The Anonymous Widower

Should We Have Unit Pricing For Energy?

Go back thirty years or more and you paid for what you used with energy.  I’m not sure if you paid a standing charge, akin to a telephone line rental, but you knew exactly where you stood. If you used more electricity you paid more money.

Now it is not as simple and to be cynical, I think the energy companies like it that way, as customers find it hard to compare prices.

So when EDF suggests going back to simple pricing, as is stated in this report, do I think it is a good thing?

Of course I do!

But there is something we need even more urgently and that is a smart meter, so we can see how much electricity and gas we are using.

I haven’t seen any reports yet, but a smart meter connected to a smart phone and then linked back to smart heating controls, must save a lot of money.  Just think of this simple case.  Do you switch your central heating on and off, at the most optimum times.  Without information you’re just fishing in the dark.

But I doubt I’ll ever see unit pricing and smart metering, as the energy companies will do all they can to delay its implementation.

June 15, 2013 - Posted by | News, World | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. These are already available and supplied to many users. I have a device at home provided by my energy supplier that tells me how much energy I am using, what it is currently costing/hour and, if I wanted to set it up, how much I have spent to date. The system uses a simple current transformer that comes in two parts and clips around one of the electricty meter tails. I has a short range transmitter to send the current usage at regular intervals to a portable data capture and display unit. There is no similar device for the oil; only a transmitter for the oil level.
    I have 4Kw of PVs on the roof, and I am looking at systems to use that power when the sun shines. By switching on equipment (e.g. immersion heater) when the PVs are producing sufficient power, I could get free hot water and still be paid the feed-in tariff!
    There are also systems that delay the switching on of refrigerators when there are many local users with refrigerators running to avoid the need to turn on additional generation. As refrigerators run for only a short time, the delay is not significant for the refrigerator temperature. Although this doesn’t directly affect the cost to users, it does affect generation costs that could be passed on to users. This system is not implemented where I live, but no doubt it will be rolled out in due course.
    In the past we all paid a standing charge and a price for each unit of electricity (or cu ft of gas) used. Those with slot meters (i.e. the poor) were ripped off by high unit charges, but did not pay a standing charge.
    These days with modern heating control systems, it is easiest not to turn off the heating in summer, as the boiler will only run when there is a demand from a thermostat. Old, now obsolete systems, heated the water in the boiler to the temperature set on the boiler without regard for whether or not there was a demand. Consequently with these systems the boiler would cycle on and off even in hot weather. These systems also had no control over the temperature of stored hot water; simply allowing it to reach boiler temperature.

    Comment by John Wright | June 15, 2013 | Reply

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