Those of you who possess a television or radio can’t have escaped the major push by the UK government to have smart electricity meters fitted in every UK household.

That’s around 53 million meters – with the government stating that it is “committed to ensuring that every home and small business in the country is offered a smart meter by the end of 2020”.

Well, good luck with that to the UK government – whatever that might look like by 2020. The reality is that many homeowners just can’t see what all the fuss is about and how giving up a couple of hours during a working day to let the man in to fit the smart meter would benefit them. Many still have lingering suspicions about smart meters. “Will Big Brother be monitoring when I do the washing or when I’m in or out of the house?”. Or other such neuroticisms. 

The latest smart meter adverts are intriguing. Previous campaigns focused on how a household can better monitor their consumption and save money. The serious fact is that most households do use their energy efficiently, or as efficiently as their white goods can manage. 

Turning off the occasional light bulb or switching the TV off completely rather than leaving it on standby are all worthwhile but will not to pay for the upgrade to economy plus when you fly the kids to Walt Disney World.

The most recent Government campaign however has an interesting and subtle change of emphasis. It talks about making the grid smarter and how we can all help with this.  Changing the emphasis from “how I can be helped,” to “how I can help others” is a master stroke and it’s really important that all things environmental continue like this. 

We’re only going to reverse climate change if we look out for, and after, each other. 

At the All-Energy and Dcarbonise conferences last week at the SEC, Newton co-presented a ground-breaking proposal to take a large city centre flatted development and hook it up to a smarter local grid network. 

The real genius of this scheme is that if rolled out in volume, it could potentially reduce the need to build more power stations in the future, as our customer’s buildings through intelligent algorithms could persuade the local grid network that although the building could consume up to X Kw perhour, that in fact, it never consumes more than Y Kw per hour.

The excess capacity could therefore be deployed elsewhere. Scaled up, this scheme could revolutionise the way that electricity is generated and consumed in the UK. 
We would never be in a position in the future of having to be able to generate maximum capacity “just in case.”

And you thought that property factors just washed down the close? Watch this space.   

Derek MacDonald is Joint Managing Director of Newton  Property Management