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SSE’s Triad Warning service predicted all three Triad periods for 2018-19

Yesterday, 26 March 2019, National Grid confirmed the Triad periods for 2018-19 and SSE Business Energy is pleased to confirm that we accurately predicted each of the three peaks through our Triad Warning service.

The Triad season falls during the winter months, from the start of November to the end of February. The Triads are the three half hour periods of highest demand in Great Britain during this colder, darker time of year, and must be at least 10 days apart.

For businesses, consuming electricity during a Triad period is very expensive and it’s therefore important to try to avoid the three peak half hours. SSE Business Energy helps businesses avoid these times by offering a Triad Warning service which draws on the knowledge and expertise of weather forecasters and energy demand specialists.

Our service accurately warned of the three Triad peaks for 2018-19, supporting business across the UK to avoid costly charges during these times. The National Grid confirmed Triad periods are:

Day Date Half hour ending Settlement period MW
Thursday 22/11/2018 17:30 35 45,280
Monday 10/12/2018 17:30 35 45,002
Wednesday 23/01/2019 18:00 36 46,870

Over recent Triad seasons it has been increasingly challenging to predict the demand peaks that become the Triad periods.

While weather conditions are still a driving factor for levels of demand, the increased use of embedded generation and Demand Side Response acts to suppress the overall peak demand throughout the Triad season and can flatten demand within individual days.

Additionally, Triad warnings themselves can change the likelihood of that day becoming a Triad. The number of customers who receive and react to a warning, and the number of warnings collectively issued across the industry, can mean that a lower risk day can turn out to have a higher peak than a colder, higher risk day.

In the National Grid graph below, the red lines highlight the Triad dates as published by National Grid on 26/03/2019:

National Grid Triad

Whether your business avoided the 2018-19 Triad periods or not, it’s worth planning ahead for how you will manage your energy consumption during the 2019-20 Triad season. There are a number of steps you can take to protect your business from the associated costs:

What can your business do to lessen the impact of Triads?

  • Sign up to a Triad alert service: SSE Business Energy has its own service and accurately predicted all three of the 2018-19 peaks. While future warnings can’t be guaranteed, as prices are set by the National Grid rather than energy companies directly, they do give you well-informed insights into when the busy periods could be. The National Grid also issues warnings when the system is likely to be under stress due to high demand and low generation.
  • Consider our Virtual Power Plant service: if you’re a larger organisation, or a heavy user of energy, our Virtual Power Plant (VPP) service can provide an automated Triad alert and dispatch service. Not only can our VPP help you beat the Triad premiums, it can also make your energy flexibility – whether this is from reducing demand, or using on-site generation – work harder for you by providing access to a wide range of other revenue streams and cost savings
  • Look at historical patterns: looking at previous Triad periods can give you a reasonable indication of when these spikes are likely to happen. For instance, since 1990-91, all Triads have taken place between 4:30pm and 6:30pm, with nearly nine in ten falling between 5pm and 5:30pm. Assess what you can do to limit your energy usage during these times. You can view the past few years’ data on the National Grid’s website. The last few seasons have also seen patterns emerging around the days of the week when Triads occur, as they often fall on Mondays and Thursdays. However, it’s important to highlight the inherent uncertainty involved in making exact predictions – and when it comes to forecasting Triads, we’d always recommend taking advantage of existing services, such as our Triad alerts.
  • Treat every day like a Triad day: while you can’t predict when Triads might occur, getting into the habit of limiting your energy usage, for example, by turning off lights when no one’s in the room, or turning down your heating, means you’re less likely to be caught out by spikes. This could be an opportunity to review your organisation’s overall energy efficiency and there are tools available on our website to help you do this, including carrying out an energy audit and adopting this into company policy. We believe organisations of all shapes and sizes can benefit from taking these simple steps.

Following the above is a starting point, but for more in-depth insight, visit our website. Existing customers can get in touch with their account manager.


Oliver McMillen

SSE Virtual Power Plant Director

Oliver is responsible for the development and delivery of Virtual Power Plant and Demand Side Response (DSR) related activity within SSE. As part of his role, Oliver works closely with external partners and colleagues to explore new products and services SSE could deliver using the VPP capability. He previously led the Corporate Affairs support – covering policy development, advocacy, and communications – for SSE’s Wholesale business.
View all posts by Oliver McMillen >

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