British authorities want to encourage consumers through discounts to prefer off-peak times to use their energy-hungry appliances, such as washing machines, in a bid to mitigate the risk of power outages.
According to newspaper reports, partly confirmed by the national electricity network operator ESO, it is considering “rewarding” Britons who adopt such behaviors with discounts.
They will be able to receive up to £6 (€7) per kilowatt-hour of off-peak use by using less washing machines, dishwashers, dryers or video game consoles between 5pm and 8pm.
“We are developing a new service that consumers will be able to benefit from this winter and will provide additional information soon,” said an ESO spokesperson.
According to The Sunday Times, the management company will take the idea to the sector’s regulator, Ofgem, hoping to start implementing it by the end of October.
The unveiling of the plan comes as warnings mount about Britain’s energy situation next winter, although Finance Minister Nadeem Zahawi has ruled out power cuts.
In the midst of an oil shock and especially a natural gas crisis, which was aggravated by the war in Ukraine, drastic increases in energy prices are expected in the coming weeks.
Britain is heavily dependent on natural gas compared to other countries.
Electricity prices for private individuals are expected to more than double on an annual basis next January.
The average household energy bill can therefore be as high as £6,000 a year, according to some estimates, which is almost 20% of UK household disposable income.
On Friday the health sector warned that a “humanitarian crisis” is on the horizon as more and more Britons risk being forced to choose between heating their homes or eating out this winter.
Inflation already reached 10.1% year-on-year in July, a 40-year record high, while price rises could top 13% in October, according to the Bank of England.
In mid-August, Britain’s energy sector called on the government to “rapidly” increase consumer support due to soaring energy prices.
However, outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has referred the issue to his successor as Prime Minister. The result of the race within the Conservative Party to succeed him will be known on September 5.
Liz Truss, who is the favourite, is in favor of a tax cut, while her rival Rishi Sunak calls it a “moral responsibility” to give more direct support to consumers, at a time when the public subsidy is currently £400 a year.