Big Brother Appliances

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABig brother chips will take control of home appliances – but you must pay for ‘sinister’ technology.

You may have heard that the UK is running out of power. We have plenty of energy sources, but because of the green agenda, we’re not allowed to use them.

For one thing, Gordon Brown when he was Prime Minister signed a binding agreement in the EU to commit this country to “renewable sources” for energy, and on top of that, the EU has demanded we close down our coal- and gas-fired energy plants.

On 28 June 2007, the day after Gordon Brown had become Prime Minister, Ed Miliband (who could soon be Prime Minister if Labour is voted in at the next General Election) was promoted to the Cabinet. Less than a year later he was promoted to Secretary of State for the newly-created Department of Energy and Climate Change in a Cabinet reshuffle.

homerThen Miliband announced that the British government would go beyond the former agreement, and oblige itself to cut greenhouse emissions by 80% by 2050, rather than the 60% as previously announced.

In April 2009, Miliband announced to the House of Commons a change to the government’s policy on coal-fired power stations, refusing applications for any new coal-fired power stations UNLESS they could capture and bury 25% of the emissions they produce immediately and 100% of emissions by 2025. (But the technology for this is still in the early stage of development and would cost billions to implement. See their own admission on this website.)

This, a government source commented, effectively represented “a complete rewrite of UK energy policy for the future”. It is also completely impossible technically and economically. Thus, we are set to have black-outs and power-cuts in a few years that will rival any incompetent Third World nation.

Impossible Task

Replacing our power plants with wind farms and solar panels is an impossible task, as we already know, and in addition the wind is unreliable, and we have no way of storing the energy that wind turbines produce (if any).

So unreliable are wind turbines that they are one of the most inefficient means of producing electricity ever devised. Indeed, the amount of power they generate is so derisory that, even now, when we have built 3,500 turbines, the average amount of power we get from ALL of them combined is no more than what we get from one single medium-size, gas-fired power station, built at a fraction of the cost.

Conserving Energy

The answer to this shortfall in energy (coupled with increased demand due to a massive rise in population) should have been new nuclear power plants or similar power stations.  Instead, the proposal is to cut off the supply when demand peaks!

This is a bit like saying we have little water, due to leaking reservoirs and broken pipes, but instead of committing to maintenance and repairs, we will turn off the taps in people’s homes to conserve the supply. (But silly me, this is exactly what happens as soon as the sun comes out – we have a hose-pipe ban!)

Thus, we hear of a new green plan for sensors that will detect spikes in demand for power, and can shut down the supply without warning – and without your consent!

Sensors in domestic appliances would check for spikes in demand that would risk blackouts and the devices would kick in and shut fridges, freezers and ovens down. Fridges and freezers in millions of British homes will automatically be switched off without the owner’s consent under a ‘Big Brother’ regime to reduce the strain on power stations.

New ‘Smart’ Appliances

The National Grid – a private company that made £2.6billion profit in 2011 – is demanding that ALL new appliances be fitted with sensors that could shut them down when the UK’s generators struggle to meet demand for electricity.

Electric ovens, air-conditioning units and washing machines will be affected by the proposals, which are already backed by one of the European Union’s most influential energy bodies. They are pushing for the move as green energy sources such as wind farms are less predictable than traditional power stations, increasing the risk of blackouts.

Economic Pound Sterling bulbLast night critics condemned the principle that outside forces should be allowed to control appliances.

The compulsory sensors will also add to the price of new appliances.

Energy giants would make millions “saving energy” instead of providing it at peak times, as it would save them from firing up reserve generators or paying factories to switch off furnaces to quell demand.

There is no suggestion that consumers will be compensated for having their appliances shut down.

Big Brother

Viktor Sundberg, energy strategy manager at Electrolux, warned:

This is Big Brother technology on a grand scale. The device inside the fridge or freezer will automatically change the way the appliance operates in response to the output of the grid. This method of shutting down household appliances could 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.’

David Davis, the former Tory leadership candidate, said: ‘There is a Big Brother element to this – and it also shows the energy suppliers passing down their incompetence to the customers. They should be supplying energy as customers need it, not when they want to give it. It’s a ridiculous idea and it should be opposed. I hope the Government puts its foot down.’

Nick Pickles, director of civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘This sinister plan smacks of over-the-top intrusion into people’s houses. It should be the choice of consumers if they want to sign up to it, not slipped into our homes through fridges and freezers.’

No compensation

The National Grid is required by law to balance supply and demand in the network. But energy is failing. The solution proposed by the National Grid, along with its counterparts in 34 European countries, is to install the controversial devices.

Presently, the National Grid can shut down power to industrial firms to balance the grid. They are compensated in such cases, but there is no proposal to pay consumers if they face similar interruptions.

The sensors could also be used if supply of electricity outstripped demand, putting power stations in danger of ‘tripping’ and shutting down temporarily. If the frequency of the supply nudged towards 52Hz, the devices could make fridges become cooler, increasing demand and balancing out the system.

The authorities insist appliances would only cut out for a few seconds, and that consumers will be able to set acceptable temperature ranges so fridges would not be switched off if they were already warm, and therefore food would remain fresh. But if ovens are switched off temporarily, it could affect the cooking time of meals.

Smart Meters

The move comes on top of separate initiatives to put ‘smart meters’ for gas and electricity in all British homes by 2019, giving energy firms real-time information on individual households’ usage.

The appliance chip proposals were contained in a 63-page document drawn up by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E). It has been agreed by the EU-wide body of energy regulators and was sent to the European Commission on March 27.

It is set to deliver its verdict on the proposals within three months, and they could then go to the European Parliament to be turned into legislation that would force manufacturers to install the monitors.

In its proposal, ENTSO-E stressed that shutting off appliances would only be a last resort, but admitted it could happen. It argued: ‘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.’

smart meterSmart Meters that monitor the usage of energy customers are being hailed as energy-saving devices, too. But what is to prevent Energy Companies in the future penalising what they consider to be “inappropriate use” in the same way as appliance sensors?

Quoting from one website that is trying to withstand the move to a “Global Energy Monitoring Grid”:

“There are many serious problems presented by web-enabling our electricity, gas and water supplies and turning our homes into wireless, network-attached nodes on the Internet. From documented (and suppressed) health risks, unwarranted privacy violations and safety issues to the loss of sovereignty & control of our property in our own homes and much higher bills, the Smart Grid will cause far more problems than it purports to solve.”

Nonetheless, driven by the delusion of “saving the planet” from carbon emissions, these technologies are sure to be forced upon us sooner or later.



One thought on “Big Brother Appliances

  1. In the summer of 1975 I read Fat of the Land by John and Sally Seymour, then all but unheard of but later regarded as an environmentalist crank. (I’m not an eco-freak, an environmentalist or, I would say, a crank).

    The book was about living a self sufficient life on 5 acres in Suffolk. But the back flavour, the last impressions I still have, are a sense of what we trust in as society will change, will fail. Do not depend on supermarkets and the food supply chain (Tesco et al) because it will fail, as will electricity and oil supplies etc.,

    At the time of reading I was a young, high flying executive, son of a wealthy father and public school educated. The right stuff, so to speak. Yet this book rattled me. It made me very insecure indeed. My spirit within me was very uneasy; I depended on a fat salary cheque each month, and was not pleased with some of the things I did to earn it.

    Almost forty years later, farm work features in my CV, self sufficiency gardening and relieving our dependence on the grid and Tescos. At somewhat over sixty now, my wife and I are coming into our own. We have alternative, well almost everything, and when the power goes off in this rural area about 15 times a year, we just live life a different way. We don’t have five acres, our entire plot is less than a tenth of an acre, yet the volume of food produced is astounding. Far more than we need.

    You see, as a long time Christian man, if I say I’m depending on Christ Jesus for my provision, and the power supply fails for five days (not unusual) it shows me I’m not actually depending on Him but on N-power. Too simple? Yes, perhaps it is. Try this instead. The metropolitan Christian or church goer has little concept of seasons, or the agricultural metaphor Jesus so often employed. He has no concept of dependence on harvests (supermarket shopping means we may have Christmas fare all the year round). The harvest is crucial, a carefully chosen word, to our survival. Our Lord has never let us down, although last year’s rains made life very difficult. Now that’s depending on Jesus and not depending on a salary, or N-Power. My wife and I do earn money, it’s absolutely necessary, but the job is not the centre of our existence.

    Big brother doesn’t mean much to us, nor should it. But Christ Jesus is all.


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