FAQ: What Are Triad Charges?

by | Oct 25, 2018

As winter approaches, ‘Triad season’ is once again upon us. So, what are Triad charges? When will triad periods occur? And how can you effectively manage your energy consumption to decrease your energy costs?

For organisations with Half-hourly metered sites, identifying the annual Triad periods is crucial

National Grid identifies three Triads each year in order to calculate the Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charges an organisation will incur. Such transmission costs can be reduced if demand is decreased when a Triad Alert is expected. Our Triad Alerts service helps clients plan their electricity usage around these dates in order to lower their energy bills.

What are Triads?

  • A Triad is one of the three highest peaks of electricity demand between November and February.
  • These half-hourly periods normally occur between 4pm and 6pm on weekdays.
  • There must be at least ten days between individual Triads.
  • This means consecutive days of high demand would not yield multiple Triads.

What does TNUoS stand for?

TNUoS stands for Transmission Use of System Charges.

Triad Charges Explained

The Triad refers to the three half-hour settlement periods between November and February with the highest system demand. Each period must be separated by at least ten clear days.

  • Occur in a half hour period between 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm on winter evenings.
  • This is when industrial demand coincides with residential demand.
  • Triads tend to occur during the three coldest periods of a winter.

Why Track Triad Electricity Charges?

The Triad is used by the National Grid to determine Transmission Use of System Charges (TNUoS) charges for customers with half-hour metering. TNUoS charges are one of the charges built into business energy costs. The National Grid introduced the TNUos charge to help maintain supply and reduce peak energy demand during the winter months.

How do TNUoS charges work?

TNUoS charges are based on a half-hourly meter’s average demand during the three Triad periods multiplied by the tariff for the demand zone in which the supply is located.

Customers have the option to have TNUoS costs included as part of their unit rates or have them billed on a pass-through basis. The major difference between these two options is that a pass-through approach offers more flexibility for organisations to reduce energy demand during Triad periods. This is known as ‘Triad avoidance’.

How much are Triad charges?

TNUoS charges can amount to thousands of pounds per annum. The highest charging zone is in London, and the lowest is in Northern Scotland.

Who is affected?

Triad electricity charges only affect customers who have half-hourly meters, typically medium or large industrial and commercial businesses. However, if businesses do not consume electricity during the Triad half-hours, they won’t need to pay TNUoS charges for the entire financial year.

Are domestic customers affected by Triad charges?

Domestic customers (including those with smart meters) are not affected by Triads.

Predicting Triad periods

The season for Triads runs from the beginning of November until the end of February. However, it’s not possible to define which specific hours will be the season’s Triads. The National Grid will only confirm Triad times once they have reviewed the season’s settlement data.

When were the last Triad periods?

The 2017/2018 Triad dates occurred on:

  • Monday 5th February 2018
  • Monday 11th December 2017
  • Monday 26th February 2018

This is the first time that two Triad events have occurred in February. This is largely due to the cold spells during that month in 2018. It’s typical for Triad events to occur on Mondays.

Triad periods and TNUos tariffs for 2018/19

The table below shows the Final Demand tariffs for 2018/19 for Half-Hourly (HH), Embedded Export (EET) and Non-Half-Hour (NHH) metered demand.

Average Tariff (£/kW)46.170244
Residual (£/kW)46.933426
Average Tariff (£/kW)26.914673
Phased residual (£/kW)29.360000
AGIC (£/kW)3.220000
Embedded Export Volume (GW)6.515803
Total Credit (£m)175.370693
Average (p/kWh)6.210971

How to reduce Triad costs

Reducing energy demand during Triad periods can help significantly reduce your business’ energy bills. However, doing this is not quite as simple as it sounds since there’s no way to know for sure if a Triad will occur on a particular day.

Using Triad alert services can help you identify when a Triad period is likely to occur. Most of these services offer between 15-30 warnings per Triad season. By reducing your energy demand after a warning, you may stand to save on Triad energy costs if a Triad event occurs. Even if there’s no triad event on that particular day, the reduction in consumption will still have an impact on your energy bill.

Top Tips for Triad Period Avoidance

  • Check that your electricity contact allows you to  ‘pass-through’ TNUoS costs. If it doesn’t, you may wish to request this or look for a new energy contract.
  • Consider your options to minimise energy consumption for half-hour periods, such as switching off non-essential machinery.
  • You can also look at optimising your business hours for Triad avoidance.
  • Conduct a cost/benefit analysis to balance TNUos savings against any costs involved in reducing energy consumption by changing your core business operations.
  • Sign up for Triad alerts.

Reducing 2018/2019 Triads charges

You still have time to contact our energy experts for further information on Triads. We can also take a look and your unique circumstances and advise how effectively managing your electricity during Triad periods could help decrease your energy bill.

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