Saturday, 29 November 2014

£250 energy saving from new 'black box'

A new hi-tech way that is said to cut energy bills by up to a fifth is about to go on the market. The idea is that a “black box” will turn appliances, such as fridges, on and off in response to fluctuations in the wholesale price of electricity, which occur continuously throughout the day.
The devices will be offered to households later this next month by a new firm, Tempus Energy, which claims that customers will be able to save 20pc on their electricity bills by using so-called “demand response” technology that remotely manages their home appliances.
The black boxes are installed in the customer’s home and communicate with “smart” appliances such as dishwashers and storage heaters. The boxes receive instructions from the energy company, which uses complex technology to trade wholesale energy during the day. These prices change on a half-hourly basis.
For example, when energy is at its cheapest, the company’s computer system sends a message to each black box instructing it to switch on people’s appliances. At times of peak energy use, wholesale electricity costs more and the black box is told to switch householders’ devices off. For example, a fridge-freezer may be temporarily turned off in order to cut costs.
Tempus Energy claimed that its technology could cut the average energy bill, currently £1,265 a year, by more than £250.

“Smart” appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines, that can be hooked up to a mobile phone, are already available in homes. Currently, they can be switched on and off remotely using a customer’s smartphone. The black box technology acts like the smartphone system but turns on the devices when electricity is at its cheapest.
As far as the bill payer is concerned, all he or she needs to do is to prepare, by making sure the dishwasher or washing machine is ready to go before bedtime, for example.
But could your television be automatically switched off during peak viewing hours? Tempus Energy says no. Certain tasks, such as making a cup of tea or watching a television programme, are “time-sensitive” and, therefore, cannot be switched off.

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