Last call for Triads

National Grid have published the three Triad dates for the 2019/20 season, which are listed in the table below. For an eighth consecutive year EIC has successfully called an alert on each of these days.

There was a significant reduction in the number of Triad calls this year with EIC only issuing 13 alerts in total, nearly half the number called the previous winter. This compares favourably with other suppliers who called an average of 24 alerts across the Triad period.

Triads are three half-hour periods with the highest electricity demand between the start of November and the end of February. Each Triad must be separated by at least 10 clear days. This means consecutive days of high demand won’t result in multiple Triads. If consumers are able to respond to Triad alerts by reducing demand then they will be able to lower their final transmission costs.

Lowest peak demand for 27 years

Peak demand is at its lowest point since 1992/93 and is now 14 GW (~24%) lower than the peak of 2010/11. There are a number of factors that have contributed to the fall in peak demand over the past decade. These include improvements to the energy efficiency of appliances, an increase in LED lighting and a rise in embedded generation.

Embedded wind output peaked at 3.4 GW during the Triad period. As embedded generators are connected to local distribution networks, this displaces a similar amount of demand from the transmission network. Therefore, peak demand is typically higher on days with low wind which increases the risk of a Triad occurring. This trend can be seen in the graph below which shows that for every 1 GW increase in embedded wind output there was an associated drop in peak demand of 0.9 GW.

Mild January leads to new record

For the first time since the Triad methodology was implemented, all three Triads have occurred before Christmas. This is mainly due to the mild and windy weather conditions experienced so far in 2020.

In terms of temperature, we’ve seen the mildest January since 2007 and second mildest in past 30 years. Across the Triad season only six weekdays had an average temperature below 3°C with only one of these occurring after Christmas. This compares to 17 the previous winter and 23 for the 2017/18 winter.

Wind generation increased throughout the Triad season with a pre-Christmas average of 6.5 GW significantly lower than the January and February average of 9.2 GW. As the weather conditions in November and December were generally colder and calmer, this increased the probability of Triads occurring during this period. Subsequently, all three Triads fell before Christmas on days when temperatures were below 4°C and wind power was less than 5 GW.

Demand response results in March peak

Peak demand on 5th March was higher than any day within the Triad period which can be seen in the graph below. The weather conditions on this day were demand supportive with an average temperature of 4°C and wind power around 5 GW. In comparison, on the 20th and 21st January weather conditions were similar, however peak demand was around 1.7 GW lower. This demonstrates the effect that Triad avoidance has had on reducing peak demand over the past few years. It also suggests that peak demand may start to increase after next winter without the incentive to consumers of reducing transmission costs. The elimination of a number of embedded benefits for generators is expected to limit the growth in embedded generation which will also have an effect on peak demand.

Demand response also led to a Triad falling between 4:30pm and 5pm, which is the earliest occurrence in 22 years. This Triad was, in fact, missed by one supplier who advised consumers to reduce demand between 5pm and 5:30pm. As some businesses are only able to reduce demand for short periods, the largest volume of demand response is typically seen between 5pm and 6pm. This has the effect of flattening the evening peak and increasing the risk of the peak half-hour falling either side of this window, as was the case on 17th December. All 13 Triad alerts issued by EIC covered the correct HH period, comparing favourably to an average success rate of 78% across other suppliers.

TCR Final Decision

In December, Ofgem published their final decision on the Targeted Charging Review (TCR). The main outcome of this decision is that from April 2021 the residual part of transmission charges will be levied in the form of fixed charges for all households and businesses. This means that there is one final chance for consumers to benefit from Triad avoidance over the 2020/21 winter period.

The TCR aims to introduce a charge that Ofgem considers is fair to all consumers and not just those able to reduce consumption during peak periods. For the majority of consumers these changes will lead to a reduction in transmission costs. However, for those who are currently taking Triad avoidance action it is likely that their future costs will rise.

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Targeted Charging Review decision

Ofgem has published its decision on the Targeted Charging Review.

Background

Ofgem has two main projects that serve as a review of transmission, distribution and balancing charges to facilitate a transition to a more effective network. These are:

  • The Access and Forward-looking charges review is looking at the ‘forward-looking charges’. This sends signals to users about the effect of their behaviour and encourages them to use the networks in a particular way; and
  • The Targeted Charging Review (TCR). This examines the ‘residual charges’ which recover the fixed costs of providing existing pylons and cables, and the differences in charges faced by smaller distributed generators and larger generators (known as Embedded Benefits).

Specifically, the TCR has evaluated two elements of network charges within the Significant Code Review (SCR) process. These are reforms to how residual charges are set and the non-locational Embedded benefits.

Decision on Residual Charges

Ofgem has decided to implement a fixed residual charge for final demand consumers. These will be levied for transmission charges in 2021 and distribution charges in 2022. These are characterised as a series of fixed bands, including a single fixed charging band for domestic consumers and a range of fixed charging bands for non-domestic customers.

For transmission charges, charges for non-domestic consumers will use a series of fixed charging bands set for all of the country.

Changes to distribution charges will see domestic consumers pay a single residual charge set for each licensed area. Non-domestic consumers will be charged on the basis of a set of fixed charging bands also set for each distribution area.

Bands for non-domestic customers will be determined by a consumer’s voltage level. Where further segmentation is required, further boundaries can be defined based on agreed capacity for larger consumers with readily available data, and net consumption volume for smaller consumers.

The series of fixed charging bands will be published at a national level and will then be set for each Distribution Network Area. Ofgem will review and revise these charging bands and their boundaries as appropriate so that the outcome of such reviews can be implemented alongside of new electricity price controls.

Ofgem believes this to be the strongest option of those considered, as it is the least avoidable leading to minimised harmful distortions. The regulator received feedback from stakeholders supporting its view that the option would help achieve a positive balance across the charging segments.

Decision on ‘non-locational’ Embedded Benefits

The key purpose of the review of Embedded Benefits was to reduce harmful distortions which impact competition and the efficiency of the electricity market. In order to meet this objective, Ofgem has outlined a three-step process to achieve a full reform:

  1. The implementation of partial reform in 2021, to deliver the benefits to consumers by removing the two Embedded Benefits (the Transmission Generation Residual which will be set to zero and the offsetting of suppliers’ balancing services charges by reducing the Suppliers net imports at the Grid Supply Point) which cause harmful distortions.
  2. The launch of a second taskforce to consider the application of the TCR principles to balancing services charges.
  3. The second taskforce’s work and resulting modifications should deliver reforms to balancing services charges.

Implications for Triad

Ofgem has decided that the reform to transmission residual charges should be implemented in 2021 and distribution residual charges in 2022. The regulator believes that this is an appropriate compromise between addressing the largest distortions within the market to deliver consumer benefits, while reducing the distributional impacts on consumers.

A preferred implementation option of April 2021 for transmission residual charge reforms will eliminate the incentive for Triad avoidance in the following winter periods. This leaves one final Triad season to take place over Winter 20/21.

How this may affect consumers

Through the TCR residual charging reforms, Ofgem aims to reduce the distortions caused by the current system. This encourages network users to take measures to lower their contributions to residual charges.

Where residual charges incentivise behaviour – such as load reduction which reduces the share of charges paid for by that user – this results in an increase in the share to be paid by other network users. This in turn increases the incentive for other users – who then pay an increased proportion of the residual charge – to take action to reduce their charges.

It is Ofgem’s view that all final demand users who benefit from the electricity network should pay towards its upkeep in a fair manner.

Under the final TCR decision, Ofgem expects the cost of maintaining the electricity grid to be spread more fairly. As a result, the regulator says that consumers will save £300m yearly, from 2021, with £4bn-£5bn in cumulative consumer savings up to 2040.

STAY INFORMED WITH EIC INSIGHTS

Our Market Intelligence team keep a close eye on the energy markets and industry updates. For the timeliest updates you can find us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

A smarter way to avoid Triads

Each year from November to the end of February, National Grid use peak demand data to calculate how much energy users should pay in electricity transmission charges as part of the Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) scheme. To avoid higher costs you can undertake Triad avoidance.

What are Triads?

Triads are the three half-hour periods with the highest demand between 1 November and the end of February, identified by National Grid. Each Triad must be separated by at least 10 days. This means consecutive days of high demand won’t result in multiple Triads. Businesses that reduce their usage during these high demand points will lower their future electricity transmission costs.

You can find out if your business is affected by Triads here.

 

How will you know when to act?

Our Triad Alert Service monitors different influencers to predict the likelihood of any particular day being a Triad and automatically sends that information promptly to our clients. You can then take informed action to avoid high usage during these more costly half-hour periods, while minimising disruption to your everyday activity. Our daily report can help you plan ahead with an overview of the next 14 days alongside a long-term winter outlook.

Find out more about our Triad Alert service here.

 

We’ve got a Triad and tested track record

Predicting Triads is very challenging; falling demand and changing usage patterns mean Triads are no longer guaranteed to occur at the height of winter. Season 2017/18 included the latest Triad on record and weakest demand levels since the early 1990s.

We’ve helped hundreds of clients avoid these transmission costs by providing them with the tools needed, giving EIC an enviable track record in Triad prediction. Previously, one client saved £800,000 by acting on insight from our Triad Alert service.

Last season we hit all three Triad periods, issuing just nine red alerts, lower than any other TPI or supplier – a testament to our in-house technology, analytics, and expertise. Of course, calling an alert every weekday would generate a 100% success rate but we recognise the negative impact this would have. Businesses could incur major damage to their revenues if required to turn down production each day for a quarter of the year ‘just in case’.

By issuing fewer alerts we ensure our clients are not unnecessarily disrupted from their day-to-day activities. Those that took action in response to our alerts last season cut demand by an average of 15% compared to standard peak-period half-hour consumption.

 

Intelligent buildings, smarter business

By forecasting when Triads will occur, we empower our clients to take control of their consumption to reduce their energy use and lower their bills. Businesses can react to our Alerts simply by cutting demand during suspected Triad times or by load-shifting.

Load-shifting involves moving the most energy-intensive tasks of the day to a time when it’s less likely that a Triad will occur, for example early in the morning. This enables you to avoid Triads without reducing your overall daily energy use. Building controls make this easier. With our IoT-enabled Building Energy Management solution, we’re introducing the next generation of smart building controls. Our innovative solution brings together the required technologies to integrate your critical energy systems with a single, remotely-managed platform. This means you can manage your buildings in real-time.

The Triad season begins on 1 November. To find out more about our Triad Alert service click here call 01527 511 757 or email info@eic.co.uk.