Find out more about using your energy flexibly - the Demand Flexibility Service
The Demand Flexibility Service is a voluntary scheme aimed at encouraging energy customers with smart meters to reduce their electricity usage at specific times when supplies could be stretched.
What's on this page?
- What is the demand flexibility service?
- Which energy suppliers are participating this year?
- Why was the DFS introduced?
- How to save electricity during a DFS event
- Do you need a smart meter to take part?
- If you've signed up, do you need to take part?
- How can I take part in the DFS?
- Demand flexibility service for small businesses
The Demand Flexibility Service - helping to create a smart, flexible, energy network.
The Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) was developed by the National Grid, which manages the electricity system in England, Scotland, and Wales. It was offered to consumers who had a smart meter over the winter of 2022/2023 by participating electricity companies and other organisations who can provide access to the service by linking directly to your smart meter data which is accessed via an app or online. Approximately 1.6 million households and businesses supported the service by shifting demand, saving over 3,300MWh of electricity - enough to power approximately 10 million homes across Great Britain.
Following this initial roll-out of the service, the National Grid has confirmed that the Demand Flexibility Service will be available again for winter 2023/2024.
The DFS allows you to opt in and help the nation’s electricity system better handle peak electricity demand. These peak usage hours are typically from 4-7 pm but may vary. Once you’ve opted in, your DFS provider would alert you in advance when they would like you to reduce your use of electricity during a DFS event.
Encouraging customers to move some of their electricity use to earlier or later in the day can help the National Grid manage peak demand in a smarter way. In return, consumers were rewarded with payment, credit or some other form of reward.
Why was the DFS introduced?
The DFS was designed to help people consume electricity in a more flexible way by rewarding them for reducing their electricity use during peak times. Having more flexibility in our electricity system is seen as important for two main reasons:
Helping when supplies are running low.
Electricity supplies can run low due to a larger demand from homes and businesses due to cold weather and longer, darker nights, combined with periods when less renewable energy can be produced.
Reducing the use of backup electricity production.
During peak hours it is sometimes necessary to use additional, fossil fuel power generators. This can be more expensive and release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
How to save electricity during a DFS event
Consumers could choose to use power-hungry appliances like tumble driers, ovens, dishwashers, and immersion heaters before or after the DFS event. Reducing electricity usage during the event, for example by using a microwave instead of an electric oven, would also help.
Modern televisions, laptop computers, and energy-efficient lightbulbs typically use much less electricity, so changing the time of day when used would have less impact.
You can find advice on saving energy in our Energy Saving Tips section.
Consumers are advised to follow safety guidance on using electrical devices in the home. For example, Electrical Safety First recommends appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers aren’t run unattended overnight.
Do you need a smart meter to take part in the Demand Flexibility Service?
Yes. In order to accurately measure energy usage in the home during a DFS event, and to create a baseline measure of the last 60 days of electricity usage, a smart meter capable of sending half-hourly readings is required. Additionally you will need to give marketing consent so you can be contacted about DFS events.
Consumers without a smart meter can start the application process here.
If you’ve signed up for the Demand Flexibility Service, do you have to take part?
No, taking part in a DFS event is entirely optional. Consumers can opt-in, but if they don’t take any action, nothing will change.
How can I take part in the Demand Flexibility Service?
The list below shows providers who are offering access to the Demand Flexibility Service this year. Already got a smart meter? Contact your provider to find out more.
|Axle energy Ltd|
|Chameleon Technology (as Ivie)|
|Easee UK Ltd (via Axle Energy Ltd)|
|E.ON Next Energy Ltd|
|Foxglove Energy Supply Ltd T/A Outfox the Market (via SMS – Solo Energy Ltd)|
|GivEnergy (via Axle Energy Ltd)|
|100 Green (via SMS – Solo Energy Ltd)|
|Good Energy (via SMS – Solo Energy Ltd)|
|Hildebrand Technology Ltd|
|Hugo Energy App (via SMS - Solo Energy Ltd)|
|Loop (via SMS - Solo Energy Ltd)|
|Ohme (via Axle Energy Ltd)|
|Passiv UK (via SMS – Solo Energy Ltd)|
|Perse Technology Ltd|
|Power Rewards App (via Orange Power Ltd)|
|Scottish Power (via Equiwatt)|
|SMS (Solo Energy Ltd)|
|Shell Energy Retail (via SMS - Solo Energy Ltd)|
|Uswitch Ltd (via Hildebrand)|
|Utilita Energy Ltd|
Demand Flexibility Service for small businesses
The Demand Flexibility Service is also being offered to small businesses. It works in the same way as the version offered to consumers. You will need to sign up with your energy supplier or a provider/aggregator who is offering the service. When you sign up you will need to authorise your provider to access your smart meter (or half hourly meter for larger businesses) so they can read your energy usage data every half hour. If you don’t already have a smart meter for your small business, find out how to get one along with more information on saving energy and other support in our Small Business site.
Information for people needing help with energy bills.
As energy costs remain high, more people are struggling to pay their energy bills, and an increasing number of us are worried about energy bills. We’ve put together some advice on what to do if you’re worried about rising energy bills.
To find out more about joining the Demand Flexibility Service, or other schemes available, contact your energy supplier.