Household power to be switched off by remote

Anything is better than building new power stations. Building a new power station was once seen as a great advance and a public service. Now it is seen as something to avoid by any means possible. In an age of unprecedented abundance we are told we must cut back on everything.

At least this is proposed as a voluntary scheme. In California they want to do it compulsorily. But I can't see it having much take-up. Who is it going to appeal to if your power gets cut off when you most need it? Insane

TVs, airconditioners and fridges could be switched off remotely by power companies during peak times under plans to rein in households' demand for electricity.

The option is among measures being considered as part of a national review of the management of domestic power use.

The Ministerial Council on Energy has initiated the Australian Energy Market Commission review in response to the nation's increasing demand for power.

The council is seeking ways to ease the demand for electricity during extremely cold nights and exceptionally hot days, to avoid the need for energy companies to build more power stations.

AEMC chairman John Pierce said the investment in infrastructure to guarantee electricity supply during peak periods was contributing to rising power bills.

He said the review was looking at options whereby power companies would remotely turn off appliances for a set period, in return for a lower bill.

Those signing on to such a scheme could see their airconditioner or fridge turned off for 30 minutes during a peak period every five hours.

When the airconditioner or fridge came back on, a neighbour's airconditioner or fridge would be turned off, resulting in an easing of electricity demand during a peak, Mr Pierce said.

He said homes would be required to be fitted with smart meters to allow energy companies and households to communicate electronically.

He said alternative options to manage power were necessary if families were to avoid further price rises.

"The plasma TVs and airconditioners are the obvious things, but a lot more people also now have pool pumps and larger refrigeration systems, all of which are increasing demand for power," Mr Pierce said.

"This option is one way to help electricity suppliers manage peak demand, while also offering a cheaper price for customers."

AEMC is seeking comment on its proposals until the end of the month. A public forum will be held in December. A final report will be sent to the Federal Government in September next year.


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