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How balanced is the UK grid at the moment?

This meter is monitoring the power balance of the UK electricity grid. If the needle is too far to the left, it means more generation is needed to meet demand.

The meter actually shows the grid's "frequency", which is related to the speed of rotation of generators all over the country. When there is too little power available, the whole grid "slows down" and the needle moves to the left.

Why is this important?

It is important because it is possible to measure this signal from any power outlet in the country. This means that it is possible to design electrical appliances that know the current imbalance on the grid. This is what dynamic demand control is about.

The device to measure grid frequency is very simple. Here at Dynamic Demand, we built (at very little cost) a device that continuously monitors the frequency on the electricity grid and updates this website with real-time data.

Dynamic demand appliances would react to this very same signal. When the needle is to the left, they would be more likely to switch off, reducing the load on the grid and helping to restore the balance. When the needle is to the right, they would be more likely switch on, using up the excess power. Millions of such devices acting together would act like a huge, fast-reacting back-up system.

What happens if the needle sways too far?

Is the meter accurate?

Is the grid really this close to failure?

How does the meter work?

Can I have a meter on my site?


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Dynamic Demand is an independent not-for-profit organisation
set up by a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and supported by charitable donations.