The British public has been sold the myth of the “Internet of Things” as a convenient cover for a much more sinister purpose on the part of those in charge of the UK’s fast-failing energy system. According to the myth, customers will be able to make big savings, initially from a better understanding of which household devices consume the most power. In the longer-term, consumers are also promised lower bills as smart technologies (that currently do not exist) can be switched on and off remotely to save on energy at peak times.
The reality of smart meters is different. Few of the promised savings have been realised in practice. Not least, because the solution to high-energy-consuming devices is usually to invest in a new low-energy replacement: something that only recoups the investment in the long-term. Other annoyances have also been experienced by customers seeking to switch supplier after a proprietary smart meter has been installed. In short, the benefits to consumers appear to have been wildly overstated while the downside has been ignored.
However, these difficulties pale into insignificance when compared to the real motive behind smart meters. Not to “save customers money,” but to hold customers to ransom. This is the only conclusion that we can draw from comments made by Andrew Wright, a senior partner and former interim chief executive at the energy regulator Ofgem, reported in the Telegraph:
“Households could be forced to pay extra to keep their lights on while their neighbours ‘sit in the dark’ because ‘not everyone will be able to use as much as electricity as they want.’… richer customers will be able to ‘pay for a higher level of reliability’ while other households are left without electricity.”
This is unquestionably the next step in the “energy death spiral” that The Consciousness of Sheep has been warning about for some time. The important thing to bear in mind here is that the National Grid as currently configured cannot disconnect individual households. This means that there is no mechanism through which customers could be made to “sit in the dark” while their wealthier neighbours continued to have all lights blazing. This is where smart meters come in. Once we are connected to the Grid via our smart meters, those of us who cannot or will not pay the enhanced premium on increasingly expensive energy will be plunged into darkness at the flick of a switch in an energy corporation’s control centre… most likely at the most inconvenient and possibly life-threatening time, such as the depths of a winter freeze.
As the Telegraph notes:
“Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, has previously said that Britain will need to invest ‘eye-wateringly large sums of money’ just to keep the lights on. The Chancellor put the cost at around £100 billion in the next 20 years to ensure the country meets its energy needs.”
These “investments” – such as the white elephant at Hinkley Point and the money sink that is hydraulic fracturing – will be added to customers’ bills, making future energy unaffordable to millions of UK households, while driving those households and businesses with money to spare to opt for renewables in order to lower their reliance on the Grid. For the majority of us, once smart meters have been installed, the choice will be between paying exorbitant premiums on already expensive electricity bills or being forced to shiver in the dark.