In highly populated cities, brownouts, blackouts and other energy shortages are an unfortunate occurrence. But the U.K. is considering a proposal that would curb energy use of household appliances during times of peak energy demand through the use of remote sensors, a move it believes could prevent brownouts and blackouts in the long run.
In other words, as the Daily Telegraph explained it, new appliances like electric ovens, refrigerators and washing machines could be outfitted with sensors that would allow a national body to shut them down when the demand for power is too high. But the proposal does call this action, of course, a last resort and notes that it would not be for long periods of time.
The proposal from the European Network Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) group was been sent to the European Commission in late March. The commission is expected to issue a verdict regarding the proposals in the next three months. From there it could be turned into legislation in the European Parliament that would require manufacturers to install such sensors, according to the Daily Mail.
Here’s what the proposal said:
The accumulated effect of switching off a large number of temperature-controlled devices will give a substantial reduction of load in the system.
In this way it should be able to prevent . . . large scale blackouts.
A National Grid spokesman told the Daily Mail that customers would actually benefit from the proposed action as it would lead to less of a requirement for back-up energy.
“It will have no material impact on the operation of fridges and freezers switching will be for a few seconds and only occasionally,” the spokesman assured. “Consumers’ produce will remain cool in their fridges and frozen in their freezers.”
But critics call the proposal too Big Brotherish. The Mail reported a former leadership candidate for Britain’s conservative party, David Davis, saying “there is something Soviet about this.”
“There is a Big Brother element to this – and it also shows the energy suppliers passing down their incompetence to the customers,” Davis said. “They should be supplying energy as customers need it, not the when they want to give it. …It’s a ridiculous idea and it should be opposed. I hope the government puts its foot down.”
The energy strategy manager for appliance manufacturer Electrolux, Viktor Sundberg, too noted the Big Brother aspects of including such a sensor on an appliance.
“This method of shutting down household appliances could to be carried out almost instantly, saving the energy companies millions because they won’t have to start up the turbines or pay huge industrial companies to cut production. Consumers are not benefiting at all and will be left paying more when they buy the appliances, as well as having their private goods controlled by outside forces,” the Mail reported Sundberg saying.
Featured image via Shutterstock.com.