Energy Saving

Why expert insight is more important than ever this winter

Posted on 20 October 2020
By Dan Jerwood
Dan Jerwood
DSR Development and Delivery Manager

Dan has worked in the energy industry for more than two decades and joined npower Business Solutions (nBS) in 2014, where he has worked exclusively on building the company’s internal Demand Side Response (DSR) capability, with key involvement in commercial, software and hardware development. In his current role, Dan now manages nBS’ end-to-end commercial, technical and delivery of DSRm which forms a key part of the business’ Flexibility Services.

We are less than two weeks away from the start of the 2020/21 Triad season, and customers are already asking us what to expect.

Sadly, we don’t have a crystal ball to predict when the three half hours of peak demand will fall over the coming winter season.*

But we do have an expert team of Triad-forecasting specialists who scrutinise all of the key energy data, weather conditions, national demand trends and a whole range of other factors to call out likely Triad periods.

Their ability to successfully read and predict demand is going to be more crucial than ever this season, as with so much uncertainty and unpredictability around, we are not expecting the usual factors to apply in the same way as previous years.

Covid-19 and Brexit creating new challenges

The impact of reduced business activity, local lockdowns – and the possibility of more widespread curtailment due to the Covid-19 pandemic – is creating never-seen-before conditions.

Then there’s the impact of Brexit, which is still not clear.

And with an increase in renewable generation – and a huge reduction in coal-fired power – it’s far harder to predict output levels and the potential role of interconnectors (which may also be impacted by Brexit).

Interesting times for sure…

Luckily, our Triad Warning Service is free to customers, and we also have a number of non-supply-customers signed up too (details of how to sign up below).

Triad management can still save £££££s

Despite so much uncertainty, the one sure thing is that reducing consumption during potential Triad periods is likely to save large businesses significant sums of money.

National Grid bases its Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charges on consumption during these three half hours of peak demand, which are only calculated after the end of the winter season. With charges as high as £59,267** for every megawatt consumed during a Triad period, any reduction can result in significant savings.

Load shifting or switching to on-site generation are the most common ways to Triad manage. Our team can help to automate this process for you, and also advise on the best way to manage your business’s energy use during suspected Triad and other peak-charging periods.

Triads may endure for longer

Although we were expecting this season to be the last, Ofgem has decided to extend the use of Triad methodology for another year, before introducing changes to the way the residual element (which currently accounts for around 85%, depending on location) of Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charges are calculated from 2022/23.

That said, Ofgem is currently considering retaining a modified Triad approach for larger consumers when changes to the forward-looking element of TNUoS charges come into effect in April 2023. (Although it’s worth noting that this element only accounts for around 15% of the overall charge, again depending on location.)

So some form of Triad management may well endure – albeit on a much smaller scale. We expect to know more by December, when Ofgem is due to provide an update.

Currently, the Triad system reduces the UK’s peak national demand by around 2GW over the winter season, according to National Grid, which saves on having polluting fossil fuel generation on standby.

Another pre-Christmas hat trick?

Our Triad Warning Service will start from 1 November, and existing customers can sign up via your Client Lead or by emailing your details to optimisation.desk.team@npower.com. For non-supply customers, please email nBS@npower.com.

You may recall, last season all three Triads occurred before Christmas for the first time ever. So getting ready to respond to possibly more early Triads this season may be wise.

For help and support with Triad management, our Energy HQ team can also advise on the best strategy. Again, you can get in touch via your Client Lead (for existing customers). Or drop us an email to nBS@npower.com.

* A Triad is one of three half-hour periods with the greatest national power demand between 1 November and 28/29 February. Triad periods are most likely to occur between 4.30pm and 6.30pm on weekdays, but have to have at least ten days in between each one.

** HH Demand Tariff for London area for 2020/21, as published by National Grid.

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