One of those proposals for consultation that will definitely happen

Smart meters could allow energy networks to switch off central heating systems under proposals being considered by the watchdog.
The plans, tabled by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), would allow distributors to contact consumers directly to ask for permission to temporarily turn off appliances with high usage, including heat pumps and electric vehicle chargers.
There are fears that mass uptake of these green technologies will put pressure on the energy network.

That justification is an outright lie of course. The real one being that green technologies of energy generation leave us with wildly variable supply. Therefore it must be possible to manage demand by turning out the lights.

As to why this will definitely happen whatever anyone says about it this is the whole point of smart meters in the first place. To be able to leave people in the dark when the birdchoppers aren’t turning.

49 thoughts on “One of those proposals for consultation that will definitely happen”

  1. There’s a big difference between turning off a house and turning off an appliance. The appliance must be remotely switch off-able for the smart meter to switch it off. Houses can be switched off right now.

  2. With a smart meter Roue’, they’d have to come round and disconnect the meter in my place.

    And this is another good reason not to have a smart meter, along with the knowledge that, as in Germany, the crims can hack into your smart meter and see how much leccy you’re burning. If it’s during the day and consumption is low there’s a good chance the house is unoccupied………

  3. On still winter nights, when the bird choppers aren’t turning, we’ll all use our diesel-engined cars as stationary generators to power our homes. A beautiful chorus of noisy engines all switching on as the sun sets. What could possibly go wrong?

  4. The big problem in the UK with smart meters is that it went with the wrong technology ie wifi & mobile instead of sending the data along the leccy grid. I had a smart meter for 5 years which used the grid, worked brilliantly, monthly bills were to the penny, accurate. Here in the UK I will resist the bloody things. Another problem is the energy companies try to flog off the old generation meters which are useless if one changes the supplier.

  5. I had a call from EDF a few years ago about having a smart meter installed. I told the perplexed call-centre chap that no way was I going to have a device, where the French president could be sitting in the bunker below the Elysee Palace watching my every move –

    “Aha ! Monsieur Ottokring’s washing machine is on the spin cycle. Mwahahaha ! ” (Hits red button).

    They’ve left me alone since, apart from pamphlets in my bills.

  6. I can connect my fridge to the internet. I don’t want to connect my fridge to the internet, so I don’t. The next generation fridge* will connect via the mobile network to Public Death England, to tell them what I am eating, whether I like it or not. And no doubt to some food waste quango who will nag me about the carrot tops that are wilting but could still be used for something.

    *: My parents still have and use a fridge that is over 50 years old. Before they started making the most heavily used parts of thin and breakable plastic, and using bespoke seals that cost £200 to replace.

  7. “Public Death England” – i read yesterday they’re doing away with PHE. – somehow missed that event on tim’s blogs.

  8. Nice to see this finally getting to the light of day. Their piddle power wont cut it so its blackouts or brownouts so some of your appliances wont work and you will have to run your washing machine in the early hours of Monday morning .

    Already told the story of the EU bankers Greek electric bill surcharge and how it would have worked if smart meters could have cut off every individual house.

    DONT GET A SMART METER.

  9. On still winter nights, when the bird choppers aren’t turning, we’ll all use our diesel-engined cars as stationary generators to power our homes.

    The rich will use a big charger-battery-inverter system to run the house quietly during the downtimes.

  10. Hallowed – a zombie undead version of PHE is being born from the bloody ectoplasm on the floor of PHE’s demise. It is to be led by that Dildo lady (friend of Dave C). Yes the one failing to get testing sorted right now.

  11. Ottokring – not to mention the suspiciously shallotty scent of the snail-eaters emanating from your “smart” meter every time the Frog King dials in via his Minitel (I have no idea how this works)

    I honestly dunno why you’d ever want one of these contraptions, isn’t the man coming round to read the meter whenever that happens good enough? Unless you’re running a secret cannabis farm in your loft, who really cares how accurate your bills are on a monthly basis?

    What’s in it for the consumer if you’re not OCD?

  12. This is all third world stuff. In the early ’90s I went to New Zealand and they had something similar to control the heating circuit remotely. These days we rely on electricity 24/7 and I am amazed that a government here would seriously consider anything less. I know there are agreements in place to shed load under some circumstances but they are for fault and other accidental situations, not as a business-as-usual process.

  13. isn’t the man coming round to read the meter whenever that happens good enough?

    You’d hope so, although one time my meter reader man managed to read the damn thing wrong, my bill went up about £500 and the leccy company didn’t believe me vs. the “professional”.

    I had to send a photo of the meter with a copy of the day’s newspaper (hostage style) before they relented.

  14. jgh, C&G 236 Electrical Installation & Engineering, Part I & II

    “Smart meters could allow energy networks to switch off central heating systems”

    “Could”? Well close enough, that’s an outright lie. The only thing it “could” do is switch off my entire house.

    And then I’d rig up a battery to keep the timer going, and the boiler would fire back up, and convection would just about keep the radiators running.

  15. Patrick- yeah looks like finally they got royally fed up with asking urgently- how do we stop everyone dying of the dreaded lurgi?- and getting back, dunno, but we really should cut down on bacon.

  16. NoelC – £500? you lucky lucky bastered! nPower stiffed me for £1400 after I repeatedly demanded they come and read the meter, and after sending photos of the meter. I couldn’t even transfer to another supplier because my account was locked because of unpaid bills. Took me months to rectify, only in this morning’s post is the recalculated bill with a grand’s of credit notes.

    This is for a workshop behind a shop – total consumption: a couple of fluorescent lights and a radio. My calculated usage is 50p a day.

  17. jgh, wouldn’t the pump be the issue, especially if one lived in a multifloor house ? You can bypass the timer, it is only two ( or three ) wires with a switch or an expendable small child.

  18. Jgh,
    Top tip, computer UPSs are very useful in a blackout to keep lights on, etc. Get a big one and it’ll probably run the pump, too.

  19. My REC uses an intelligent meter. They get telemetry over the grid. They read usage remotely. There is no more “meter reader.”

    They can also tell if it is registering zero flow. If there is an outage, their software can check meters and map the outage, which usually tells them exactly where the problem is before they even leave the shed.

  20. “Could”? Well close enough, that’s an outright lie. The only thing it “could” do is switch off my entire house.

    That’s currently. But we’ll be progressing* to an “internet of things” wherein they will be able to monitor and switch individual items (items that might not work if their connection is bypassed).

    *If we let them. Which, based on our Covid compliance, we will.

  21. BlokeInTejasInNormandy

    “Top tip, computer UPSs are very useful in a blackout to keep lights on, etc. Get a big one and it’ll probably run the pump, too.”

    I chose to install a lift in my prior house – rather than move – when m’lady wife’s accelerating brain damage made it extremely bad idea to use the stairs, and there being no usefully-convertible-into-bedroom space on the ground floor.

    Obvs having the damn thing crap out with her trapped inside with a not-infrequent-in-Tejas power outage would not be good (there is actually a manufacturer-provided fix – you can stick the hand crank into a hole above the upstairs installation, engage with some gearwheelery things, and hand wind the blessed thing up or down. But that only worked if I were there).

    So I found out the VA of the motor, and it was about 500-600VA. Bought a 2000VA UPS, hooked it up. Called up the empty lift. Too much for the UPS… the bugger just went click and disconnected.

    Inductive loads like motors are not well-liked by UPS’s. Though I do grant you that a central heating pump should be less of a challenge 🙂

  22. Remember when people said this would never happen, could never happen, and the people saying so were just far-right gammons?

    Now they want to switch your central heating off, remotely, with no input from you and no compensation. Gran gets hypothermia and admitted to hospital? Part and parcel of living in the Progressive Dream, you hater.

    My previous supplier spammed me constantly about a smart meter. They lied and said it was a condition of the tariff I joined. I pointed out the condition was they were allowed to contact me about having one. They kept on and I moved. AVRO were fined by the government for not pushing these on people so they were a natural choice.

  23. Top tip, computer UPSs are very useful in a blackout to keep lights on, etc. Get a big one and it’ll probably run the pump, too.

    Yes, those are smaller versions of the charger-battery-inverter systems I mentioned above. These marine standard installations can run a gas boiler, fridge, house lights, etc. for many hours.

  24. A CH pump is about 20W, new boilers have them built in, but the wires still go to an external junction box. The HW/CH valve one can operate by hand with a pair of pliers, by just removing the motor apparatus.

    These Internet connected fridges: do they only connect to the manufacturer or can one get Youporn on them ? Asking for a fetishist friend…

  25. Great, buy an electric car and have the perfect excuse for not going to work – “can’t come in today, electricity company cut off my charger again”.

  26. This takes me back to those glorious years under Grocer Heath when, to show us how ‘we’d never had it so good’ and ‘to protect the pound in your pocket’, they switched of the electricity at certain times of the day and ‘allowed’ us a three day working week.
    ITV and BBC were told to stop broadcasting at 10-30 too.

    Ah, the good old days, sitting at home on a December evening, wearing a coat, hat and gloves due to heating being supplied by a three bar electric fire and with the only illumination coming from lights powered by a bank of 12 volt car batteries in the scullery wired up by my dad.

  27. @Rob

    I have a smart meter, fortunately an early one so now it doesn’t work
    Whenever anyone asks I tell them I already have one…( It’s veeeeery nice).

    I’m with avro too, I get the distinct imression they can’t be bothered with this green nonsense

  28. In Australia, they haven’t quite had the nerve to talk about shutting off residential AC over summer, which is usually the worst case demand/supply situation – hot, still afternoons. The way they’ve scraped though the last couple of summers though was the wonderfully named Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader scheme to reduce demand (emergency reliability?). Basically businesses sign up to an agreed fee to either shut down when required or activate their backup (diesel generators, of course) so that the general public can believe that renewable energy is working. I tend to think that having businesses run gensets all day so that you don’t have to do massive load shedding across South Australia and Victoria is scraping the bottom of the barrel demand management wise, but it seems to be achieving the goal of convincing people that wind farms are reliable.

    When that breaks down I’m sure remote shutoff of AC is next.

  29. There won’t be a problem with everyone charging their electric vehicles all at once. The grid will easily cope with the load since very few of us will be allowed to buy EVs. For most of us it will be shank’s pony to the bus stop or on special occasions we might be able to afford a Uber.

    Also, the central heating issue is a non problem. As far as the greenies are concerned there are too many people using too much in the way of resources and a good culling every winter suits their purposes admirably.

    The buffoons in the Tory government may not appreciate this, (though I suspect it’s beginning to dawn on a few of them), but the evil bastards driving it know exactly what it’s all about.

  30. ““Smart meters could allow energy networks to switch off central heating systems”

    “Could”? Well close enough, that’s an outright lie. The only thing it “could” do is switch off my entire house.”

    This will be when you’ve been forced to move to electric heating because hydrocarbon fuels are banned in the 30’s along with the ICE for transport.
    And very possible. Electric heating storage systems are envisaged as drawing power during off-peak (although HTF you have an off-peak if your energy strategy is timeshifting into it beats me). So the charging via the smartmeter would put the smartmeter controlling the heating because of separate cabling.

    And in passing, our host here is complicit in this shit. By advocating carbon taxes. Sorry, but once you enter into discussions about strategies to mitigate “climate change” you’ve acknowledged the premise it exists. The only winning strategy would have been to laugh it out of court right at the start. Refuse to engage with the cnuts.

  31. I remember storage heaters: a 3’x2’x1′ pile of red bricks enclosing a 1-bar electric fire. The bricks are supposed to stay warm for a while after the electric has turned off.

    Has the technology progressed at all since then?

  32. And in passing, our host here is complicit in this shit.

    To be fair, he suggests a carbon tax specifically to avoid this shit, given that the green ship “climate change” is launched and sliding down the ramp.

    I disagree with Tim because a carbon tax will just result in an extra tax plus -> this shit. As shown in every country where one has been adopted.

  33. BiS, EVs will screw the off peak electricity concept even more than home heating. Most of the charging will be done overnight, if this brave new world ever eventuates (it won’t) that will become the peak. I’m always astounded at people who think they can massively disrupt the way a product is consumed but assume the tariff model will remain static.

    On our host’s attitude to climate change, well, he’s consistent and advocates a plain carbon tax then stick a fork in it, we’re done. Not much different to Bjorn Lomberg who says yeah it’s an issue, not our biggest problem, more R&D is great, otherwise deal with clean water to the Third World first. Very sensible.

    My brother in law, who is reasonably intelligent and informed, saw me reading Cool It a few years ago at a family gathering and said to “Bjorn Lomberg, he’s a climate denier isn’t he?” I said no, he’s not, pointed out that the denier tag was pretty insulting and that Lomberg’s thesis was that there were more pressing problems. Didn’t sway him in the slightest. So maybe you have a point about not giving them an inch.

  34. Has the technology progressed at all since then?

    Not really. It’s still a clumsy way of using off-peak energy during peak times; nice for a bit of warmth in the morning for example. If EV charging makes off-peak rates disappear, electric storage heaters become meaningless.

  35. Isn’t Tesla pushing this idea of a home battery, basically off-peak charging of batteries then use the batteries to run the house/charge car when it’s busy

  36. Ummmm, yes, Tesla are pushing that. Not recharging the battery from the grid, but using it to store your unused PV energy during the day when you’re out. They have yet to explain how an at best 15kWhr storage device can recharge an EV with a 50-60kWhr battery. It might, in its 7-10 year lifespan, smooth out discrepancies between when you are generating power and when you need it. And again, off peak won’t exist if everyone tries to take advantage of it. This is a classic arbitrage thing.

    Lots of stuff I’ve seen on the ‘virtual power station’ front has been about people signing up to allow the charge in their car or wall battery to be accessed to power the neighbourhood. Yep, that’s going to make people sleep well.

  37. So Much For Subtlety

    Tractor Gent September 18, 2020 at 9:31 am – “I know there are agreements in place to shed load under some circumstances but they are for fault and other accidental situations, not as a business-as-usual process.”

    I disagree. I think load shedding is openly a business-as-usual process. You see it with water supply where Britain – a country that only exists because it is covered with enough grass to stop it washing away into the ocean by all the rain – regularly has water restrictions.

    The problem is that the first 90% of supply is cheap and hence profitable. The next 9% is really expensive and so less profitable. The next 0.9% is eye wateringly expensive and a total loss. That is true for water or electricity or anything else.

    So the solution is to load-shed. Just supply the 90%.

  38. Ltw: I was entertained to read that ScMo is proposing to build a huge gas fired power station to replace the horrid coal burners that Vic and NSW have shut/are shutting down. Obviously the cheapest and most sensible thing would have been to keep the coal burners going for another 40 or 50 years, so naturally that couldn’t be done.

    It’ll be interesting to see how things will go here in Qld with the state election coming up. Labor needs Green preferences to win but its greenery pisses off the country electorates. Well, I always liked that bloke who ‘always voted at his parties call, and never thought for himself at all’, so I don’t need to worry about how I’ll vote.

    bis: You’re certainly right about the give ’em and inch and they’ll take a mile on climate change. It’s like showing the slightest sympathy for foreigners when they stuff up their affairs.

  39. pjf, ltw & the boganboy. It’s the well tried principal of the club bouncer. Never ever get into discussing with the punter why you’re throwing him out. At best, you’ll be there all night & you’re giving his mates a chance to get behind you & crack a bottle over your head. Just put your boot behind him hard ‘n fast

  40. In the U.S., large electricity consumers, like factories, pay a demand charge. I think it should be applied to residential customers as well. Advanced meters provide the technology to do it.

    We called it capacity-to-consume back in my power cost management days. The electric utilities kept track of usage with some granularity. They would note peak usage during a year, and the next year charge based on that peak usage. This was serious big money. Tens of millions of dollars. The utilities were required to have capacity to meet the peak demand. This required substantial fixed cost for them. So they distributed the cost to those with high demand.

    We have the technology to bill fixed cost to customers. Limiting peak demand will save significant money.

  41. Isn’t that how direct-debit billing works ? The leccy company fleeces the end-user for an estimated sum each month and most people forget to try and get it back at the end of their billing year.

  42. Just put your boot behind him hard ‘n fast

    Ecksian “solutions” can be fun imaginings but sadly, back-bedroom keyboard bashing turns out to be as effective as hexing. The greens have actual power and influence in the here and now. Wherever we want to go, we have to get there from here.

    If a carbon tax worked as Tim advertises (stops the stupid shit) then I would be in favour. However, when implemented they’ve always just been more stupid shit.

  43. ‘allowed’ us a three day working week

    Well, some of us. I was in the RAF at the time and coincidentally with the 3-day week, Rolls Royce had made a bit of a blooomer that meant that half the Phantom fleet was grounded by a lack of engines.

    Nevertheless, we continued to justify our expense to the taxpayer by working a full week.

  44. Boganboy, I saw that too. No mention of course of where the gas is going to come from, given the varied anti fracking or even anti traditional extraction onshore gas bans on most of the eastern seaboard, that could be a bit tricky. That aside, gas plants are the best answer to stabilising the intermittency of wind/solar, easier to ramp up and down. Of course, they need to be able to back up approximately 100% of the renewables, so a better answer would be to build coal stations on top of the massive reserves we have, run them 24/7, and not build the intermittent stuff in the first place. But I think that ship has sailed.

    BiS, I have a copper mate who was called to a pub to evict a drunk. Turned out the bouncers weren’t quite willing to put the boot into a guy in a wheelchair (who was apparently well known for being a nuisance, disabled people can be cunts too, who knew, but still they outsourced this one). He did the “come on mate, time to go home” spiel and starting wheeling the bloke out. Wheelchair bloke grabbed him in a headlock with his, as you would expect, strong arms. My mate ended up having to punch a disabled guy in the head several times just to get free, and copped a lot of ribbing in the station afterwards (for not being able to beat a guy in a wheelchair, of course, we’re talking about coppers here).

    The climate change equivalent is of course Greta Thunberg, disagree with her and you’re instantly accused of child abuse. This is the problem with the bouncer theory, at some point they’ll raise the stakes and you can’t do it.

  45. what will actually happen is powercuts. Doesn’t need a major investment in technology to turn the lights off! Although the fluctuations in output levels will probably fry lots of appliances

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