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A smart move?

As if by magic another week has gone by and another government initiative has appeared to help save the planet. You could almost imagine a general election was looming on the horizon! Unfortunately, the news last week regarding smart meters being rolled out to every UK home was somewhat drowned out by the expenses scandal, but there was a very mixed reaction to the story from the people who did notice it. So, although this sounds like great news for manufacturers, will it also benefit others?..

It is probably a sign of the times that a move such as this is greeted with real scepticism in some quarters. Following an article on the roll out in the Guardian online edition, a poster called Cymru32 remarked: “And so the money making scheme that is man made "climate change" begins.........”

Others seemed to agree that any talk of the customer benefiting from the introduction of smart meters was mere bluff to cover up Big Business’ real interests, namely profit and snooping on customers’ day to day movements. The conspiracy theorists have fertile ground on the internet, but it’s a little hard to see how utility companies will manage to snoop into our lives to any great extent via smart meters.

The naysayers did have a point, however, with one area. What took them so long? This technology has been around for at least ten years and the projected date for completion of the roll out is another ten years in the future. Not exactly ahead of the game, are we?

That said, the introduction of smart meters will be a hugely positive step for the country. The benefits to convenience for the customer have been well publicised, but I believe they go even deeper and actually help to reconnect consumers with the electrical products they use in the home.

It’s been all too easy for people to become detached from the way products consume electricity, and I don’t simply mean this with a ‘climate change’ slant. I’ve mentioned in the past that part of the reason children have become less interested in studying engineering may be because they are more and more shielded from learning about how things work.

If only in a relatively small way, smart metering will encourage everyone, importantly including children, to think about such things as why tumble dryers consume so much energy and whether a full fridge is more power-hungry than an empty one.

Smart meters will be able to show in clear terms the impact that electrical products have on our energy consumption and hopefully make people think a little more about what goes on inside them.

Enjoy the newsletter,

Richard Scott

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