Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - London calling

Saw a report saying that the energy firms want to be able to switch off high drain electrical devises (electric car chargers) due to the distribution system not being designed for the significant additional demands of home charging.

so on the one hand electric car buying is encouraged but the distribution system won’t cope with demand, crazy situation...

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - daveyjp

Links to reports are better than anecdotes, I suspect this is being asked for to cover emergency situations and would never be used as solutions would be found, probably using pricing.

It would also need a metering system which enabled houses to be remotely disconnected in such circumstances, smart meters being installed now don't allow that.

Edited by daveyjp on 19/09/2020 at 09:49

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - London calling

https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/electric-cars/353209/energy-firms-want-right-switch-electric-cars-charging-home

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Sofa Spud

In the town where I live there have been a few occasions when all the garages are out of diesel.

And during the fuel protests some years back it was almost impossible to get petrol or diesel for several days.

Electric cars are mostly charged overnight, when there's a surplus of electicity generation. This will continue to be the case with the growth of renewables, since the wind blows just as much as night as during the day. It's a different story with solar, of course, unless you take home batteries into account.

Edited by Sofa Spud on 19/09/2020 at 09:58

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Terry W

Over the years since privatisation spare capacity in the network to cover possible peak demand has reduced significantly.

Private sector do not want to invest in capacity that is mostly never used. When in the public sector the government could focus on power delivery needs not a P&L account.

For larger business and industrial users a significant part of the charge paid was related to their level of peak demand during the winter months.

An organisation I worked for had back up generating capacity to guarantee service resilience. They would try to anticipate peak demand periods (eg: November, dark, cold, 6.00pm) and switch on the generators so that their peak demand was minimised.

So I am not surprised that the energy companies are looking to find ways to shed load although I suspect this would apply to higher level industrial and commercial users and not general public.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Engineer Andy

In the town where I live there have been a few occasions when all the garages are out of diesel.

And during the fuel protests some years back it was almost impossible to get petrol or diesel for several days.

Electric cars are mostly charged overnight, when there's a surplus of electicity generation. This will continue to be the case with the growth of renewables, since the wind blows just as much as night as during the day. It's a different story with solar, of course, unless you take home batteries into account.

The wind is a highly variable source of energy and cannot be relied upon to pick up the slack. In winter, when electricity demand is already at its highest, useable solar energy is also at its lowest and wind power also reduces.

The other problem is that wind turbines do not like high wind levels and have to be stopped, which affects them in autumn and spring when wind energy is plentiful.

Imagine then there being 50x the EVs requiring overnight charging to now, with hardly any fossil fuel or nuclear power plants online to make sure demand overnight is satisfied when there's too little or too much wind.

Add to that the law that comes in soon that no newbuild properties (presumably homes - much worse if it includes commercial buildings as well) will be allowed to install gas boilers and will have to use ground or (most likely) air source heat pumps. Where's all the extra electricity to serve them coming from, especially in the evenings?

We've already discussed on other threads the scarcity of battery materials, and that's when EVs only account for 1-2% of all vehicles on the road in western countries.

We need to look at the bigger picture here.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Sofa Spud

If all the energy saved by not having to refine crude oil into petrol and diesel could be used to charge EVs instead, arguably there'd be little or no increase in energy demand.

Oil refining uses a lot of electricity and also natural gas as well as gas that's a by-product of refining. Even if that natural gas was diverted to combined cycle gas-fired power stations, it wouldn't increase energy consumption or pollution because it was being burned before in oil refineries to produce heat anyway.

Although you get several times as much energy back from fuel as is used in the refining process, that's cancelled by the poor thermal efficiency of internal combustion engines - between 25% and 35%. With an electric vehicle, something like 90% of the energy stored in the battery actually goes to driving the vehicle although there's some loss in the charging process too.

Edited by Sofa Spud on 20/09/2020 at 13:04

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Bromptonaut

https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/electric-cars/353209/energy-firms-want-right-switch-electric-cars-charging-home

That link doesn't bear out the OP's assertion that the powers sought are contrary to the aim of moving to electric cars. I suspect another example of the phenomenon I've commented on before where, like grief or major change at work, people are at an early stage (denial) in the process of working through that change.

My read of it is that Smart Meter technology in its next iteration might have the capacity the control individual household circuits where those supply high demand devices. The operators of the National Grid and the generation companies would like the authority to use that facility where they need to shed load to prevent the grid from failing. This would be an emergency measure to prevent widespread cut offs as happened last year when two generators failed at same time. Electric cars are quoted as an example of high demand devices along with electric central heating.

If your car is on charge and it drops out for an hour in the evening peak it'll still be fully charged tomorrow morning.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Engineer Andy

https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/electric-cars/353209/energy-firms-want-right-switch-electric-cars-charging-home

That link doesn't bear out the OP's assertion that the powers sought are contrary to the aim of moving to electric cars. I suspect another example of the phenomenon I've commented on before where, like grief or major change at work, people are at an early stage (denial) in the process of working through that change.

My read of it is that Smart Meter technology in its next iteration might have the capacity the control individual household circuits where those supply high demand devices. The operators of the National Grid and the generation companies would like the authority to use that facility where they need to shed load to prevent the grid from failing. This would be an emergency measure to prevent widespread cut offs as happened last year when two generators failed at same time. Electric cars are quoted as an example of high demand devices along with electric central heating.

If your car is on charge and it drops out for an hour in the evening peak it'll still be fully charged tomorrow morning.

Shed-loading is rather a blunt instrument, given that it cannot tell between the person using their hob/oven to cook food, boil a kettle, use a hairdrier or charge their EV.

I can't see how any meter would be able to differentiate - only the max load, which surely depends on the number of occupants and what they are doing than how crutial the specific devices that use electricity are. What happens if someone on home medical care has equipment that takes them 'over the top' of their allowance?

The terrible effects of shed-loading or similar power cuts are shown by the current situation in California, which has no excuse given they've known of their problems for decades.

My sources say that 'smart' (they aren't) meters are being advocated mainly so that variable charging can be implemented at peak times (via the back door) and so that non-payers can be disconnected without the need for a call-out.

Smart meters are a waste of time - all you need to do is know which devices at home or in your workplace use the most power: it's hardly difficult - you either read the manual, check online or make reasonable judgements based on the type of equipment, e.g.

Oven, fridge/freezer, elec hob, incandecent lights, air conditioning and larger forced air ventilation systems, commercial pumps, items with large motors, computer server systems (including cooling for them), photocopiers, electric heating, devices with significant heating elements, etc, etc, in addition to charging and EV.

Look at the kW (or multiply the Amps by 230V) rating and multiply that by the hours normally working per day then the kWh elec rate.

Or connect a meter to each device and measure each as they are used.

The main way we can save on electricity (especially if we can't afford to buy new products all the time) is to not leave lights on when we aren't in a room for a reasonable time (more than 30 sec to 2 mins), don't leave items on standby if not needed for operation and switch items off if you can when finished. Most people already have switched to low energy lightbulbs.

It's also pointless buying a low-powered device if it doesn't meet the needs of the owner or the high replacemnt cost means you don't save money over its life - better to replace it when it cannot be repaired or doesn't work well any more. The same goes for gas boilers.

Far better (and more cost-effective) to improve your home or office building's thermal efficiency and/or fit solar thermal or PV panels to generate hot water or electricity for the grid yourself.

Edited by Engineer Andy on 19/09/2020 at 13:37

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Bromptonaut

Shed-loading is rather a blunt instrument, given that it cannot tell between the person using their hob/oven to cook food, boil a kettle, use a hairdrier or charge their EV.

I can't see how any meter would be able to differentiate - only the max load, which surely depends on the number of occupants and what they are doing than how crutial the specific devices that use electricity are. What happens if someone on home medical care has equipment that takes them 'over the top' of their allowance?

The terrible effects of shed-loading or similar power cuts are shown by the current situation in California, which has no excuse given they've known of their problems for decades.

The article posted by the OP and quoted in my post explains what is proposed. The suggestion is that the next generation of smart meters will be able to selectively turn off high demand devices. I think this means devices like the dedicated car charger or electric central heating which will be on separate circuits - as cookers or storage heaters are now. Presumably they are on separate spurs as far back as the meter. That or the meter talks to a 'smart' consumer unit.

Your sources may well be right about smart meters and pricing. We've long had the capacity to offer variable price electricity at night and, in some areas, at other times too.

There are people on this forum who already have variable pricing. Whether it will be mandatory at some future date is a moot point. The probability is that tariffs will incentivise us to swap until only a few remain on legacy prices.

The electricity companies have over the years reduced physical disconnections for debt to nugatory levels. That of course means people self disconnect because they cannot afford to top up. Smart meters just make the move to pre-payment easier.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Engineer Andy

Shed-loading is rather a blunt instrument, given that it cannot tell between the person using their hob/oven to cook food, boil a kettle, use a hairdrier or charge their EV.

I can't see how any meter would be able to differentiate - only the max load, which surely depends on the number of occupants and what they are doing than how crutial the specific devices that use electricity are. What happens if someone on home medical care has equipment that takes them 'over the top' of their allowance?

The terrible effects of shed-loading or similar power cuts are shown by the current situation in California, which has no excuse given they've known of their problems for decades.

The article posted by the OP and quoted in my post explains what is proposed. The suggestion is that the next generation of smart meters will be able to selectively turn off high demand devices. I think this means devices like the dedicated car charger or electric central heating which will be on separate circuits - as cookers or storage heaters are now. Presumably they are on separate spurs as far back as the meter. That or the meter talks to a 'smart' consumer unit.

Your sources may well be right about smart meters and pricing. We've long had the capacity to offer variable price electricity at night and, in some areas, at other times too.

There are people on this forum who already have variable pricing. Whether it will be mandatory at some future date is a moot point. The probability is that tariffs will incentivise us to swap until only a few remain on legacy prices.

The electricity companies have over the years reduced physical disconnections for debt to nugatory levels. That of course means people self disconnect because they cannot afford to top up. Smart meters just make the move to pre-payment easier.

Having an utility company turn off your home devicee etc remotely on their say so - how very Orwellian. Sounds like it could eaily be 'modified' to be used a-la cancel culture is at the moment with certain opinion by banks, payment processors and online services.

No firm or government service has ever shown enough competence or decent ethics to warrant such authoritarian intrusion into our lives.

Besides, I seriously doubt if the public would accept that sort of 'control' and the chances of them being hacked by criminals or hostile foreign agencies, never mind yoofs 'having a larf'.

This sort of measure is almost never for the benefit of the people. It just isn't warranted in my view.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Brit_in_Germany

Shed-loading or load-shedding? The former sounds like someone filling their shed up with junk.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - mcb100

Requesting the right to do it, having the right to do it and actually doing it are three very different and widely spaced objectives.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - gordonbennet

Quite obvious this is to come.

Factories hospitals govt buildings etc are priority energy users, this is the obvious scenario when the woefully inadequate generating network isn't able to cope as the time for the allegedly green transport switchover approaches.

The less important plebs, us, are just going to have to put up with it, by then there'll be little objection by the time the current governance by fear (climate/covid, anyones guess what's next) has had another decade of crushing the independent souls from an already rapidly cowed and compliant population still believing all the msm machine tells them, judging by how things are going our fellow citizens will be demanding ever more measures to make their lives borg like...do they really belive giving up living in order to technically stay alive is worth a bean.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - bathtub tom

I recall reading that Porto Sancho (an island off Madeira) was trialling using electric cars charged by solar power feeding power back into the grid overnight.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - daveyjp

I was in Porto Santo a few years ago (second visit, first about 10 years ago) and in a few years all cars will be electric only, all electric generated locally and fed back to the grid if required.

However the island is only about 7 miles x 3 miles (the airport runway is almost the full width of the island, longer than Madeira) and if you rent a car you can travel on every road in half a day!

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Terry W

I am fairly sure the smart meters will ultimately be used to vary the price in 30 minute time slots based on overall demand and generating capacity.

I think it unlikely that smart meters will switch individual appliances on and off - this would require a infrasructure to be installed in the home. Switching off all power unilaterally would not be a vote winner.

More likely individual appliances will increasingly be wi-fi connected. Owners will be able to select run criteria via a smartphone app. Likely to apply mainly to things which are inherently time flexible - eg: overnight EV charging, dishwasher, washing machine.

Depending on the accuracy of energy demand forecast algorithms it may even allow central heating and hot water to be powered up flexibly - rather than all systems typically timed for (say) 06.00-0730, is may be better to spread power load between (say) 04.00-08.00 depending on load and weather.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - alan1302

The less important plebs, us, are just going to have to put up with it,

Why don't you do something about it rather than moaning about it?

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - gordonbennet

Why don't you do something about it rather than moaning about it?

I am dear, i'm part of the resistance in my own way (which i won't discuss here with the likes of you) ,its those who believe religiously all they are told by a bought and paid for mainstream media, doing the bidding of Lord knows whom, following the narrative as enthusiastically as only zealots can and willing ever more freedoms to be taken from them that are the problem.

No i won't be having a smart meter, and no i won't be doing as i'm told (buy Diesel they were told yesterday and here's the cheap VED to tempt you along) spending a years salary on an electric car, fuel taxes for which will rise massively once there's enough ICE cars scrapped and the fuel tax take plummets....thats where your smart meter comes in by the way, charging your car up will have the appropriate tax added, did anyone seriously think the cheap as chips to drive electric car bonanza would last?

Edited by gordonbennet on 19/09/2020 at 22:15

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Oli rag
Electric car use is still in its infancy here, but there is a lot of new tech either already here or on its way which will help the grid cope with demand.

Car to grid systems using smart 2 way inverter chargers are in use in other parts of the world. The cars battery charge level is controlled and if needed some of the battery energy can be fed back into the grid to help with demand.

There’s also large battery storage being used, for example Tesla built a large one in record time in Australia to stop regular power cuts.

Liquid air storage is another new tech which is working in prototype form and is about to be scaled up.

To anyone who has any interest or worries about our ability to cope with power requirements in the future, I’d thoroughly recommend Robert Llewelyn’s fully charged channel on YouTube, it covers all of the above and lots more beside. I was very sceptical of the grids ability to cope, but so much tech is now available for adoption that it looks like we will manage in the future.
Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - alan1302

Why don't you do something about it rather than moaning about it?

I am dear, i'm part of the resistance in my own way (which i won't discuss here with the likes of you) ,its those who believe religiously all they are told by a bought and paid for mainstream media, doing the bidding of Lord knows whom, following the narrative as enthusiastically as only zealots can and willing ever more freedoms to be taken from them that are the problem.

No i won't be having a smart meter, and no i won't be doing as i'm told (buy Diesel they were told yesterday and here's the cheap VED to tempt you along) spending a years salary on an electric car, fuel taxes for which will rise massively once there's enough ICE cars scrapped and the fuel tax take plummets....thats where your smart meter comes in by the way, charging your car up will have the appropriate tax added, did anyone seriously think the cheap as chips to drive electric car bonanza would last?

You do go on and on about how the mainstream media do others biddings...yet don't know who they are doing for, won't explain how all the media could be controlled by the same people or even give a reason for it. You sounds very much like someone that likes a conspiracy just because you think it makes you feel like you are not following what the government want you to think/do. All very odd.

And anyway......if you think they have all this power maybe you should wonder if what you are doing is actually what they want you to do ;-)

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Andrew-T

Factories hospitals govt buildings etc are priority energy users, this is the obvious scenario when the woefully inadequate generating network isn't able to cope as the time for the allegedly green transport switchover approaches.

In the absence of a major failure the generating network is not inadequate - at least not until millions of EV users expect to be able to draw on it heavily and simultaneously. A government which wants drivers to convert to EV must allow for that in their plans. That could be done by insisting on recharging overnight, but that won't satisfy drivers used to taking 5 minutes at a filling station.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - madf

Factories hospitals govt buildings etc are priority energy users, this is the obvious scenario when the woefully inadequate generating network isn't able to cope as the time for the allegedly green transport switchover approaches.

In the absence of a major failure the generating network is not inadequate - at least not until millions of EV users expect to be able to draw on it heavily and simultaneously. A government which wants drivers to convert to EV must allow for that in their plans. That could be done by insisting on recharging overnight, but that won't satisfy drivers used to taking 5 minutes at a filling station.

After Covid is sorted - probably 2023 - no-one with an IQ>100 is likely to trust anything a Government says about the future.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Falkirk Bairn

We have a problem - it is likely to bite us with any prolonged period of High Pressure - Nov to Feb but it could be earlier /later.

We have ageing electricity sources - Nuclear is falling due to end of life closures, Coal due to Green concerns. Essentially we depend on Gas to produce reliable power and intermittent Wind - everything else is trivial in terms of capacity - Hydro, biomass etc

North Sea gas is winding down, new fields yes but old fields closing faster. Imports already from Norway, Russia +Holland as well as tanker deliveries Qatar etc . We have very little storage for gas - a few days. Contrast to 1970s coal when there was often 6 months supply at collieries & on-site at the power stations.

15 years ago

Scotland burns less than 5,000MW even in depths of winter - Nuclear was 2,000, Coal was 2 stations 3,500, Hydro added something 1500MW ( Peak Power -often less at it cannot be sustained) Wind - something over 6,000MW.

Today Nuclear 1200MW, Coal 0, Gas 500MW, Hydro (short term peak 1500) , Wind anything from ZERO to 8,000MW = unreliable so hence the problem.

England & Wales differ from Scotland but essentially the same issues - apart from Gas there has been no investment 24x7 power availability - it's all been wind, solar and small biomass.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Zippy123

Part of the problem is that profits on investments that generators are allowed to make are being capped. Why invest hundreds of millions on a new plant where you are only guaranteed low returns when there are better oppertunities for returns elsewhere.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Sofa Spud

Yesterday, at mid-day, almost half the UK's electicity was coming from clean renewables - wind, solar and a tiny bit of non-pumped hydro. So even though renewables are variable, they are producing a significant proportion of our electricity and that will grow over the next few years.

Grid scale battery storage is the latest piece of the green jigsaw and large battery units are already in operation around the world now, including some in the UK.

Here's one . . .

www.edie.net/news/8/UK-s-largest-battery-storage-f.../

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Terry W

Total UK demand has fallen for the last 10 years, and is much the same as 30 years ago.

Reasons - loss of manufacturing capacity (China), LED lighting, other efficiency measures.

I agree with Zippy - energy companies understandably do not want to build spare capacity unless they can make a decent return.

We also continue to assume that technology will not advance from where we now are and the the EV revolution will all happen in a couple of years. The former assumption is very questionable, and the latter really bears no scrutiny!

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Andrew-T

We also continue to assume that technology will not advance from where we now are - very questionable, ...

Just as we have nearly always done - but certain well-known laws of physics may be very hard to find a way round. The other point is that when projections are made, they either assume an established trend will continue, or make new optimistic assumptions.

As an example, things have gone very quiet in recent years on the hydrogen-fusion front. In theory having a small tame sun could generate a lot of power, but keeping it contained seems to be tricky.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - alan1302

s an example, things have gone very quiet in recent years on the hydrogen-fusion front. In theory having a small tame sun could generate a lot of power, but keeping it contained seems to be tricky.

ITER is being built as we speak in France and some serious money being put into it.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - focussed

s an example, things have gone very quiet in recent years on the hydrogen-fusion front. In theory having a small tame sun could generate a lot of power, but keeping it contained seems to be tricky.

ITER is being built as we speak in France and some serious money being put into it.

ITER is an experiment in the feasibility of fusion power. It is not intended to produce electricity.

The present goal is to get it to produce more energy than it consumes.

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Falkirk Bairn

Wind & solar does not work in the depths of a cold winter spell - no wind and daylight hours limited.

Your example of yesterday was a sunny day, reasonably warm all over the country, not a working day for most people, much of the country still not at work and there was a wind.

Comeback & tell me in the depths of a cold spell when there is no wind & little daylight, people back at work and homes have heating on most of the day ...................

Today4pm wind is providing 2.8GW from 3800 windmills - we need 50GW of reliable power to cover winter peaks. Installed wind capacity in Scotland is from zero to 8,000 but unreliable as the zero confirms.

The former Longannet coal generating plant gave 2,600MW for 45 years with 99+% availability.

A week of power cuts in the depths of winter could kill more OAPs than CV19 - remember gas central heating needs ignition & a pump

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric - Ethan Edwards

Heres the thing about solar power panels on your roof. I have the usual number giving me 3kw which I feed into the net. Less any I use if course. Now the inverter stops working and shuts the feed to the net off if the nets power is off. So you cut my power and you stop me adding power to the net. Making the power shortage worse. Personally I think every public building and every new build should be required to have pv panels. Its free clean energy going to waste. Probably would give the uk infrastructure some much needed spare capacity.

 

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