Sunday, 14 June 2009

Smart Meter Madness (Part 4)

(By Anthony Miller – Sunday 14th June 2009 2:30pm). An article in the Technopolis section of the Weekend FT ‘How To Spend It’ magazine appeared to offer yet another option to help consumers save energy without needing to replace every electricity meter in the country (see Smart Meter madness (Part 3)). The mag put in a pitch for the AlertMe Smartplug system (see here), which claims to monitor electricity usage and allow you to control appliances over the internet.

AlertMe is a Cambridge-based start-up founded by “serial entrepreneurs” Pilgrim Beart and Paul Fellows in 2006. The company received investment from the Cambridge Angels and a Boston-based private equity fund in 2007, and they secured another £8m in funding from four leading ‘cleantech’ investors last June.

Now, I have no idea about the extent to which their gadget ‘does what it says on the tin’. But what is clear to me is that there is plenty of entrepreneurial spirit here in the UK to be able to come up with great energy-saving ideas that could probably be deployed at far less than the £7b the government’s proposed meter replacement scheme is mooted will cost. What’s more, it puts control in the hands of the consumer and is far less intrusive of your privacy (do you really want your utility company to know every time you switch on a lightbulb?). As I said in our first post on this subject last December (see Groundhog decade - will ‘Smart Metering’ be the next NPfIT?): Enough of the grand IT schemes, please. Let’s apply a little common sense and a lot of British R&D instead.

(PS In case you were wondering, TechMarketView has no financial interest in AlertMe).

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