Inspector’s gadget


One moment the government is announcing that every home will have a smart meter fitted by 2014. The next day there is a man knocking on the door to fit one here at Southfork. I am impressed by the speed at which policy becomes practice.

An hour later we have entered the digital eco age.

There is now a little gadget in the kitchen that tells us how much electricity we are using, how much it costs us each minute, how much CO2 we are generating, when there are peaks and troughs and whether or not I feel like a cup of tea.

Well actually I can’t have a cup of tea, whether I want one or not, because I soon as I switch the kettle on the helpful warning light on the meter goes from green to amber. Or even red, if we have the dishwasher on.

The amber and red lights mean WE ARE USING TOO MUCH ENERGY. If I want a cup of tea I must go around the house switching off the lights, unplugging the computer and turning off the music until the meter reverts to green.

Mrs R is delighted. She now has scientific evidence and statistics to back up her hypothesis that my approach to energy conservation is flawed. She can tell if I have left the light on in the study simply by glancing at the smart spy, with its smug little digital display and cheery light.

There is nowhere left to hide.

5 Responses to “Inspector’s gadget”

  1. 1 Sarah

    I want one!

  2. 2 Fiona

    I definitely want one – my children seem to be very adverse to switching off lights.
    It will also be interesting to know what is the additional power useage when there are 4 laptops and a home desktop all being used at the same time.

    And before anyone asks I have been known to IM my daughter on facebook rather than try to get her to come down and talk to me face to face πŸ™‚

    • FIona – on your behalf I have done some scientific testing this morning. It turns out that a laptop with a fully charged battery does not use much power at all – obviously it uses a bit more if it is plugged in and the battery is being charged whilst you use it, but still not much. A desktop PC is a lot more demanding, especially a teenager’s custom built gaming machine. Facebook is the most energy-hungry application because it consumes all the time that you would have spent doing more useful things.

      On balance it seems ok to use computers, as long as you switch off the lights and heating whilst online. πŸ™‚

  3. 4 Johnny Norfolk

    Did you have to have it fitted in the kitchen.
    I use only the power i need I do not need or want a device that does this. They can change my meter but I will not have anything like this in my house

    • Johnny – hello and welcome. No it doesn’t have to be in the kitchen. It is portable. You can put it on your bedside table or in the bin. You are in control. That is the great thing about being a modern consumer πŸ™‚

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