The cold facts of energy consumption

by tommaz jay

I recently became a proud user of a renewable energy vehicle. Ok let’s call it an electric car better known as a Leaf and I have the use of it through my son’s employment. Now you may be thinking this is going to be a party political typecast for the tree hugging/green/blue/red/yellow party, not at all, please read on.

As a consequence of having the electric vehicle some changes to my household electrical equipment needed to be carried out. Nothing to radical just a way of getting the electricity into the car, fuses, cable etc. Also as I had agreed to provide some feedback to the dealer and National Power Grid on charging patterns, usage etc. a couple of new meters was installed as well.

The installer’s fitted two smart meters to monitor the aforementioned. Now being inquisitive by nature I googled smart meter and gained a wealth of information on the inner workings of my new addition to the household. The meter(s) can in addition to monitoring the amount of electricity I am using can also tell when I use it. Well that’s not much of task for a smart meter I hear you say and you would be right! My shiny new educated meter can also communicate with the outside world and tell the electricity suppliers all this as well. This intelligent newbie knows when it is under attack from the nefarious and included in its advertising blurb is a list of possible attack methods. This includes bashing it with a blunt instrument, laser beaming it (I kid you not) radio waves and ripping it from the wall and chucking it down the garden path and will cry for help (remotely, it’s got a backup battery so no joy there) if you try any of these methods.

Let’s look at what else it can do. It can be told to set a rate for the amount of electricity used (tariff) remotely and vary this as and when it’s told to do. The suppliers call this:

Innovative new tariffs and personalised plans individually tailored to fit your lifestyle and energy consumption.

Wow all this from a tiny box of electrical tricks. It can also bill on a second by second basis and debit a bank account through software, again second by second. Using information stored in its memory it can analyse and decide that the consumer is using more than their fair share of electricity and set a punitive rate for the supply in the hope of you reducing your consumption.

But the most insidious part of this super meter is what’s called its ancillary relays. With these the meter can decide or when told to disconnect the consumer from the electricity supply completely or just switch off all of your sockets leaving only the lighting circuits activated, again remotely. No money to pay your bill, no problem off you goes at a touch of a remote computer button whether you’re a millionaire or a poor shivering pensioner. The plan is for these smart meters are to have them installed in every home starting in 2015.

So what my point?

Well besides the so call reduction of Carbon gasses the ability to control, how and when you consume electricity will be taken away from us and be at the sole discretion of the energy companies. Power shortages in different parts of the country will be rectified by shutting down or restricting consumption in other parts of the country. For example the affluent Southeast is short of electricity, just shut down parts of the improvised North; they can always put on an extra jumper from the charity shop on the way to the food bank.

Can’t pay your bill, shut you down without warning or regard to the consequences that it will have for the old, disabled or freezing families with children.
The final kick in the teeth from the “Big Six”. You pay for this technology second by second while the shareholders get rich from our finite resources of gas in the North Sea.