An article on smart meters sparked my interest that I thought would be worth looking at more closely in a blog, given that this is a Government and industry sponsored initiative that I believe isn’t in the best interests of consumers.

This technology has been promoted as a way of ending estimated bills and giving households real-time information on how much energy they are using.  However, it will also allow firms to introduce a raft of new tariffs that will hit peak time users of electricity and gas with higher charges.

These ‘time-of-use’ tariffs will reward those who use appliances at off-peak times with low rates and the apparent intention is to even out demand over a 24-hour period.

However, the move towards various tariffs raises the prospect of surge pricing during holidays such as Christmas and Easter when millions of households are using appliances simultaneously.

Industry sources believe that the energy industry will quickly move beyond a two-tier peak and off-peak system to prices that are demand driven every 30 minutes, and this is the hidden agenda behind the push for smart meters.

Users can expect the price of electricity to soar when solar and wind generated power is low.

Smaller energy providers have already launched ‘time-of-day’ tariffs where prices vary between periods of high and low demand, and charge up to 5 times more for electricity used in early evening than it does for overnight usage.

Introductory discounted tariffs are also being used as an incentive to entice consumers to switch to smart meters, which cannot be adapted for other suppliers.

Smart meters are not yet compulsory but suppliers must at least offer every household a smart meter by 2020, and more of these tariffs are expected to flood the market as the rollout of smart meters continues.

These time-of-day tariffs will penalise households, with higher charges likely to be applied in the mornings when people are taking showers and getting ready to go to work and vice-versa when they cook and heat their homes in the evenings.

The Government has expressed a desire to simplify the energy market, yet this hidden agenda will do the complete opposite and is yet another ‘Big Brother’ initiative designed to monitor and exert control over the masses and penalise users who will ultimately have no choice once this is implemented en masse.

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