Will the last person out of the country please switch the lights off.

Well here in the UK experts have suggested that companies be paid for using less power in the late afternoons & early evenings.

The following is quoted from the BBC News Web Site:-

The government has dismissed a proposal that big shops and factories could be paid to cut their energy use to prevent shortages leading to blackouts.

Electricity network owner National Grid has suggested large consumers could be asked to lower use between 16:00 and 20:00 on weekdays in the winter.

It was responding to a warning from energy regulator Ofgem that the risk of power cuts has increased in the UK.

We appear to be steadly nearing the point as consumption goes up each year of getting close to where we can’t generate enough electricty to meet and exceed demands especially at peak times.

As somebody who remembers the power cuts of the 1970’s and the three day week, I have no desire to be working by gas light. We live in the 21st Century not Victorian times.

Now this has made me think about how much electricty people waste these days, with modern electronic gadgets left on standby rather than being switched off totally when not in use. Just looking round my home office here I have the following on or on standby at the moment. Two computers, one printer, one two-way radio, Two routers & one modem, Four external hard drives, Two angle lamps, Two cordless phones and last but not least one USB powered hub. Now each of those is not consuming that much power but it all adds up. So what can we do to save power and of course in the process save a bit of money. The answer of course is to switch things off totally not just to standby. I now switch off the desktop at night, I used to just leave it running 24/7 simply because it was easier than waiting for it to boot.

However, this does not totally answer the question as to why we are not generating enough to keep pace with increasing consumption needs. One of the reasons no doubt is the Nimby principle (Nimby = Not in my back yard.) People want things but not where it will adversly affect them. Nobody wants a view of a power station from their living room window, but they do want more power. The same can be said for example with mobile phones, people want 100% coverage but then moan when another phone mast goes up locally.

Many people lay the blame for the possible power problems at the feet of successive UK Governments for the privatisation of the power industry and the subsequent underfunding, private power companies exisit to make money for their shareholders, no longer are they there as a public utility.  Reading the reports on such as the BBC web site there are promises that the lights won’t go out, but promises from most politicans are, in my opinion not worth the effort made to say them.

So in a couple of years if the power does go off at peak times, we will be close to a general election, take time to remember what your local MP said on the subject and vote accordingly!!