Demand Side Response (DSR): Unlock cash saving potential

Businesses on a Demand Side Response scheme commit to reducing or shifting their energy consumption when UK electricity demand from the Grid threatens to exceed supply. Businesses who can be flexible with their consumption are rewarded for shifting or reducing demand, or by making capacity available through onsite generation, when needed.

We can help you scope out the energy saving potential in your existing assets, identify the right scheme for you and get your business DSR enabled. Once you’re enabled, you can start earning. 

Why DSR? Watch the video below to see how it could benefit your business.

Get your business DSR enabled

Contact us for more information or to sign up to Demand Side Response. 

Our DSR Offer

Capacity Market

Earn revenue by helping the grid stay balanced.Shift or reduce your electricity consumption when demand is at risk of being higher than supply available on the Grid. Commit to making a set amount of capacity available during a stress event, we manage the response to the Grid and the payments to you. 

Firm Frequency Response (FFR)

FFR is a service to manage sudden surges of demand on a second by second response basis to ensure that system frequency stays within the tolerance levels of ±1% of 50Hz. Offer your frequency services 8-10 times a year and help the National Grid manage fluctuations in forecasted volumes or problems on the transmission or distribution network. You’ll receive payment in return for being available when the system sends a stress signal. 

Triad Management

Become a responder to get paid for changing use through Demand Side Response schemes.

Avoid high network charges during winter peak months (November to February). Our technology can enable your on-site assets to respond automatically to Triad alerts issued by our internal experts, saving you time and money and giving you peace of mind.

Here’s our process for getting you from eligible to earning

Step 1: Eligible

Getting your business Demand Side Response comfortable

For many businesses the biggest blocker to taking part in DSR is culture – not technology. Essentially, fear that changing electricity use will interrupt day to day business operations.

But in practice there is normally plenty of energy saving potential in your assets and processes to make DSR doable. It's just a case of working out where the potential is and how much flexibility there is. And then proving it to stakeholders in your operations.

An effective way to approach this can be to run a pilot on one of your sites* to work out your benchmarks for different processes, for example refrigeration, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) and other production processes. This will show you the level of energy demand change that is safe for your customer experience and product quality, and you can build confidence from there.

Talk Power: Read why Demand Side Response should be part of your energy strategy.

*Eligibility criteria apply. Contact us to find out more about eligibility criteria and options available.

Step 2: Enabled

Getting your business set up for Demand Side Response

The best paying DSR schemes require you to commit to reducing or shifting a minimum level of energy use and prove how much demand you reduced when called upon. Because we’re an aggregator, we can help you take part with relatively small amounts of electricity demand. But we need to be sure of your capacity and capability to respond quickly.

To get you set up correctly, we complete site assessments to confirm your potential, upgrade any hardware (like controls) and software (like your building management system). We can control your assets via our smart response platform so it’s not a burden on you or your staff. 

Step 3: Earning

Seeing the savings and saving more

Once registered and installed, our smart response platform takes care of adjusting your electricity demand within the parameters we’ve agreed and tested together. From the information it provides, we then calculate payment due to you. It’s that easy.

But why stop there? To make sure you’re earning as much as possible, we’ll help you monitor the effect on your business processes, model what you could be earning as a bolder DSR participant, and increase the participating sites over time as your confidence grows.

After all, the more you earn through Demand Side Response, the lower your business’ energy charges.

Need more detail about Demand Side Response?

1.    What is Demand Side Response?

Demand Side Response (DSR) is the name given to schemes where businesses are paid to change their energy consumption in response to signals from the National Grid at times of peak demand or system stress. Businesses who can be flexible with their consumption are rewarded for making capacity available when needed, either through onsite generation, or by shifting or reducing demand.

This could mean a hotel reducing the heating for a short period of time during the early hours of the morning, or a supermarket turning off their freezers for thirty minutes, without disrupting their operations.


2.    Why is it needed?

DSR is an innovative solution to a changing energy landscape. Two of the current challenges in the UK electricity market are:

1. Quantity – the margin between peak demand and supply is at historic lows not seen since the the industrial revolution due to the closure of fossil-fuel power stations ( 
2. Quality – increased reliance on renewable energy such as solar and wind makes it harder for the Grid to balance demand and supply, as the weather plays a huge role in reliability.

The advance of Smart technology creates potential for businesses who actively manage their energy. DSR in particular creates opportunities for flexible businesses to earn revenue by supporting the National Grid in times of peak demand or system stress.


3.    What are the benefits of Demand Side Response to my business?

Demand Side Response could enable your business to unlock untapped revenue from your existing assets, whilst also helping to fulfil your sustainability and CSR goals. It also gives you valuable insight into your business’s energy consumption patterns, helping you to deliver further improvements in energy efficiency. Additionally, regularly utilising backup generation for DSR constitutes an additional testing regime for your assets.

Some DSR schemes such as Firm Frequency Response and the Capacity Market enable your business to be paid just for making capacity available to respond to events, meaning your assets would still be generating revenue  in the form of availability payments even where they are not required to deliver .


4.    How can I find out if my business is suitable for Demand Side Response?

Every business is different, and we can work with you to help you determine the right DSR scheme for your business.

Suitability depends upon:

  • Your operations - how flexible you can be with your consumption.
  • The size of your business and how much capacity you can make available.
  • Your existing assets- businesses with certain types of operating process are more suited to DSR. Examples include cold storage, UPS, back up generators, bitumen tanks, heating systems, cooling systems and water pumps.
  • Your existing technology - how much data is available on your energy consumption and how well it will work with our response equipment.

We can provide the consumption data analysis and technical support to enable you to identify suitable locations and assets for DSR. We are committed to making sure that we gain a comprehensive understanding of the requirements of your business and the processes that drive its core operations. Taking these factors into consideration, you'll then be able to assess which DSR scheme(s) would provide optimum benefit to your business.


5.    What’s the minimum amount of capacity required to get involved?

National Grid set minimum thresholds for the capacity they procure through each DSR scheme (e.g. Firm Frequency Response = 10MW). As an aggregator, we can enable your business to extract revenue from smaller pockets of capacity. You’ll just need to be able to provide a minimum of 500kW per site.


6.    Will DSR disrupt my business operations?

We work closely with you to help determine the level at which you can participate without disrupting your normal operations. You set the limits and based on this instruction we will come up with a DSR solution for you to consider, tailored to your business needs. These parameters can then be adjusted periodically as your knowledge of your DSR capability improves with experience.


7.    Is it possible to participate by controlling assets manually?

Under certain DSR schemes – such as in the Capacity Market where 4 hours’ notice is given prior to an event – it is feasible to participate by manually controlling your assets if this is desirable, whereas other schemes require a response time that is only attainable through an automatic system – such as Frequency Response schemes, which require delivery within seconds. Our platform is deisgned to enable your assets to respond automatically to signals from the National Grid, opening up a wide range of DSR schemes to your business.


8.    Will my business lose control over its processes?

Some businesses find that they can participate in DSR by shifting energy intensive processes to times when demand is lower, while other businesses will have processes that can be paused for a certain period without having any impact on the quality of their product or service. DSR rewards flexibility and you retain control by defining the parameters of your participation and setting the limits of your flexibility. For schemes that do not require a rapid response, you may opt to control your assets manually.


9.    What happens during a Demand Side Response event? 

In all cases your business will receive a notification to inform you about the event. Depending on the scheme, DSR events can be triggered with prior notice of between 4 hours (Capacity Market) and 1 second or less (Enhanced Frequency Response). There are 2 ways that your business can participate in a DSR event.

  1. One, we can set up your assets to respond automatically to event notifications, within seconds if necessary (opening up the opportunity to participate in Frequency Response schemes).
  2. Or, two, if you’d prefer to retain manual control over your assets, we can help your business to establish a process for manual DSR participation, and you can sign up to receive event notifications that prompt you to trigger your participation. 


10.    How often would my business have to respond to DSR events and how long do they typically last?

How often you need to respond depends on the scheme. For the Capacity Market, based on recent trends, responses typically are limited to less than one event per month on average across the whole year – although the number events can always increase due to external factors, for example, if something happens that adversely impacts system margin (the cushion between the level of demand and the available capacity on the supply-side). On the other hand, Triad avoidance requires a regular response during the winter months in order to maximise the likelihood of avoiding all three Triads.

You can select the right DSR schemes for your business according to how often you are prepared to respond.


11.    What does it cost to get set up?

We will supply and install our DSR enablement equipment at your site(s), meaning your business could get started doing at DSR with little to no upfront cost. If your business is looking to export electricity from on-site generation to the National Grid, then there could be costs associated with getting an export connection set up. In this case we can support you through the application process and co-ordinate with the DNO on your business’s behalf.


12.    How can my business get involved?

Get in touch using the form at the top of the page to find out if DSR could enable you to unlock a new stream of revenue from your business’s assets.

The first step to getting DSR enabled is to complete our compatibility questionnaire. We’ll guide you through this form and use your responses to learn more about the DSR potential of your business.

Backed By Trusted Technology

Smart Response

Our Smart Response technology communicates with onsite equipment to enable your assets to respond to DSR events automatically. You’ll have access to an online platform where you can see how your participating sites performed during an event.

Reactive Technologies – Tradenergy® DSR

We’re working with Reactive Technologies to offer a cloud based, advanced energy management solution that extracts flexibility from your electrical assets, such as chillers or HVACs, and optimises them across all available energy-saving opportunities.