Peak Energy Alerts occur when the electricity system is busy

Greenwich Energy Heroes Take part in Peak Energy Alert events by reducing their electricity consumption. This can either happen as a single 1 hour events or events that last for three consecutive hours.

Find out more

We are changing the peak energy alerts- what will this look like?

We will start using a new principle in our Greenwich Energy Hero Peak Energy Alerts. Now you will be able to participate in 3 hour long events with different amounts of points in each hour. You can participate in the same way by responding to each Peak Energy Alert when it comes through to your app.

An example peak energy alert could be:

6pm (18.00-18.59) Low number of points available

7pm (19.00-19.59) Medium number of points available

8pm (20.00-20.59) High number of points available

This new type of Peak Energy Alert is similar to a ‘time of use tariff’ that some energy companies offer, where the price of electricity changes for busy hours in red, orange and green bands. Instead of charging you more for using electricity at these times, we want to give you more points for using less electricity during these hours. his type of Peak Energy Alert will always be 3 consecutive hours but the points bands could vary, or be the same value of points for each of the three hours.

As a reward for your efforts we will provide points for each hour you are able to respond, but if you can’t respond that’s also useful information, so please respond “No” and we will still give you 10 points for letting us know. This is an example of how the process works:

Why is domestic energy consumption important?

We use electricity from when we wake up until we go to back to bed, and our refrigerators continue using electricity even while we sleep. Because many of us have a similar pattern to our daily lives, our combined electricity consumption forms a typical “domestic profile” with two distinct energy “peaks”. This twin peaks domestic profile is recognised all over the world and you can see what it looks like in the picture below

As you can see, the peak in electricity use is a curve and lasts a couple of hours. By changing the Peak Energy Alerts to last 3 hours with different points available, we will be trying to move consumption away from the highest part of the peak.

We need to do this because while this profile is predictable it is quite easy for energy generators to align their electricity production with this profile. However, as we move away from away from fossil fuels towards more renewable energy we find that the energy generation is less controllable- for example producing less energy when it’s cloudy or when there’s less wind. This means that even if we can predict the peaks, it can be more difficult to generate the right amount of electricity to meet demand at that exact time. Also, the way domestic users are changing their consumption habits is increasing the unpredictability of domestic peaks. These are two reasons why we need a more flexible energy system in the future. The Greenwich Energy Hero trial is determining the part domestic customers can play in this shift.

Why is the shape of the domestic consumption profile important?

How electricity is distributed or transferred to our homes is also a key factor. The networks have to provide enough capacity in electricity pylons and cables to cover the electricity consumption peaks we discussed earlier, but the rest of the time this peak capacity is redundant. If the peaks get even larger then the networks will have to provide more capacity by adding more cables and wires. This is extremely costly and ultimately will lead to higher prices on all of our electricity bills. To demonstrate this take another look at the consumption profile below:

It is expected for electricity consumption to grow and the peaks to increase as we buy more electrical consumer goods and gadgets, and also from new technologies such as electric vehicles. If we can prevent the peak getting even higher, by moving some of that consumption to other times of the day, then we prevent the need to install extra pylons and cables to increase the maximum capacity on the network and in turn this will keep the electricity bills down for all of us.