Will you catch a chill from the Triad season?

Spring may be upon us but many large energy users will be reminded of winter when their next electricity bill lands, explains James Graham...

What have November 25, January 19 and February 15 all got in common?

It’s unlikely to be a question you’ll hear in any pub quiz but the answer is that they were the days when Triad periods - the half-hours of highest demand on the electricity system – fell this winter.

Large energy users who had high electricity use during the three periods just confirmed by National Grid - 5-5.30pm on the November and January days and 6-6.30pm on February’s – will pay more under the system where a Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charge is levied based on location and consumption.

While many businesses just leave their consumption during Triads to chance, others enjoy significant financial benefits from looking to shift demand to avoid potential peak periods.

As well as reducing the potential TNUoS charge there are also other financial benefits as these peak times will also attract additional charges such as those related to distribution and the capacity market. Generators can also benefit from a windfall from maximising production to try and tie-in with Triads.

We offer a Triad alerting service through our Energy Management Centre which lets customers know when a Triad is possible so they have time to take action to reduce demand or increase generation.

Although the timing of the Triad periods is not known in advance, working out when they might fall is much more than just guesswork.

As well as factors such as temperature and business demand, Triad periods tend to follow historical patterns. For example, Mondays are the most common day for a Triad, followed by Thursday with 5.30pm by far the most regular time.

There have not been any Triad periods on a Saturday or Sunday  with the only Friday Triad falling in December 2013. But winter 15/16 was the first time a Triad fell on 6-6.30pm and also the first time a Triad was called after Valentine’s Day.

Demand patterns are clearly evolving as businesses become smarter about how and when they use electricity. We expect to see even more changes as Demand Side Response plays a greater role this winter and beyond.

> Find out more about our Demand Side Response here

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