Triad Season 2019

As the Triad season fast approaches, Strategic Account Manager, Mark Cox takes a look at what it means for business consumers and how they can make cost savings by reacting to times of peak demand.

Triads are the three highest half hourly periods of demand (usually between 4pm-7pm) throughout November to February, separated by 10 clear days. These three half hourly periods cover the cost of running the transmission network, also known as Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charges at peak times and therefore are used to set the value of these costs.

Over time, the costs of reinforcing the network have continually risen. However, this has also provided an opportunity for even bigger savings to be made by smart businesses able to shift their demand away from peak times. Based on a demand-weighted average, five years ago, business consumers could have saved around £33,000 for each 1MW of load they were able to shed. Now, the same customers are looking at being able to make savings of over £50,000 for each megawatt they can reduce consumption by during Triad periods.

Triad periods for winter 2018 occurred on:
• 22nd November 2018, 17:00-17:30, with peak demand hitting 45.28 GW,
• 10th December 2018, 17:00-17:30, where peak demand reached just over 45 GW,
• 23rd January 2019, 17:30-18:00, where the highest level of peak demand for the winter was recorded at 46.87GW.

This peak figure represented a reduction of around 1.6GW on the highest demand recorded for winter 2017 (48.5GW). The reduction was caused by both ‘demand destruction’ where users are either removing or shifting peak load, and continued deployment of embedded generators helping to reduce the strain on the transmission network. National Grid’s Winter Outlook is predicting a further drop in peak demand for 2019, suggesting 46.4GW will be the maximum amount of power required to meet demand.

Whilst these factors are making it more and more difficult to correctly predict Triad periods, we successfully notified our customers ahead of all these three confirmed triads periods for last winter, thanks to our Triad warning service. Our Energy Management Centre send a text or email notification to our customers when they predict a possible, likely, or very likely triad, so they can take action to reduce demand.

Its also important to note that this opportunity won’t last forever. Under the terms of Ofgem’s Targeted Charging Review, the way in which TNUoS charges are calculated might yet be changing. The regulator’s current preferred option involves a mix of fixed and capacity charging depending on the size of the consumer. Smaller households and businesses would simply pay a fixed rate, whilst larger business consumers would pay based on the level of capacity they can take from the network. This would remove the ability to make Triad savings for anyone on a fixed charge, whilst those on capacity charges could still mitigate these costs – but only in the form of installing behind-the-meter generation.

To find out more about Triad avoidance, and other ways to benefit from your flexibility, get in touch