What is peak demand?
Electricity customers up and down the country are all affected by peak demand, but have you ever given much thought to exactly what it's all about?
Electricity suppliers are constantly trying to encourage consumers not to make use of their appliances during periods of peak demand, which could mean you end up paying lower energy costs.
Here's our guide to peak demand.- who knows, it might even help you save some money!
The basics of peak demand
Well the good news is that peak demand isn't a concept that's particularly difficult to grasp - it's as the name suggests, when the need for energy is at its highest.
Although there's some debate over exactly what times of day constitute these periods, it's generally accepted that it occurs between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
As you can imagine, this is the time when most people are getting home from work or school. The first thing they do when they head through the door is put the kettle on, head to the cooker to make dinner or put on the washing machine.
This puts pressure on the country's electricity grid, as it all of a sudden has to cope with large amounts of appliances being used in the nation's households.
The difference between daily and network peak demand
The explanation above refers to daily peak demand - namely the pressure the grid experiences most regularly. However, it also has network peak demand to contend with.
This only tends to happen on a few occasions throughout the year and is generally owed to extreme temperatures.
As the mercury soars, homeowners and businesses reach for the air conditioning controls to cool themselves down. Heaters are cranked up when temperatures plummet.
Efforts are being made to make sure the grid can cope with these surges in demand, which is why investment is needed to ensure upgrades can continue to take place.
What can I do to help?
Some energy companies offer reduced tariffs to customers who use electricity out of peak times, which is helping reduce pressure on the grid.
Whether you're signed up to one of these tariffs or not, there are steps you can take to minimise the amount of stress the grid is put under.
For example, using high-energy appliances out of peak times is a good place to start, which may involve some changes to your daily routine.
If you have a washing machine with a timer, delay its start so it will be ready to hang out to dry when you come down in the morning, rather than using it in the evening.
Posted by Nikki Wilson-Everett