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The drive for change in energy consumption patterns

With the final deadline for implementation of P272 approaching, the broader initiative to create a smarter and more sustainable energy system is also continuing apace. It’s not just businesses impacted by P272 who are starting to think differently about when they use energy; a nationwide cultural shift means that all energy consumers are gradually waking up to the importance of energy consumption patterns.

The UK’s domestic energy market has begun to show signs of a major shift towards a more dynamic relationship between consumer and supplier, with the introduction of time of use initiatives such as Free Time from British Gas – which gives smart meter customers free energy every weekend between 9am and 5pm -and the very first domestic time of use tariff from supplier Green Energy UK.

Green Energy UK are targeting their new TIDE tariff at domestic consumers who can push more of their energy use to night-time hours. Those who sign up will need to have a smart meter installed by Green Energy UK if they do not have one already, enabling them to have their energy bills calculated on the time of day at which they use energy, so that they can opt to switch on dishwashers or washing machines, charge their electricals, download from the internet, or charge electric vehicles between the hours of 11pm and 6am, when energy is significantly cheaper on the tariff.

Awareness of peak times is essential

Much like business energy users exposed to peak energy prices for the first time under P272, domestic users on time of use tariffs will see their bills affected by peak times: prices will be highest on the TIDE tariff between 4pm and 7pm, when the UK’s business and domestic energy use combines to create times of peak demand on the grid, particularly during the winter months.

As the smart meter roll out continues between now and the end of 2020, it’s likely that we will see other similar tariffs appear in the marketplace. Whilst primarily designed for the domestic marketplace, the new tariffs could also help microbusinesses, not yet caught by half hourly metering legislation, take better control of their energy accounts.

The benefits of a smarter approach

Smart meters and time of use tariffs may create some initial concerns for both domestic and business consumers, particularly for those who can’t easily alter their consumption patterns. Understanding the bigger picture and ensuring you are prepared for the changes across the marketplace can make them seem a little less daunting. The opportunities provided by simply understanding your consumption profiles in greater detail make P272 a positive move, whilst ensuring you are aware of the additional non-commodity costs that are associated with the changes can help bring benefit to your business in the longer term.

Better balance, lower costs

By the end of 2020 it is expected that around 53 million smart meters will be installed in homes and businesses across the UK. However, installation of these advanced meters is only half of the story: through the implementation of half hourly metering and the creation of time of use tariffs, users will be encouraged to rethink their relationship with energy. Consumers will have greater insight into and control of their energy usage, and by shifting consumption patterns will also contribute to a more balanced energy system – reducing the impact of peak hours on energy prices, enabling reliance on more intermittent renewable energy sources, and keeping energy costs down for everyone.

If you would like to find out more about P272 or how half hourly billing will affect your business, please get in touch.