The Power of Load Shifting: Contributed By Andy Cooper from The Energy Collective

19 September 2023

In a world where businesses are increasingly committed to reducing their carbon footprint and embracing sustainability, the concept of ‘load shifting’ has emerged as a powerful and practical solution. 

Load shifting, a strategy that focuses on optimising power consumption during specific times of the day, offers numerous advantages that not only benefit the environment but also boost cost-efficiency.

If you want to have a positive impact on the environment, you should think about changing behaviour. Load shifting can allow you to make a meaningful difference, and it will save you money.

Unlocking savings while helping the environment

Load shifting is essentially the practice of adjusting power consumption to align with periods of lower carbon production. By doing so, businesses reduce their reliance on fossil fuel-based energy generation and minimise the need for costly infrastructure to cope with peak demand.

Peak demand typically occurs in the morning and evening when consumer loads surge, such as when people prepare breakfast and run household appliances. The good news is that power costs less during off-peak hours, offering a significant opportunity for cost savings.

On a larger scale, load shifting can contribute to substantial carbon emissions reduction, impacting both wholesale energy costs and infrastructure investments.

Understanding peak and off peak times

The exact times may differ between plans for small commercial customers, but generally speaking, peak times are Monday to Friday, 7am to 11am and 5pm to 9pm. 

How providers choose to offer their off-peak electricity differs. While some opt to provide cheaper rates at any time outside of peak hours, others opt for a day/night plan. On these plans, you only get off-peak electricity rates during the night (11pm to 7am).

Some electricity providers offer three different rates of power, in the form of peak, off-peak and night rates (with nights being the cheapest). Other providers may refer to it as peak, off-peak shoulder, and off-peak. But the principle remains the same: you get cheaper rates during the day and weekends, and the cheapest rates overnight.

Large commercial customers have time of use pricing which has a clear pricing schedule priced in 4 hour blocks during the day. This makes it easier for end users to see when peak periods are.


A Sustainable transition to local renewable energy

As economies transition toward electrification, matching energy demand with clean, locally produced renewable energy becomes paramount. This transition promises to replace offshore, dirty energy sources with more affordable, locally generated renewable power. 

Achieving this goal relies on active participation from businesses, innovation within the energy industry (such as automation of electric vehicle charging and battery control), and transparent information sharing with consumers.

A word on certified renewable energy and & offsets

In the quest to reduce carbon emissions, it’s crucial to recognise that purchasing offsets and renewable energy certificates doesn’t cut emissions immediately like load shifting does. Buying offsets merely shifts the carbon burden elsewhere without reducing a company’s actual emissions.

Load shifting offers a real-time solution. By using more power when cleaner sources like hydroelectricity dominate, businesses can lower costs and cut emissions directly. This approach reduces the reliance on fossil fuels, especially during high-demand periods when coal is prevalent, negating the need for costly offsets.

While certificates and offsets have a role, they’re mainly for handling unavoidable emissions. Businesses should prioritise behavioural and efficiency changes to reduce emissions first.

Practical load shifting steps for business

While load shifting is not as simple as purchasing offsets or certified renewable energy, it’s far more attainable than it may initially seem. Businesses can take several practical steps to implement load shifting strategies within their operations. 

Simple actions such as adjusting thermostat settings, employing timers for equipment, or optimising refrigeration systems during peak periods can make a significant difference. 

Moreover, businesses can explore emerging technologies designed to automate load shifting, making it even more accessible.

By embracing load shifting, businesses can secure substantial cost savings while genuinely benefiting the environment. 

Load shifting stands as a powerful strategy for companies committed to making a positive impact on both their bottom line and the planet. 

It encourages a shift in behaviour that aligns with the global push towards sustainability, allowing businesses to play a pivotal role in a greener, smarter future.


  • Andy Cooper is the Chief Customer Officer from The Energy Collective. Through Total Utilities’ robust collaboration with the Energy Collective and other leading energy retailers, we are empowered to provide our customers with exceptionally competitive pricing.