National Grid will pay homeowners to use less electricity between 5pm and 6pm tonight

Millions of households and businesses will be paid to cut back their electricity usage between 5pm and 6pm today to prevent blackouts on one of the coldest days of the

year amid warnings energy supplies will be ‘tighter than normal’. The National Grid said it would be activating its Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) this evening with 26

major energy suppliers such as British Gas, EDF, Eon and Octopus Energy signed up. Households could receive payments of up to £20 back if they don't use ovens, washing

machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers, games consoles or decide not to charge their cars during the peak tonight. But the scheme relies on users having a controversial smart

meter, a device which automatically transmits your energy usage to your provider every 30 minutes. There have been many complaints about the devices, ranging from them logging

inaccurate readings that lead to inflated bills to stopping working altogether. It is the first time National Grid has implemented its DFS scheme since it was first

announced last November, as the UK prepares for freezing temperatures this week.  Craig Dyke, Head of National Control at National Grid ESO, suggested that the measure could

become a regular part of the UK winter. He said: ‘It is something we strongly believe in. It provides flexibility for the system and the consumer. We see this as a growing market.

We see this as a world leading step forward into a space where we can only grow and drive forward towards Net Zero’. Q&A: Can I sign up for the scheme that

will pay me to use less electricity? How will it work? How can I sign up?