How to make green energy work

Under the arrangements suppliers will be able to switch consumer’s appliances – like TVs and washing machines – on or off during times of high or low demand.

The scheme is designed to save billions in electricity bills, but it is likely to raise further questions on privacy and data security for households who choose to move to such contracts to reduce their bills.

Such tariffs will lead to householders paying more for watching television, charging gadgets and running the dishwasher during morning and evening “rush hours”.

To choose to sign up to the scheme consumers must first have a smart meter installed, which transmit information about when a household uses most energy to suppliers, giving them the power to increase bills at busy times.

They’re going to have to reduce data protection laws to make it work of course:

But Ofgem has said it will relax licensing and data sharing rules in order to let tech firms introduce the new gas and electric tariffs, which will have more control over appliances in people’s homes than traditional arrangements.

I will g.u.a.r.a.n.t.e.e you that the people who will complain most bitterly about the data relaxation will be those who normally sxcream that we must have the 100% renewables. Not willing to understand that the two necessarily come as a package.

28 comments on “How to make green energy work

  1. The people who scream about 100% renewables are also those who scream about a two-tier society. Yet their plan here is for Richie-Rich to get his smalls washed when he needs them, but Benefits-John to have to wait until the el-co decides it has enough spare juice.

  2. Not at all: those who would force greenery upon us view mass surveillance as a feature, not a bug.

    I’d be more worried about the cost of all this. The smart-meter rollout is already ridiculously expensive. We’ll need new washing machines & dishwashers that can understand when the smart-meter says that energy is cheap, and use that moment to heat the water.

    There’ll be the usual tech squabbles: my VHS smart-meter won’t talk to my Betamax fridge, etc.

    In the long term it’s all doable. But it seems like a lot of investment for little, if any, benefit.

  3. I will g.u.a.r.a.n.t.e.e you that the people who will complain most bitterly about the data relaxation will be those who normally sxcream that we must have the 100% renewables.

    I’m with Andrew M.

    I suspect most people around here wouldn’t voluntarily cooperate on sharing such data *and* would be perfectly happy to advise Dr Connolley which orifice the eco-bollocks should be filed in?

  4. Smart meter: a device that allows some kid* in his bedroom in Seoul to turn off your power supply.

    * Or them thar pesky Rooskies, if your paranoia runs in that direction.

  5. So the next logical thing is rationing, isn’t it? I’m sorry Dave, you have already used up your hot water allowance for this month.

    And just how does that square with all these lecky cars we’ll be driving?

  6. Having your TV turned off remotely when they felt you were using to much power! Have they any idea how furious that would make people? Privacy concerns would be the last of it.

    Our washing machine starts from go if it is stopped suddenly. That would cause more power to be used.

  7. “The scheme is designed to save billions in electricity bills”

    Er… billions that wouldn’t be added to electricity bills in the first place if you stuck with dispatchable energy sources.

  8. Andrew M,

    “There’ll be the usual tech squabbles: my VHS smart-meter won’t talk to my Betamax fridge, etc.”

    To me, it’s just adding a lot of complexity for a piddling benefit. Freezers that switch off for a few minutes during peak demand? What’s that new freezer going to cost me? What’s it going to save? If it switches off and doesn’t come back on, or the computer at the electric co accidentally fires off multiple “turn off freezer” messages, then what? I’ll tell you what you’ve then got: a food crisis as everyone rushes out to replace food in the fridge.

    You want to keep essential systems as simple as possible. You can make Facebook and Amazon as complicated as you like. If they fuck up or go down, there are few serious effects.

  9. If we can’t generate enough leccy to run fridges, how will we charge up all those cars?

  10. Andrew M, it’s even worse, if you change supplier you have to change your smart meter. There doesn’t appear to be a common specification. A classic of DBCR type planning

  11. Roué le Jour

    “So the next logical thing is rationing, isn’t it? I’m sorry Dave, you have already used up your hot water allowance for this month.”

    NZ used to have this, called ‘ripple control’, the power company could turn off everyone’s hot water cylinders, as these where a significant load. This was back in the days of wage and price controls, late 70’s.

  12. Diogenes

    “If we can’t generate enough leccy to run fridges, how will we charge up all those cars?”

    Btu…but….but….batteries!

  13. I sighed bitterly when the newsreader told me yesterday morning that our government of fuckwits is proposing to hose money on battery research. I thought we needed spending cuts

  14. I told EDF where to shove heir smar meter when they called last year. The geezer on the phone didn’t believe that his company would ever switch someone’s appliances off, because leccy “was a necessity”.

    EDF being French state-owned, I can just imagine M. Macron in his secret base under the old U-Boat pens in Lorient. “Ha-ha ! zere is Monsiuer BnLiA,’ee ees a Brexiteer, ‘is washing machine is on its spin cycle and ‘ee is looking at naughty picture on ze Interwebs…. Mwahahahaaaa…” (presses red button)

  15. Greenies. Run your appliances at off peak times and overnight.

    Fire Brigade – Don’t leave the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher running overnight or while you are out. They are a fire risk because of their high wattage, friction and motors.

  16. At least a piece pointing out what the Smart meter caper is all about. Snooping, control and keeping their Green bullshit empire afloat.,

    Don’t have one. Full stop.

  17. Twenty odd million housholds times a hundred quid is “billions”. How much time, money and effort is it worth to shave a hundred quid a year off your electricity bill?

    I expect the most profligate user of energy is in any event the state. Because it’s not their money.

  18. “Twenty odd million households times a hundred quid is “billions”. How much time, money and effort is it worth to shave a hundred quid a year off your electricity bill?”

    Not only that but think of all the CO2 emissions required to make millions and millions of new internet ready appliances, plus dispose of the old ones, plus they’ll probably use more power. One suspects the CO2 savings (if one actually considered them important) would be negligible overall).

    The whole thing is a religion – one has to be seen to be doing the ‘right thing’ regardless of whether that even fits with the aim you are purported to be working towards……

    I suspect the best method of reducing Western CO2 emissions would be to make everyone use the same appliances and cars etc forever, until they literally fall apart, as in Cuba. No new production at all. Just keep the old stuff we’ve got, repair it ad infinitum.

    The fact that isn’t offered as a solution says to me the ‘problem’ isn’t a real one. If the earth really was going to disappear into a fiery future because of CO2, and incinerate us all, then some slightly more drastic measures than pissing about with wind turbines and smart meters, while global CO2 emissions continue to rise inexorably would be in order.

  19. @ Roue le Jour
    Not just the state – any regulated company (utility or otherwise), whose regulator looks at “profit margin” instead of “return on equity capital” when setting tariffs. For these companies increases in “allowable costs” result (after a short time-lag) in increases in the amount available to be paid out in dividends.
    Yes, *usually* its the state.
    Although I query your first sentence – the smart meter would not cut anything off *my* electricity bill. The idea is that if you know how much each appliance is costing you, you will turn it off when it’s not needed but the computer between my ears has a rough idea of how much power is used by each appliance I control and decides whether or not it’s worth turning it off until it’s needed again.

  20. “Although I query your first sentence – the smart meter would not cut anything off *my* electricity bill.”

    This. The idea that smart meters will miraculously reduce leccy bills by any material amount as a result of behaviour change is fanciful at best, and just plain dishonest at worst; that part of the PR is a straight con.

    Though I do find the radio adverts amusing. The voice (in the ad) wilfully portrays the person not knowing their electricity costs as a complete imbecile / simpleton (through the tone of voice). Which is an interesting way to talk to your target audience…..

  21. Just bill customers per hour with different tariffs per hour, just like a telephone call. Economy 7 for the 21st century. If you want to chose to opt in, then naturally you will need a meter that reads at different rates. But none of yer “smart” meter nonsense.

  22. jgh

    Theoretically my leccy meter ( installed circa 2002 ) already does this, it has a couple of buttons to show the different tarrifs. But it doesn’t.

    And it doesn’t have to, ‘cos M. Macron already knows how much I use !

  23. “Having your TV turned off remotely when they felt you were using to much power! watching the wrong program. Have they any idea how furious that would make people? Privacy concerns would be the last of it.”

    FTFY.

    You’re welcome.

  24. In my experience many people are unaware a microwave uses more power than a bank of hi fi equipment. Perhaps a public information film from Mr Cholmondley Warner? I always enjoyed those.

  25. Good point, PF.

    Regulated, monopolistic electric utilities in the U.S. have guaranteed rates of return. If the comsumers use less electricity, your rates will go up so that they still make their guaranteed return.

  26. I actually hope we go into a fucking crippling Ice Age. Mile-high glaciers marching down on Trondheim, that sort of thing. ‘Cos then we’d get to kill all the Greens.

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