by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions
A UK Money Mail investigation has found that ‘smart’ meters represent “The great smart meter rip-off: Energy giants will use devices to DOUBLE the cost of power when you need it most.”
As reported by This is Money:
“Energy giants are set to use digital smart meters as a way to double the cost of power when families need it most …
It means electricity and gas used in the evenings could cost 99 per cent more than at other times — penalising everyone cooking family meals, watching popular TV shows and heating their homes on chilly winter evenings.
Higher charges will also apply in the morning when people are most likely to be taking baths and showers and having the central heating on.
And we have uncovered evidence that smart-meter schemes unveiled in other countries have proved a disaster, with complaints about soaring costs and an outcry over invasion of privacy.
Mark Todd, marketing director at price comparison site Energyhelpline, says: ‘My fear is that government could be complicit in a scheme that enables suppliers to try to reduce demand at peak times by upping costs.
‘What are you going to do — let your children starve? How are you going to wait until 8 pm to feed them when they’re meant to be in bed by that time?”
According to the government, “Time-of-use tariffs will mean the option to use energy at a time when it is cheaper.” Can you see the deception here? If you don’t want to pay a higher rate for electricity when you normally would need to use it, you have the ‘option’ to shift your usage to a time when you don’t need to use it. What sort of ‘option’ is that?
We have already shown at this website that there are no benefits to smart meters for consumers through numerous articles, such as the following:
- Smart Meter Rollout a Waste of Money, According to Study
- ‘Smart’ Meters Have Failed and Were a Dumb Investment
- Consumers and Environment Unlikely to Benefit from Smart Meters, Confirms Latest Research
- Smart meters giving Victorian consumers ‘no benefit’ on electricity bills, auditor-general says
The ‘last gasp’ attempt by the smart grid industry to show some sort of benefit from ‘smart’ meters for consumers is to con them into thinking they can save money through time-of-use (TOU) rates, sometimes called by smart grid advocates as, what else, ‘smart’ pricing. The UK Money Mail investigation helps to reveal this scheme as a fraud. There are several reasons for this beyond what is discussed in the This is Money article:
Unlike commercial customers, residential consumers have little electrical load that they can successfully shift to so-called ‘off-peak’ periods. Even if they do shift some usage to the middle of the night, they still have considerable ‘base load’ which is subject to the higher peak rates, resulting in an overall higher energy bill.
Many vulnerable members of society are particularly hurt by TOU rates. Elderly people, stay-at-home parents, and those consumers using life-giving medical equipment should not be subjected to rates which penalize them for using electricity during the day.
Money that is ‘saved’ by somehow shifting usage to the middle of the night results in a lower quality of life and cannot be considered a benefit.
Because of the above, utilities should continue to offer electrical service to residential consumers at a fixed rate. It is the ‘fairest’ and simplest way to do business.
The developing trend towards TOU electrical rates in antithetical to the trends of other utility-related industries. For example, it use to be that long-distance phone call rates were much higher during ‘peak’ times. Years ago it was common for family members to call relatives late at night or on weekends. These TOU-type rates have all but disappeared.
Electric utility companies need to price their service to customers at a fixed rate that considers the fact that wholesale prices may change somewhat through the course of the day. There is no need to subject the customers to these price signals and to consequently negatively affect their lives. For the utilities, it is just the cost of providing an essential service to consumers. If they don’t like offering consumers electrical service at a fixed rate, then they shouldn’t be in that business.
Home energy efficiency improvements can truly reduce consumer usage of electricity. Consumers can purchase LED light bulbs and energy-efficient appliances as examples. You don’t need a ‘smart’ meter or TOU rates to know that these efforts will be successful in lowering your energy bill. ‘Smart’ meter deployments are just a giant consumer ‘rip-off ‘ and a fraud.
Primary Source Material for this Article
“The great smart meter rip-off: Energy giants will use devices to DOUBLE the cost of power when you need it most,” at http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-3322658/The-great-smart-meter-rip-UK-energy-giants-use-devices-DOUBLE-cost-power-need-most.html