Households asked to slash their energy usage to help the National Grid cope with soaring demand have been told they may receive as little as £0.30, despite an earlier claim families could get between £10 and £20.
The electricity system operator activated its Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) for the first time tonight, which rewards people for cutting power between 5pm and 6pm on one of the coldest days of the year.
More than a million households have already signed up to the measure, with 26 energy suppliers, including British Gas, EDF, Eon and Octopus Energy participating. National Grid claims families will be paid between £10 and £20 to slash their electricity usage.
But one person who signed up told MailOnline he received an email from energy supplier Eon that said he would only earn ‘around £0.30’ by participating in the DFS initiative.
It comes as energy bosses said the initiative could run again on Tuesday evening between 4.30pm and 6pm, though it is yet to be confirmed by the National Grid Electricity System Operator.
The DFS aims to avert sweeping winter blackouts across the UK amid an energy crisis, which deepened after freezing weather and bad conditions for wind turbines left the grid with less supply to meet demand.
Twenty six of the UK’s energy suppliers are taking part in the DFS scheme. Participating households earn around £3 for every unit (kilowatt per hour) they save by keeping their electricity switched off during peak times.
An Eon spokesperson told MailOnline that customers saved an average of about £1.75 per event across six trials of the energy-saving scheme.
Critics meanwhile have condemned the decision to make it available only to the 29.5million smart meter users, precluding just under half the population from taking part.
Expressing their fury online, one critic told Octopus Energy: ‘I’ve been trying to get a smart meter installed for 6 months and you can’t/won’t. Because of that I can’t get this peak time discount. How is that fair?!’
Paul Robbins, 70, of Swindon, Wiltshire, had hoped to take part in the scheme but claims he couldn’t find any way of signing up with his provider, British Gas.
The retired radio engineer branded the scheme a ‘joke’ and said: ‘This is a really badly thought out idea. We have a smart meter and a British Gas account but nowhere on the website or app does it make any mention at all of this scheme.
‘The whole thing is a joke. It’s something that’s government led and the industry is now scrambling to work out to do it.