Those of you who follow energy trends closely will be aware that we’re already into the latest Triad season. The Triad season falls during the winter months, from the start of November to the end of February, and reflects the higher demand seen from both industrial and retail customers at this colder, darker time of year.
Triads are simply the three half hour periods in this season that produce the highest demand. Each Triad must be at least ten days apart, meaning they can’t happen on consecutive days, and this can be advantageous for customers if there is a particularly long lasting cold spell. The energy industry bases the Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) portion of customers’ half-hourly meter bills on the average demand during the three Triad periods. This is also where Triads get their name – “tri” refers to the three periods, while “AD” stands for average demand. These charges cover the use of the transmission system, administered by the National Grid ESO, for the whole year.
It’s during this period that customers will see the transmission charges applied to their usage, although the cost will be incrementally collected by suppliers over the year, based on estimated costs. For heavy users of energy, and others, this can turn out to be quite expensive.
Not surprisingly, many organisations will be looking for ways to avoid the full impact of these costs. For some, this will mean limiting their energy usage, or using on-site generation, during these times. Others may want to look at how they can incorporate this into a wider energy strategy, for instance, by signing up to our Virtual Power Plant which offers an automated Triad alert and dispatch service – this is a way of reducing the administrative burden associated with Triad periods as customers can simply allow us to manage it for them. Customers avoiding Triads can also limit other costs, such as distribution, as Triads tend to fall during the most expensive Distribution Use of System charges (DUoS) period.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to predict these spikes in demand with 100% accuracy. That’s primarily because Triads are only determined retrospectively in March – the National Grid ESO crunches through the season’s data to work out which three periods registered the highest uptake. So businesses have to wait until later in the season to find out if they’ve got their forecasting right.
There are other reasons too: unusual weather patterns can distort results – we could see this happening this year if we get a repeat of the “Beast from the East” cold blast we experienced early in 2018 during the Triad season. In recent years, greater awareness of the impact of Triads on TNUoS charges has affected when they fall – more customers avoiding what they perceive to be busy periods has meant that other times have become busier as a result! This was particularly apparent during the 2015/16 season.
Despite this, there are steps businesses can take to protect themselves from the costs associated with Triads.
Predicting Triads is not an exact science, but those who do put an effective strategy in place, and stick to it, stand to reap the rewards. By doing this, these organisations are laying the foundations for an energy efficiency strategy that can benefit them all year round, not just during Triad season.
Following the above points is a starting point, but for more in-depth insight, visit our website. Existing customers can get in touch with their account manager.
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