Big brother to switch off your fridge: Power giants to make millions – but you must pay for ‘sinister’ technology

  • Computer chips will take control of home appliances when energy is low
  • Sensors will detect spikes in demand for power and when grid struggles to meet it, will temporarily shut off appliances
  • Can shut down supply without warning – or your consent

Mail Online :: By Russell Myers and Martin Beckford :: 27 April 2013

Sensors in domestic appliances would check for spikes in demand that would risk blackouts and the devices would kick in and shut fridges, freezers and ovens down

Fridges and freezers in millions of British homes will automatically be switched off without the owner’s consent under a ‘Big Brother’ regime to reduce the strain on power stations.

The National Grid is demanding that all new appliances be fitted with sensors that could shut them down when the UK’s generators struggle to meet demand for electricity.

Electric ovens, air-conditioning units and washing machines will also be affected by the proposals, which are already backed by one of the European Union’s most influential energy bodies. They are pushing for the move as green energy sources such as wind farms are less predictable than traditional power stations, increasing the risk of blackouts.

Last night critics:

  • Condemned the principle that outside forces should be allowed to control appliances.
  • Warned the new sensors would add £40 to the average price of white goods for consumers.
  • Hit out at the energy giants who would make millions of pounds extra profit under the scheme, as it would save them from firing up reserve generators or paying  factories to switch off furnaces to quell demand. There is no suggestion that consumers will be compensated for having their appliances shut down.

The sensors will automatically detect spikes in demand for power that the grid is struggling to  meet, and temporarily shut off  the appliances.

Viktor Sundberg, energy strategy manager at Electrolux, warned: ‘This is Big Brother technology on a grand scale. The device inside the fridge or freezer will automatically change the way the appliance operates in response to the output of the grid.

‘This method of shutting down household appliances could to be carried out almost instantly, saving the energy companies millions because they won’t have to start up the turbines or pay huge industrial companies to cut production. Consumers are not benefiting at all and will be left paying more when they buy the appliances, as well as having their private goods controlled by outside forces.’

How the big brother technology works.jpg

David Davis, the former Tory leadership candidate, said: ‘There is a Big Brother element to this – and it also shows the energy suppliers passing down their incompetence to the customers. They should be supplying energy as customers need it, not the when they want to give it.

‘There is something Soviet about this. It’s a ridiculous idea and it should be opposed. I hope the Government puts its foot down.’

Nick Pickles, director of civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘This sinister plan smacks of over- the-top intrusion into people’s houses. It should be the choice of consumers  if they want to sign up to it, not slipped into our homes through fridges  and freezers.’

  1. We the people will not allow this big brother tactic, energy is all around, im sure there are other ways of making electric than you tell us.
    You are being rediculous and trying to send us people to the dark ages, will the queen have her electric cut? No.
    Stop trying to dictate, we will unite, you are pudhing us to the brink of revolution, which may suit you for a cull, we are aware of your agenda.
    I only have electric in this house, relying on economy 7, which is useless by the time evening comes anyway and through the day its so warm the foor has to be open.
    We will revolt and if you think you can control us think again!

  2. Beryl. No need to panic. Just don’t buy a new washing machine. Don’t think you need to rally the troops just yet. This diatribe was published in that leading pillar of journalistic truth called the Mail. Quite right to believe every word it says I don’t think. Calm down, dear.

  3. Look uo UK Full f what there up two, If not just keep watching the brainwashing TV whilst your allowed !