Thousands of households paid to use energy amidst COVID-19 lockdown


A COMBINATION of a surge in renewables production and low demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic lockdown led to thousands of households getting paid to use energy.

On this day, windfarms contributed almost 40% of the UK’s electricity, while solar power made up nearly a fifth of the power system – meanwhile, fossil fuels made up less than 15% of electricity produced.

At the same time as this surge in production, the country’s energy demand was down around 10% due to the coronavirus lockdown.

This resulted in ‘the lowest price for day-ahead prices for energy in a decade’ as wind and solar projects produced a rush of clean energy.

Customers using the Agile Octopus tariff were contacted on Saturday that they would be paid to use energy from 11am to 4pm, earning between 0.22p and 3.3p per kWh.

The coronavirus has caused the UK’s demand for electricity to fall by between 9% and 13% so far, according to analysts at Cornwall Insight.

While home energy use is higher because people are self-isolating and working from home, the lockdown has led to a lower demand for electricity across the country due to the shutdown of ‘large electrical loads’ such as factories, shops and railways.

A slump in global gas market prices over the last year, combined with the lockdown, caused the wholesale price of electricity on the UK power markets to fall to £28 per megawatt hour (MWh) last week.

The electricity market price is down a third from January this year and well below the £44/MWh price recorded this time last year.