UK households with smart meters reap benefits amid COVID-19 pandemic, says GlobalData

Customers of Octopus Energy’s Agile tariff are being paid to use electricity during the day, as wind and solar projects produce a surge in clean energy and diminishing electricity demand during the coronavirus lockdown. Customers will still be charged for the electricity consumed during the rest of the day, but these electricity rebates have become increasingly common during the lockdown. Octopus Energy’s flexible tariff plan relies on smart meters that measure customer consumption patterns in half an hour blocks.

Somik Das, Power Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Due to the lockdown, most industries, factories, commercial facilities, multiplexes and malls have been shut down and power consumption has significantly dropped. This is a clear scenario depicting the benefits of possessing a smart meter.”

The number of domestic customers availing smart meters has been on the rise since 2015. This, along with a drop in electricity demand by 13% – and the fact that the UK is experiencing one of the driest Aprils on record, with strong winds – has led to a surplus in generation from renewable sources. The price drops are being noted during the peak hours, from 13:30 hours to 16:00 hours. That is the period when generation from solar PV is the maximum.

Das continues: “This phenomenon of negative electricity prices was brought first to the limelight by Octopus Energy. However, no major threat would hover over the company in terms of financial losses. The drop in prices is not huge, this is further ensured by the meager rate of pay to consumers. Slowly and steadily, essential industries will become operational, which will mean more factories will start operating, demand will rise and, by the time the lockdown period ends, this phenomenon will be averted.”

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