homenews and insights three correct triad alerts to help you cut costs

Three correct Triad alerts last winter – to help you cut costs

Oliver McMillen
By Oliver McMillen
07 April 2021

Business Development Director

Meet our SSE Energy Solutions experts

Triad warnings

If you were signed up for our Triad warning service, we alerted you before all three power demand peaks in winter 2020-21, so you could take measures to cut future costs.

Triads are the three half-hour periods during the winter that see the highest demand for electricity. “Tri” refers to the three periods, while “AD” stands for average demand.

They’re important if your business gets half-hourly electricity bills because they’re used to calculate your total Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charge for the coming financial year.

That’s why we offer a Triad warning service – so you can cut your consumption during Triads and reduce your TNUoS payments for the whole of the next year. Avoiding Triads can also limit other costs, such as distribution. Triads tend to fall during the most expensive period for Distribution Use of System charges (DUoS), too.

Three correct Triad warnings

We alerted you ahead of all three Triads last winter, warning that the risk of a Triad was “high”. Here are the Triad dates for 2020-21, which National Grid published on 26 March:

Triad warning figure 1

Unique Triad conditions

Triads were particularly challenging to predict last season because of two unusual factors:

1. Lockdown

As the country was in lockdown in November and January-February, industrial and commercial demand was much lower than usual. On the other hand, more people were at home so demand from domestic customers was a lot higher.

2. Cold snaps

The second half of the Triad season saw several sharp drops in temperature at weekends. This meant that a couple of weekly peaks occurred on a Friday and a Sunday, which are traditionally low-demand days.

The following graph from National Grid shows how power demand peaked during winter 2020-21:

Triad warnings 2020-21 National Grid graph

For more on how these peaks can affect Triad-related charges for your business, see my earlier blog on how to cut your electricity bills by tackling Triads.

Triads next winter

Here are measures you can take to mitigate the impact of Triads next season (November 2021-February 2022):

Get Triad alerts

Sign up for our free Triad warning service and we’ll alert you by email when Triads are likely to occur. While these forecasts can’t be guaranteed, we have been 100% successful in predicting Triads in recent years.

Reduce energy demand

Consider ways to minimise energy usage from the grid during Triad periods. You may be able to switch off non-essential machinery or use on-site generation.

Automate Triad management

If you have the flexibility to reduce demand or use on-site generation, you could use a Triad management service. Our Virtual Power Plant (VPP) (demand side response) includes an automated Triad alert and dispatch service that helps you reduce Triad-based costs.

Changing role of Triads

Whatever Triad avoidance measures you take, remember one important thing: Triad-based charges are set to change soon.

Following Ofgem’s Targeted Charging Review (TCR), the residual charge element of both TNUoS and DUoS will be moving to a fixed charge. In practice, this means that the unit rate element of TNUoS, which you can currently reduce through Triad avoidance, will be largely replaced by this new fixed charge – a standing charge determined by a voltage band your site is allocated to.

We were expecting this new charging regime to go live from April 2022. But in a TCR update late last week, Ofgem said that it’s minded to postpone implementation until April 2023, so the timing is yet to be confirmed.

Whenever the new charges start, any Triad avoidance measures you take will be far less effective. Triads will still play a role in setting TNUoS charges, but their impact will be significantly reduced – something to bear in mind when considering return on investment.

Cut total costs

We’ll be talking more about what the TCR means for your business in future blogs. Meanwhile, the best way to reduce your future electricity costs is to treat every day like a Triad day: review your business’s energy efficiency and carry out an energy audit to reduce your overall energy usage.

And don’t forget Triads remain as important as ever for next winter – sign up for our free Triad warnings today.