The first planned blackouts in decades might hit parts of the United Kingdom this winter if power plants are not able to get enough gas to keep running, the company overseeing Britain’s electricity grid has warned.
Households are encouraged to help avoid blackouts by using more energy during off-peak times, and they’re set to get cash back on their bills, if they put on their washing machines or dishwashers overnight.
In what has been called an “unlikely” scenario, the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO), has said that households, as well as businesses, could face planned three-hour outages, in order to ensure that the grid doesn’t collapse.
Liz Truss has said that the UK can “get through the winter” amid the warnings.
The Prime Minister said the UK has “good energy supplies” - although stopped short of explicitly offering a guarantee of no blackouts, reports ITV.
Planned blackouts last hit the UK during the 1970s, in a response to the miners’ strikes, and the oil crisis.
But, what are the off-peak electricity times? Here’s everything you need to know.
What are the off-peak electricity times?
Some energy providers charge less money for using electricity at certain times of the day or night.
These off-peak hours tend to be in quieter periods, when power demand is at its lowest, for example, from 10 pm to 8 am.
This type of charging approach is called a time-of-use tariff, The amount you pay is dependent on the time of day you use electricity.
However, most energy suppliers charge a flat rate for electricity, so, no matter what time you turn on your appliances, it costs the same amount.
How can I save money on off-peak electricity bills?
Soaring energy costs and the risk of blackouts have left millions of households looking for ways to save money on their utility bills.
But, is using more energy and electricity at night the best way of going about it?
It depends on your tariff. Certain tariffs, like Economy 7, or more modern smart off-peak plans, are designed to save money overnight when electricity costs less because there are fewer people using it.
Homes that are on these tariffs need either a dual-rate meter or a smart meter, which can record how much electricity you’re using at different times of the day.
This then allows your supplier to charge you a cheaper rate during those off-peak times.
In order to take advantage of this type of tariff, you can use appliances such as a washing machine or dishwasher on a cheaper rate.
You can also save money by charging devices, such as smartphones and laptops, overnight.
Those who own electric vehicles can charge them overnight.
How else can I cut the cost of my electricity?
Make sure that you’re aware of your off-peak and peak times, and aim to use your power during these periods.
Make sure that your supplier tells you when your meter switches from one tariff to another, as getting it wrong could add up over the course of a year.
Also, be aware that the meter may not change when the clocks change, which is March - October.
If you have storage radiators, make sure you know when and how they work, so that you’re able to heat during the night, and turn them off during the day.
If off-peak tariffs aren’t for you, there are other ways to cut your energy bills.
Some of these are:
Don’t use tumble dryers. Dry your clothes on the line instead
â¯Don’t charge your phone unnecessarily. Unplug your phone when the charge is at 100%.
Don’t leave gadgets on standby. Unplugging them completely will save you money.
â¯Draught-proof your doors and fit curtains or blinds.
â¯Use solar-powered lights outside.