British Gas launches 'Peak Save' energy reduction plan

FILE PHOTO: A British Gas sign is seen outside its offices in Staines in southern England

LONDON (Reuters) - British Gas is launching an energy reduction plan for this winter that will pay customers for every unit of electricity they save compared to their normal usage, the company said on Thursday.

The plan, called "Peak Save", will run between December 2022 and March 2023, and could save customers 100 pounds ($119.92) over the course of the winter, British Gas said in a statement.

Energy disruption and wider market turmoil linked to gas and oil exporter Russia's invasion of Ukraine has this year led to a surge in prices, straining business and households across Europe.

It has also raised concerns about the adequacy of supplies and across Europe led to targets to reduce energy use.

British gas said smart meter customers will be invited to take part in the trial, which has a goal of over 100,000 participants in the trial phase.

The scheme is enabled by demand flexibility service (DFS), which Britain’s National Grid began this month to give energy suppliers the option to financially reward customers who reduce their electricity use during times of peak demand.

Under DFS, homes that have signed up with their suppliers would be paid, usually via money off their bills, for turning off appliances such as ovens and dishwashers during a specific period when electricity demand is high.

"We are committed to helping improve energy security in the UK and shifting demand is one part of that strategy," Chris O'Shea, chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica, said.

British Gas will set customers a 30% reduction target per household and provide advice on how customers can achieve that.

British Gas supplies energy and services to around 10 million households across Britain and Ireland.

British energy supplier Octopus also launched a scheme in October to pay customers not to use electricity during times of high power demand to help prevent blackouts this winter.

($1 = 0.8339 pounds)

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; editing by Barbara Lewis)