‘Tis the season of the Triad

by 22 November 2018

It’s that time of year again, no not Christmas. It’s Triad Season. Although they are very different, just like Christmas, Triad Season could potentially end up costing you a lot.

What is Triad Season?

Triad Season happens between the months of November and February. It is the point in the year where energy demand is not only particularly high, it’s also a time where energy can be particularly expensive. The coldest months of the year. In that period a ‘Triad’ will occur three times, these are the half-hourly settlement periods of highest demand in Great Britain, each one separated by a minimum of 10 clear days. Triads can occur in any half hourly period, but typically fall between 5 and 6.30pm on a weekday evening.

The Triads are the method by which National Grid (GB’s electricity System Operator) charges suppliers for their use of the transmission system on the UK mainland. Generators and suppliers have to pay their share of installation and maintenance costs, with suppliers either pricing it into their tariffs or passing it through as a Third Party Cost.

Graph 1 below shows the Triad Season for 2017/2018 which demonstrates this clearly (Source: National Grid – https://www.nationalgrid.com/sites/default/files/documents/2017-18%20Triad%20Data.pdf)

How do we know when it’s going to happen?

Energy suppliers are usually aware of this in advance and do their best to inform their customers, but there are other things which can help you identify when they might happen:

  • The weather: The worse the weather the more likely a Triad will happen. Snow, cold snaps and wind speed all contribute to the increased possibility.
  • The day of the week: Triads are most likely to happen on a Monday, followed by a Thursday and hardly ever happen on a weekend.
  • Time of the day: They usually happen between the hours of 5-6.30pm
  • Demand: The colder the weather the more people are likely to use energy and the more likely a Triad will occur.

Surely this is already factored into my bills?

Thankfully the majority of suppliers will factor in a certain cost in their quotes to manage Triad Season when you initially sign up, however Triads are unpredictable. There is still a chance costs could be higher than factored and as a consequence these costs could be passed onto you (depending on your supplier).

How can I beat the dreaded Triad spikes?

Although Triad season is inevitable, there are things you can do to manage the costs associated with it:

  • Be aware of Triad periods and ensure you are pro-actively managing energy
  • Turn down your energy usage/consumption during a Triad peak
  • Consider managing the working hours of staff in order to assist with energy consumption
  • If it’s a possibility, consider installing onsite generators to offset your energy requirements during this period

In conclusion the season we are referring to may not be one full of Christmas tree’s and tinsel, but Triad Season is not as bad as you think if you effectively handle your energy usage and pro-actively stay aware of the situation.

Graph 1
Source- National Grid: https://www.nationalgrid.com/sites/default/files/documents/2017-18%20Triad%20Data.pdf