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At Net Zero Watch, we have been keeping a close eye on the cost of the Balancing Mechanism, the bills we have to pay to make sure that electrical supply meets demand every hour of every day.

The cost of stabilising the grid and keeping the lights on has been rising alarmingly in recent years – it was £1200 million in 2019, and reached around £1792 million in 2020.

There is always a certain morbid fascination in seeing the costs shoot up from hour to hour when the wind isn’t blowing, or indeed when it is blowing too hard, or when it’s blowing in the wrong place. (As it was two days ago, with the Balancing Mechanism bill rising at something like £5 million every hour, hitting a new daily record at £63 million).

We thought it would be fun to give NZW readers the opportunity to predict what the eventual total will be for 2021 (calendar year, not fiscal).

We are now three quarters of the way through the year, so in reality, you are only predicting how the final quarter will pan out.

As is our wont, we’ll be offering a bottle of whisky to the person whose guess is closest to the actual outturn, which we should know by around February next year.

Update: entries are now closed. Good luck!