 customers to its version of the scheme.

Customers with smart meters will be sent emails asking them if they want to take part, British Gas said.

“The electricity grid is facing increased pressure and smart technology plays a key role in managing peak demand – reducing consumption has the added benefit of helping consumers save on their energy bills,” said chief executive Chris O’Shea.

“We are exploring how to make this scheme work best for our customers so that it fits in with their habits around the home.

“This approach to help manage residential electricity demand is likely to become a major feature of the market in years to come.

“We’ll be taking learnings from this stage with the aim of using our scale to roll out to our wider customer base.”

Under the scheme, households will be paid around £4 for every unit of electricity that they reduce their consumption by during specific times.

Households will be sent a text by 6pm the day before to let them know when to switch off their ovens and TVs and go for an hour-long walk.

They can then come back home and use their home again as normal. There is no obligation to take part.

For a household it means moving the time that you turn on certain appliances, rather than not switching them on at all.

It could mean that by switching your oven on an hour later than normal you are paid £4.

For the energy grid it is also good news. It can tap into these households on days when there will be enough electricity for everyone to do what they need, but perhaps not all at the same time.

If the grid is able to ask people to reduce their consumption during certain hours, it will therefore not need to pay through its teeth to get electricity from other sources – such as importing it from France.

British Gas’s decision comes just days after the scheme was almost run live for the first time since launching earlier this month.

There have been three tests of the system to date, with households helping to take the stress off the grid during those hours.