Households with smart meters could be paid for turning off high-energy appliances such as washing machines during peak times.

This could help reduce the risk of blackouts during the winter.

The National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) is understood to be preparing to announce plans to reward consumers for easing the strain on the power grid.

Customers could see rebates of up to £6 per kWh for minimising the use of certain goods such as tumble dryers, dishwashers and games consoles during peak hours of 5pm-8pm.

The Sunday Times, which first reported the plans, said the grid will apply to the Ofgem regulator for approval, with hopes the scheme will open by late October.

A National Grid ESO spokesman said: “We are developing a new service that will be available for consumers to benefit from across this winter and will be announcing further information soon.”

These plans follow a trial by Octopus Energy from earlier this year when as little as 20p was paid for every kWh, or kilowatt-hour, saved. A range of prices have since been considered, including up to £6.

News Shopper: You could be paid to turn off your washing machine during peak hours (Canva)You could be paid to turn off your washing machine during peak hours (Canva) (Image: Canva)

Currently at £1,971 for the average household, the energy price cap is forecast to rise to £3,500 in October, before going as high as £4,200 in January.

Experts at the Auxilione consultancy have warned that energy prices could spike at as much as £6,000 per year for the average household from next April.

The change to the cap for October and December will be announced by Ofgem on Friday, August 26.

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi last week suggested that rolling blackouts are unlikely as preparations were underway for the winter, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine strains supplies.

Your Money Matters

Your Money Matters is a campaign launched by us and our sister titles across Newsquest to help you overcome the surge in the cost of living. This year has seen a whole host of household price increases - from the energy price cap rise to surging inflation and food prices - costing your family hundreds or even thousands of pounds extra per year. We're making it our mission to look out for your cash, offering money-saving deals, competitions, giveaways and insightful stories from your community on the impact this cost of living crisis is having on our readers. The worldwide energy crisis exacerbated by the Ukraine invasion, the financial impact of the Covid pandemic, record inflation figures and a surge in the cost of goods, fuel and travel means we will all feel the pinch. Through our newspaper, we want to do what we can to help make your cash go further because we know your money matters.