Energy supplies have constructed a method of shutting down household appliances. This is alleged to save energy companies millions because they won’t have to start up the turbines or pay huge industrial companies to cut production.
Many feel that consumers will not benefit at all and will be left paying more when they buy the appliances, as well as having their private goods controlled by outside forces.
David Davis, the former Tory leadship candidate said ‘There is a Big Brother element to this, and it also shows the energy suppliers passing down their incompetence to the customers. They should be supplying energy as customers need it, not just when they want to give it.’
Nick Pickles, director of civil liberties group Big Brother Watch said ‘This sinister plan smacks of over-the-top intrusion into people’s houses. It should be the choice of consumers if they want to sign up to it, not slipped into our homes through fridges and freezers.
The National grid-a private company that made £2.6 billion profit in 2011-is required by law to balance supply and demand in the network.
However, the EU has set a target that 20% of all electricity will be generated from green sources by 2012- but these are unreliable, making the task more difficult.
The solution proposed by the National Grid, along with its counterparts in 34 European countries, is to install the controversial devices.
The National Grid supplies alternating current to homes at 240V and a frequency of 50kerts (Hz). But because electricity cannot be stored in bulk, there are fluctuations in this.
Sensors in domestic appliances would check this frequency every 0.2seconds and if it fell to 47Hz- a level that would risk blackouts- the devices would kick in and shut fridges, freezers and ovens down. Across millions of homes this would cut demand significantly and so restore the balance.
The sensors could also be used if supply of electricity outstripped demand, putting power stations in danger of ‘tripping’ and shutting down temporarily. If the frequency of the supply nudged towards 52Hz, the devices could make fridges become cooler, increasing demand and balancing out the system.
Experts believe household bills would not be affected because the scheme would just alter the time at which appliances are used, not their total energy consumption.
So do you think we as consumer will benefit from this scheme or not?