British Gas is taking part in the National Grid ESO’s Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) this winter. Its own take on the scheme – PeakSave – includes the chance to get half-priced energy on Sundays. Here’s how to get involved.
If you’re a British Gas customer, you could get 50% off your energy bills on Sundays, as well as up to £100 in credit between now and spring 2024 through PeakSave. The supplier has rolled the scheme out again this year, after it was trialled last winter.
It comes as energy bills will soar from 1 January 2024 when the new rate of the Ofgem energy price cap kicks in. Prices may eventually fall back over the course of next year, but they are still set to be much higher than they were before the energy crisis began in 2021.
We have the latest advice on whether you should fix your energy, as well as what the best deals currently look like, in our energy comparison guide. It’s also worth considering ways to cut your energy usage. Slashing the amount you use is the best way to make significant savings at present.
Taking part in the DFS is another way to slash a bit off your bills. British Gas is involved alongside most other major suppliers, including Octopus Energy, EDF and Ovo Energy. So, how does British Gas PeakSave work – and who can sign up? Here’s all the info you need to know.
How does British Gas PeakSave work?
There are two main elements to PeakSave. The first, and most lucrative, is the Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) element. It allows you to earn credit on your electricity bill by cutting back on your usage at certain times.
DFS will have 12 test events between now and 31 March, with several other ‘live’ events likely to kick in this winter. These are taking place so that the grid can make sure it has enough energy at times when demand is likely to be particularly high – namely, when cold snaps occur. They will last for anything between 30-minutes and four hours.
The National Grid pays suppliers for each kilowatt hour (kWh) their customers save during DFS events. British Gas will then pay you for any energy savings you make compared to your average usage.
If you normally use a lot of energy at peak times (usually weekday evenings between 4pm and 7pm), you’re likely to make bigger savings than if you don’t use all that much. There’s no penalty if you can’t reduce your energy use during DFS events – all it means is you won’t get any credit.
The amount you receive will also depend on what kind of DFS event it is. Test events will pay out less than live ones given the latter are likely to involve a greater need for energy savings.
How do PeakSave Sundays work?
The other PeakSave element gives households a 50% discount on any electricity they use between 11am and 4pm on a Sunday. There’s no obligation to do anything if you sign up. But you can save money on your energy bills by getting involved. Any savings you make will then appear as credit on your energy bill. You will be charged your normal rate outside of the allotted off-peak hours.
PeakSave Sundays were initially due to expire at the end of September. But they are now running until at least New Year’s Eve. Given the discount only kicks in for five hours a week, you won’t be able to cancel out your energy bills by taking part. But you can still make some decent savings.
According to British Gas, between the launch of its trial on 1 December 2022 and the end of it on 31 March 2023, British households moved a combined 147 MWh of energy away from peak times – enough energy to power 750,000 homes for an hour. In financial terms, those who took part earned back £1.8 million in total – an average of £28.56 per customer.
Over the 14 extra Sundays it extended PeakSave to cover – a period that includes Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve – British Gas estimates you can save:
- £8.90 if you use an electric oven for 2 hours
- £5.37 for 1 hour of tumble drying
- £4.52 if you have the washing machine on for an hour
- £4.24 for using an electric hob over the course of 1 hour
- £1.27 if you watch TV
- 99p if you make 10 cups of tea/coffee
So, if you want to save a decent amount of money, it’s a good idea to move any batch cooking, household chores or indoor activities to Sundays.
Who’s eligible for British Gas PeakSave?
PeakSave is open to existing British Gas customers. To sign up, you have to fill out this online form on the British Gas website. It will then take seven to 10 days before you’re entered into the scheme. And when you’re in, you’ll have to opt into each PeakSave event (you don’t have to opt in for PeakSave Sundays).
The scheme is only available to those who have a standard credit smart meter fitted in their home. People with prepayment meters are not currently able to take part. You do not have to be on a particular tariff to participate.
How to save through British Gas PeakSave
Any energy savings you can make through PeakSave will be rewarded, with British Gas offering to pay out £1 for those who can only make the tiniest of cutbacks. Below are some top tips for how to use less energy during DFS events, and maximise your savings:
- Go out: if you’re not in your home during a DFS event, you won’t use as much electricity. Try going to the gym, heading to the cinema, or meeting up with friends to pass the time.
- Don’t use your washing machine: got some laundry to do? Save it until after the DFS ends. The same goes for your dishwasher and tumble dryer, as these are all big energy users.
- Cook your dinner in advance: if you can cook your evening meal before the scheme takes place, you’ll be more likely to earn credit through PeakSave. Need to heat up what you’ve cooked? Use your hob or microwave rather than your oven, as they both use much less energy.
- Make a flask of tea: with cold weather likely to make going out unappealing, it may be worth preparing a flask in advance. That way you can still enjoy a warming cuppa while not having to boil your kettle.
- Switch appliances off-off: turn everything (other than important appliances, like fridge-freezers) off at the plug. Doing so will save you the cost of leaving them on standby.