Sunday, 28 June 2009

Smart meters 'dumb idea'

Smart meters are a mad idea when better power savings could be achieved using the existing "ripple control" for hot water heating, according to power industry consultant Bryan Leyland.

"Everything that could be done with smart metering can be done more effectively and much, much cheaper by taking full advantage of existing ripple-control system," Mr Leyland said.

Putting in smart meters would cost many millions of dollars and would be less effective than ripple control.

Customers would ultimately pay for smart meters, which can cost hundreds of dollars each.

"In the end the consumer always pays [for that]," Mr Leyland said.

But the potential power savings would probably be small because it would rely on people for example doing their washing at 2am to save "20 cents" on a load, he said.

Ripple control allows power companies to send a pulse down the line and turn off storage hot water heaters, which would be a much better way of reducing power use at times of peak demand.

Ripple control can be used to turn off water heating over whole suburbs.

As demand rises, more expensive power stations come into the system to provide electricity, adding tens or hundreds of millions to the cost of power over a year, Mr Leyland said.

"We have been the best in the world in demand-side management," he said. "We invented it."

These days power companies seemed scared to use ripple control, Mr Leyland said, even when they had the right to turn all domestic power off, for example if the Cook Strait cable failed.
full article

No comments: