UK homeowners to lose control over appliances

Daily Mail
12.01.2009
By Tom Mcghie and Daniel Boffey

A domestic refrigerator that can be turned on and off by the electricity supplier without the homeowner being aware is to go on trial.

Npower will distribute 300 ‘smart fridges’ free to homeowners throughout Britain within the next five weeks as part of the energy companies’ efforts to tackle climate change.

At times of high demand, the National Grid will activate the switches in the fridges to achieve a balance in the power supply.

The development means that, for the first time, consumers will lose control over the use of electricity in their own homes.

The UK’s six largest energy companies have been told that they have to help meet the Government’s Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT). Ministers want to reduce carbon emissions by up to 33million tons by 2020.

The appliance, invented by technology firm RLtec, has an in-built computer which can receive a signal from the electricity supply, telling it when to switch itself off.

RLtec designer Paul Lazarevic said: ‘The beauty of it is that you don’t know it’s happening and there’s no risk of  your fridge defrosting.’

According to a Government study, if every fridge had the ‘dynamic demand’ technology installed, the country would emit two million tons less carbon dioxide.

If the initial pilot is successful, a further 3,000 fridges will be distributed around the country.

In time, the energy companies also believe that ‘smart meters’ will be able to pass on information wirelessly about the demand for electricity.

The Government has announced that the meters – devices that will replace the traditional electricity meter and enable customers to monitor energy use minute-by-minute on a display screen – will be supplied to all 45million homes and businesses by 2020.

Full article

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