Saturday, January 28, 2012

The latest "green" fiasco

The Daily Mail is reporting on problems with fitting "smart" meters in domestic and commercial premises. The nub, however, seems to be that electricity companies are jumping the gun and fitting their own versions of the technology, without waiting for a standardised design, the specification for which will not be announced until March.

It seems that lack of inter-operability between meter types means that rival companies can only use their own technology and not others, requiring in some cases the meters to be replaced when electricity suppliers are changed.

This false start, however, does not affect the government timetable, which is still determined to have 30million electricity meters and 23 million gas meters replaced by the 2019, at a cost of £11.7 billion to energy customers, recovered through their bills.

But, with there being an estimated four million "non-compliant" meters fitted by 2014, it seems that the energy companies themselves are needlessly racking up costs, and adding delay, and these will all have to be replaced.

Whether the project will ever get completed, though, is anyone's guess. Consumer groups are still warning that these devices will allow suppliers to cut off energy remotely so, by the time this current mess and the implications of having a smart meter percolate down, consumer resistance may stiffen.

In the US, we are already seeing organised opposition, with a UK branch also opening up and fronting claims that the radiation from smart meters is carcinogenic. All we need is for the green groups to come out against these meters, and the farce will be truly complete. But of they don't, the hackers may finish the job.