National Grid has announced it will be activating its blackout prevention scheme for the first time this autumn and winter, meaning households will be paid to cut down their energy usage.

It’s thought the activation of the Live Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) is due to the cold weather much of the UK is expecting, Sky News understands.

The Met Office issued numerous snow and ice yellow weather warnings for parts of the UK, which began from 5pm Tuesday (November 28) until Wednesday morning at 11am (November 29).

The scheme was introduced back in 2022 during Europe's “gas squeeze” caused by the war in Ukraine.

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Properties who qualify for the scheme with smart meters will be given “cash and other rewards” in return for minimising their energy usage between 5pm and 6.30pm last night (Wednesday evening), Sky News reports.

It’s thought more than 1.6 million households and businesses have taken part in the energy blackout prevention scheme since it started.

It’s important to note the amount paid to customers will differ depending on their own circumstances and standard energy use.

A spokesperson for the National Grid ESO (electricity system operator) told the publisher: "Our forecasts show electricity supply margins are expected to be tighter than normal on Wednesday evening.

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"It does not mean electricity supplies are at risk and people should not be worried.

"These are precautionary measures to maintain the buffer of spare capacity we need."

Sky News adds: “Eligible households do not have to turn off all electricity - including their lights - during a DFS period, but instead are urged to switch off appliances such as washing machines which can use high quantities of energy. Participation is also optional.

“The scheme is estimated to have saved more than 3,300MWh of electricity across 22 activations in 2022, which is enough to power around 10 million homes for an hour.”