British families set to be paid to turn off washing machines at peak hours

Consumers are set to be rewarded for easing the strain on the power grid

Published

Households with smart meters could be paid for turning off high-energy appliances such as washing machines during peak times to reduce the risk of blackouts this winter.

The National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) is understood to be preparing to announce plans to reward consumers for easing the strain on the power grid.

Rebates for minimising the use of goods such as tumble dryers, dishwashers and games consoles during the peak hours of 5pm-8pm could be as high as £6 per kWh saved.

The Sunday Times, which first reported the plans, said the grid will apply to the Ofgem regulator for approval, with hopes the scheme will open by late October.

File photo of a washing machine
File photo of a washing machine

A National Grid ESO spokesman said: “We are developing a new service that will be available for consumers to benefit from across this winter and will be announcing further information soon.”

The plans follow a trial with Octopus Energy customers earlier this year, when as little as 20p was paid for every kWh, or kilowatt hour, saved. A range of prices have since been considered, including up to £6.

Currently at £1,971 for the average household, the energy price cap is forecast to rise to £3,500 in October, before going as high as £4,200 in January.

Experts at the Auxilione consultancy have warned that energy prices could spike at as much as £6,000 per year for the average household from next April.

Ofgem will announce the change to the cap for October and December on Friday.

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi last week suggested that rolling blackouts are unlikely as preparations were under way for the winter, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine strains supplies.