back to article I love my electricity company's app – but the FBI says the nuclear industry bribed politicians $60m to kill it

Ohio Register reader Steve Ringley loves his electricity company’s smartphone app: it shows his usage in real time in 15-minute increments along with its cost in a simple and easy-to-understand graphic. “I do not use it all the time,” he told us, “but if I have questions about my usage I can go back and see what happened and …

  1. TPHB

    Scandal, but not this

    The bribery scandal is indeed shocking, but the loss of the app is not. I work in this industry. Companies large and small have built realtime usage monitoring apps. No one uses them. Well, one Reg Reader uses it, but no one else. I've built these apps, and I don't use them after testing. No one is into looking at their realtime electricity usage on a regular basis.

    So if unprofitable apps got cancelled, it's no great loss.

    1. DavCrav

      Re: Scandal, but not this

      "No one uses them. Well, one Reg Reader uses it, but no one else."

      It was downloaded more than 10000 times on Google Play.

      1. iron Silver badge

        Re: Scandal, but not this

        downloads != active users

        10k downloads is nothing on Play

        1. DavCrav

          Re: Scandal, but not this

          "10k downloads is nothing on Play"

          Well, it is only available to Ohio residents, for a start.

          1. RM Myers

            Re: Scandal, but not this

            There are about 11.7 million people in Ohio, and 4.6 million households, so 10K downloads is very small. Also, AEP has been sending out monthly usage (by snail mail!) statistics in addition to the monthly bills, which seems like a total waste.Other than the fact that my usage is always less than "similar" efficient homes, I couldn't tell you one fact from these notices.

            By the way, the gas company does the same thing, so I assume it is a state requirement. I suppose killing a few trees is considered a small price to pay to send mail that most people will just ignore.

            1. R 11

              Re: Scandal, but not this

              AEP actually serves about 1.5m customers in Ohio. Assuming the same or more users on iOS and that's 1 in 75 to 1 in 50 of their customers used the app. That's a pretty decent amount for something that's pretty geeky.

              Not sure what the relevance of the Ohio population is for a company that doesn't serve the entire state and, where it does serve the population, has competition.

            2. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Scandal, but not this

              I get the conservation notices as well, but they are a separate mailing. I'm way ahead of my neighbors but energy projects are a hobby of mine. I haven't had to run the central heating for years now. I'm expecting this year with my additions to the system, I'll be wearing shorts and tank tops inside and sipping Mai Tais all winter. I also try to make things with as much repurposed stuff as well to keep the price down. I don't see a point in pouring money into a super expensive off-grid system that costs more than the energy saved over its (or my) useful life. That's a big problem with many demo "smart" homes.

              Next summer, I'm hoping the AC is finally off-grid. Getting rid of HVAC expenses, my power bill is quite low. The water heater and hob are both on propane, but that's in the plans to eliminate though I might keep the stove on propane as replacing it with electric would be complicated, expensive and I can go a long time on one small tank.

          2. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

            Re: Scandal, but not this

            "The smartphone app was developed and run by a company called Powerley, based in Michigan..."

            I have a feeling DTE Energy's (aka Detroit Edison) "DTE Insight" app is based on the same platform, especially due to the phrase "energy bridge".

            Caveat: I downloaded it once, but I don't use it. Don't really need to, because I already have two major "insights": 1. running the ~1.1 kW in-ground pool pump is the number one energy waster in the house, even greater than the aircon, and 2. my incandescent Christmas lights -- I like the "old glow", they're easily repaired, and "15A" breakers apparently have margin -- are the reason I see a spike in December.

            Thankfully Michigan hasn't killed their programs yet. I like DTE subsidizing the LED bulbs at Home Depot (and Costco -- they had better selection 1.5 years ago when I bought the current house, promptly swapping CFLs for LEDs before painting rooms and moving things in).

    2. elkster88

      Re: Scandal, but not this

      "So if unprofitable apps got cancelled, it's no great loss."

      Maybe not everything beneficial to society as a whole should be "profitable" as in putting money in some corporation or individual's pocket, especially when it's in the area of public utilities or basic infrastructure[1]. If it's helpful to consumers and results in decreased electricity usage, it's a boon to everyone and maybe the utilities should be actively encouraged or perhaps even required to provide such useful apps by the agencies that regulate them, rather than forbidding them.

      [1] Postal service, anyone?

      1. Glen 1

        Re: Scandal, but not this

        Careful, that sounds like socialism.

        1. Robert 22

          Re: Scandal, but not this

          That is only allowed for for the deserving greedy.

        2. Spanners Silver badge

          Re: Scandal, but not this

          You're saying that basic common sense sounds like socialism?

          Be careful, next people will be saying that 1 plus 1 equals two. It's a slippery slope!

          1. ronspencer314

            Re: Scandal, but not this

            These days, at least in the US, it isn't at all clear just what *isn't* socialism.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Scandal, but not this

              These days, at least in the US, it isn't at all clear just what *isn't* socialism.

              It's actually pretty easy, because no one here really knows what words like socialist, progressive, or fascist actually mean. They are all just proxies for whatever your side is for or against.

              TO REPUBLICANS:

              * If Republicans do something, it is not socialism.

              * If Democrats do the exact same thing, it is socialism.

              * If Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does the exact some thing, it is socialism (in an extra-scary-boo Red Menace way).

              TO DEMOCRATS:

              * If Democrats do something, it is progressive.

              * If Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does the exact some thing, it is socialism (in a good way).

              * If Republicans do the exact same thing, it is fascism.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Scandal, but not this

        "Maybe not everything beneficial to society as a whole should be "profitable""

        The same thing can be said of "public" transportation. It doesn't need to break even from the fare box as the benefits to the city often exceed the difference. Roads and bridges don't "make" money but any country that wants a GDP is going to need them or most commerce is going to take place on an extremely local basis.

    3. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Scandal, but not this

      Sorry, "Nobody uses them"? Of course we did. I wondered why it just went away.

      Utilities collect meter readings every hour or so because they're into 'time of use' tariffs, its the key to maximizing profits. Like all old school profiteers they don't like consumers having access to the same information, it levels the playing field somewhat. This information becomes indispensable when you install solar panels because it helps you balance consumption with production -- but then these old school profiteers don't like panels either, it represents competition.

      These days a lot of America resembles a banana republic -- its frankly quite embarassing at times having to explain to people that, honestly, we're not all like that.

      1. mike m3

        Re: Scandal, but not this

        We're not all like that.....just the ones in charge

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Scandal, but not this

        "This information becomes indispensable when you install solar panels"

        It is good to know what peak and average usage is if you are trying to sort out how much solar to install. The average over a month is too smeared out to be very useful. If your peaks are in the evening when solar generation is minimal to nil and there isn't a feed-in tariff or much of one, you may decide on a small panel installation or adding battery storage rather than more panels that aren't getting used much all day while you are at work.

    4. Rol

      Re: Scandal, but not this

      Those energy monitoring apps do seem a bit gimmicky - an interesting thing to download and play with for a week or so, but once you have unravelled the mystery of why your Direct Debit to the power company is what it is, that will be it.

      Now, where they would come into their own, and be of practical use, is if the cost changed by the hour as supply and demand fluctuate. I know this is already a thing, but availability is limited to a very small scope of clients. With the expanding infrastructure of smart meters, I can see the day where some of my electrical items have an electronic finger on the switch. The charger for my electric wheelchair probably, as I tend to wait until after the news headlines of "Power app shuts off ventilators to save money and kills 20", before buying into such things.

      1. 9Rune5

        Re: Scandal, but not this

        Those energy monitoring apps do seem a bit gimmicky


        They are not doing much to solve the actual problem.

        My water heater also warms the house. It is hooked up, and it monitors the price of electricity. It tries to adapt as best it can. It is by far the biggest consumer of electricity in my household.

        I can see some usage for that kind of automation. But me checking a real-time app..? For what purpose? To not watch TV in the evening if electricity costs a little bit more than usual?

        In reality though, the company I buy electricity from do not, despite their ads, offer realtime pricing. Me using more power in the middle of the night (and save during the day) has no impact on the final bill AFAICT. Further more, this part of the bill is not even the biggest part. I pay more to the company that owns the transmission lines, and that price is fixed.

        So all I have is a water heater that probably cost a bit extra because it is "smart" (they should spell it "smrt" like Homer Simpsons does). But I still consider it a better solution than said app.

    5. Chris G

      Re: Scandal, but not this

      @TPHB "I work in this industry"

      Hmm! Your only post, do you work in the Ohio power industry and who pays you?

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: Scandal, but not this

        No buy industry, he means professional lobbiers.

    6. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Scandal, but not this

      > realtime usage monitoring apps. No one uses them.

      Not quite correct. People tend to use them initially to get an idea of what energy they are using, but once this is done there is no real need to look at them again unless an exception happens. I remember this usage pattern being reported on with the monitors supplied with new smart meters.

    7. Adelio

      Re: Scandal, but not this

      As a householder, and apart from the initla novelty. What is the point of real time tracking of usage.

      It might be useful in a dispute to see the usage (say hourly) but otherwise so what.

      My kettle uses a certain amount of power, so does my oven. I am not going to change my usage with something like this.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Scandal, but not this

        "As a householder, and apart from the initla novelty. What is the point of real time tracking of usage."

        If you install solar panels, you can use the meter to see if it's advantageous to run some bigger appliances at a certain time when you are exporting power to the grid. Some places still have equal tariffs (I/O), but some don't so you are better off using power as it's produced rather than selling it to the grid if there is a choice.

    8. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Scandal, but not this

      I was hoping when my meter was switched out from analog to digital that I'd be able to have remote monitoring. No luck. I looked up the meter and the function is not in the bottom end model the electric company installed. If I want to know what something draws and can't hook up the Kill-O-Watt, I have to turn it on and see what the meter display is showing. One of the things I wanted to do is have a program that reads current usage that would tell me when I go to bed if there is an excessive draw like I've left something on. I can put a current shunt on the incoming feed, but it would be hard to fit without paying the power company to come out and they may not approve anyway.

      It's good to know how much power things draw. The nameplate rating is one thing, but real life is more important. I was shocked when I discovered that my central AC was 4kW when running. The name plate just gave a voltage and circuit rating for the outside compressor, but the fan and gubbins inside also gobbled up power. It made me more keen on sealing up cracks and setting the thermostat a bit higher.

      LED light bulbs have been something of a bust. The good ones I have bought seem to last, but the sponsored cheap ones only last about a year or two. The LEDs are fine, it's the power supply that roaches. With the E27 bulbs, that's a problem as getting to the power supply effectively means they're ruined. The installed lighting with separate power supplies are easier to service. BTW, buying a whole new LED light is sometimes cheaper than buying a replacement power supply. Go figure.

      1. 9Rune5

        Re: Scandal, but not this

        LED light bulbs have been something of a bust.

        I moved into a new house July 2017 and first order of business was to install some bulbs.

        Ikea. ~$1 each (9:- SEK to be exact for the Ryet lightbulb). No failures so far. The low wattage model works well when mounted in those fixtures that takes three bulbs. Otherwise they aren't bright enough.

        I also bought a couple of $12 bulbs that were supposedly dimmable. Not IKEA. Burned out within the year.

        In my limited experience: Price does not correlate with quality.

  2. Elledan

    Old tech

    Since when is nuclear power 'old tech'?

    Isn't NuScale's SMR cool and hip? What about the dozens of other SMR designs in various stages of development and certification?

    Just because a company which also owns two nuclear plants gets caught up in this bribery scandal seems like a weird reason to go off on a tangent about nuclear power like this. Especially when it's the fastest growing source of low-carbon power in Asia, Arabic world, Africa and Europe.

    None of this bribery scandal should reflect on the nuclear power industry as a whole.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Old tech

      We're referring to LEDs v bulbs, smart thermostats v unconnected gear, etc, not nuclear power.

      I'd say most of us at El Reg are in favor of nuclear power, when done right and all above board. It is a global tragedy that we're still reliant on coal and other fossil fuels for electricity IMHO.


      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Old tech

        "It is a global tragedy that we're still reliant on coal and other fossil fuels for electricity IMHO."

        There has been no excuse for this for the whole of my adult life. By and large it's self-styled greens who have been responsible AFAICS. Now, at last, it appears that a few of them are catching on.

    2. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Old tech

      None of this bribery scandal should reflect on the nuclear power industry as a whole.

      Well, since they were the ones doing the bribing, some blame must fall...


      FirstEnergy --- I just love meaningless new names, particularly in CamelCase --- gave elected legislators money taken from consumers, specifically to promote Nuclear Power and ditch environmental protections. It's not like they were bribing them to give free power to the homeless or battered wives.

    IT Angle

    Illinois ComEd in a similar quagmire....

    Getting caught bribing congress critters seems to be en vogue this year with power companies.... something similar went down in Illinois with ComEd and "Public Official A", who is Michael Madigan earlier this year.

    You'd think being given a government sanctioned monopoly, there'd be no reason for this type of crap. I guess power begets power (pun intended).

  4. Kev99 Silver badge

    We've said for years that Ohio has the best politicians money can buy. On both sides of the aisle but primarily the right side.

  5. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Ohio Register reader Steve Ringley loves his electricity company’s smartphone app: it shows his usage in real time in 15-minute increments along with its cost in a simple and easy-to-understand graphic.

    My Smart Meter --- and I can't say I have noted any of the dire consequences forboded for Smart Meters by deep thinkers, but maybe I'm just oblivious --- from Ecotricity [ Power company ] shows usage and cost and all the other things in real time, albeit with a 30 second lag.

    I can't imagine why Ohio's should be so slow.


    All that's lacking is discrete use by each appliance, but I find it very helpful.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "I can't imagine why Ohio's should be so slow."

      They can fit a really cheap processor coupled with a cheap wireless transmitter. If you want second by second readings, it costs more. 15 minutes is probably a really good compromise. Most electric companies with a time of day tariff adjust rates in 15 minute increments so that might dictate what equipment manufactures build.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I can see the point of such apps if variable pricing is in operation. In fact, it ought to be mandatory to provide them is such circumstances. But I can work out for myself that if I turn on the toaster and electric kettle that my electricity use goes up.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Exactly. The best way to make sure you save money is to switch off the stuff you aren't using.You don't need an app to tell you that.

    2. Olivier2553

      I'd say that with different hourly prices, I need a way to turn on and off some appliances when the electricity price is inside different ranges. But I will not spend my day having a look at my phone every 15 minutes.

      Beside, that sort of automation has been available for decades, way before smart meters. My parents have been running like that for 20 plus years: the electricity would be at a reduced fee all the year long except during day time on 9 (or maybe 20 ?) days that are deemed to be very high demand (like the coldest of winter), if you used any electricity during those high price days, it was high priced, really (3 times the normal price comes to my mind). The days are not fixed in advance. So it was up to you to monitor if you were in a high price time.

      And only running analog meter, the power company could send a signal (multiplexed into to 50 Hertz?) that you could use to automatically turn off stuff (electric cooker, over, electric water heater (they keep the water warm enough for 10 hours when they have proper insulation), washing machines, etc.) and turn on some signal light to remind people in the house.

      I always visited during summer, so I never saw the system in use except the last time in Marsh 2019 when I went down to the kitchen one morning to be greeted by the red light.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The French electricity board offers a tariff like that. There's a red light that comes on a certain amount of time (2 hours comes to mind) before the high price kicks in, and when the actual change happens you can use that signal to automatically shut off things like the water heater etc. No need to monitor a meter manually.

      2. HellDeskJockey

        That's where remote lighting controls come in handy.

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "I'd say that with different hourly prices, I need a way to turn on and off some appliances when the electricity price is inside different ranges."

        Having an EV that can see those rate changes and charge or not charge based on cost could be a really good thing. In spring or fall when people aren't running as much HVAC and there is lots of wind, the grid operator might have to shut down turbines to keep things balanced. If they can signal a sale on electricity and have a load of EVs start taking up the load, they are making money even if they discount from a normal tariff. You might also put a load of laundry in the washer and have it wait until rates drop before starting rather than doing it when you get home at night. You'd still need to use the dryer if you can't hang things to dry, but it might be a wee bit of savings.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My utility has or had a usage graphing on their website.

    But it was really limited because they didn't present an average, which is what I want to see. And really, that's what I think people should want.

    When I was trying to figure out whether I wanted to go back to TOU it was easier to use the data download option.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    No, this is federally protected FREE SPEECH!

    ~Citizens United~

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

      Re: Bribery?

      You get the upvote, but that ruling gets voted so far down it's hit bedrock.

      1. ShadowDragon8685

        Re: Bribery?

        Bedrock isn't low enough. Let's get out the DRILLS!

  9. whoseyourdaddy

    Northern California has PG&E. Usage data is delayed by a couple of days..

    The problem might be the 900mhz wireless WAN can only talk to a limited number of meters at a time.

  10. Shadow Systems

    An honest question...

    Could a non-smart-home equipped person get much the same functionality re: power consumption by using those "KillAWatt" monitoring devices sharing their readings with a Raspberry Pi set up as a logging/monitoring device?

    Plug everything into KAW's, have the KAW's send their data to the RPi, and set the RPi to trigger on any use above a certain amount to send you a notice of that fact.

    If you turn on the toaster & it normally uses X units of power but suddenly starts pulling Y units instead, the RPi would send you an alert to that fact.

    Could you then buy wireless plug modules to let the RPi send a kill signal to the devices drawing more than they're supposed to as a way to protect against spikes in the monthly bill?

    1. Olivier2553

      Re: An honest question...

      There is no reason why it would not be feasible.

    2. iMacThere4iAm

      Re: An honest question...

      Yes, OpenEnergyMonitor does this. It has been the open-source version of a smart meter since before smart meters were a glint in a corrupt politician's wallet.

      1. eldel

        Re: An honest question...

        That's interesting and I hadn't seen it before. Looking at that I think what I really want is a smart circuit breaker. To replace the ones in the "fuse box" - showing my age there. That way I can see the usage per circuit on an ongoing basis. Makes it easy to track down where all the power is going and if it seems unreasonable then I can always dig deeper.

        Anyone know of anything like this? I suspect that the common ring main would make it unlikely in the UK (note - I haven't lived there for 20 years - the regs have undoubtedly changed) but the separate circuits layout in the US would be suitable

        {Edit} A quick duckduckgo gives me this. There's probably others

        1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

          Re: An honest question...

          There exist a few models of whole house power monitors that clip onto the incoming main feed. They can measure the usage at a high sampling rate and make an educated guess about which appliance was switched on or off based upon the shape of its consumption profile. This configuration would not be affected by ring mains or other home circuit topologies as the measurement is made at only one feed point.

          Most of this curve-fitting appears to be done in 'The Cloud'. So there will be a fee associated with it. And of course, being a "Cloud" device, it is subject to the vagaries of the back end business. Who they have been bought by or are taking bribes from.

          They seem to be an interesting gadget. Often demonstrated on our home improvement TV shows. But one I suspect will only be used when new, until the homeowner tires of making hourly checks of the status of his reading lamp.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: An honest question...

      You could easily do this, but only by buying and powering extra hardware. From an environmental and cost standpoint, having the electricity provider which already knows some of this just tell you what they know is better. If you have devices you think will do something worrying, by all means set up this system to have realtime data and the ability to automate. If you just want to know what a spike was, you don't need to do that to every device in your house.

      1. Shadow Systems

        Re: An honest question...

        The end goal I was thinking of was an entirely local (not cloud based) logging/monitoring capability. You let it log for a month or two in order to get an idea of the normal use patterns of your devices. Once you know $Device usually uses X units of power when in use, then you can write the rules to trigger when $Device uses Y units instead.

        A whole house (at the mains into the building) cloud-based monitor wouldn't really work since you could never be sure what caused a spike, only that a spike had happened, and even that much may be too much to hope for if the cloud-service-provider takes their ball & goes home.

        Granted, a KAW & wireless plug combo for each & every device in the home would quickly get expensive, but you could make the "monitor to determine a baseline" phase a one-device-at-a-time affair. It'll take longer, but you would still wind up knowing which devices use how much power & which ones deserve a permanent KAW+wireless plug setup.

        I imagined a home DIYer could assemble such a system herself, configure it herself, & never need to pay a third party to do the logging/monitoring/alerting/shut off bits for her. Even if you had to buy one set for every device in the home, the money saved by NOT having to pay the third party would quickly prove worth its weight in anti-headache meds.


        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: An honest question...

          If you need that much detail, a system as you describe is easily implemented. Most people don't really need that though. If I'm trying to identify the cause for an unusually high electricity bill, I can probably figure it out from a usage-over-time thing. If it's the refrigerator as suggested below, my power usage will probably be rather flat at a higher level since that runs constantly. If it's temperature control, then my usage should correlate with the outside temperature. If it's a specific device, the spikes in the usage times tell me when I turned it on and for how long, so I can probably take a pretty good educated guess about what it is. Then I can turn it on for five particular minutes and reload the graph to confirm. I don't think there are many people who have concerns about a particular device starting to use an unusually high amount of power when it hasn't before. Given that, it's probably not worth very much to most people to install a device to catch this unlikely situation and take preventive action, especially as the hardware to do this will require time and money to assemble.

    4. whoseyourdaddy

      Re: An honest question...

      The problem is how do you almost-accurately measure your demand. You literally have to run the house wiring through a ferrite core and measure magnetic field strength that shows up.

      Two things draw a significant amount of energy in homes that don't have pools/hot tubs/sex dungeons: your refrigerator(s) and your furnace/AC. Track run time? IMHO, I've added solar panels...twice and stopped keeping a "spare" refrigerator in the garage (which gets heat loading in the summer and is a retarded waste of electricity..) But, the biggest payoff on a new-ish house was replacing all the F*you-builder-grade aluminum frame windows with a few thousand dollars in name-brand double-paned with IR blocking film windows.

      Massive savings and more comfortable too.

    5. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: An honest question...

      It would be easier to fit a current shunt at the meter or breakers unless you want/need fine detail on what's drawing power at any given time. If the meter will send out that info, so much the easier.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To be fair

    Given that the bribe benefitted his whole family, the lawmaker could accurately have claimed, "Ohio Householders don't want clean energy"

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: To be fair


      Well done, now leave.

  12. nxnwest

    Savings Simply Not Possible

    Have we in the States thanked you for National Greed yet? Thanks to their de-coupling of rates it is simply impossible to save any money when electricity or gas prices decrease because they immediately spike the delivery charges to more than compensate. So an app monitoring our real-time energy usage is somewhat useless as the cost will remain constant. Our bills never decrease. Not to mention the utilities are guaranteed an ever increasing percentage of profit. It's similar to excluding gas (petrol) prices from inflation indexes. Inconvenient? Offload it!

  13. Joe Gurman

    "Smart" my ruddy great....

    Many in the US don't buy the "smart" power line. I can achieve the same monitoring goals with a $40 Kill-a-Watt device and avoid having data about my personal usage in a database that can be hacked, encrypted for ransom, and so on by a utility that depends as much as possible on burning coal. (Regardless of what you think about nuclear, Ohio is one state where things could be improved by replacing a good part of the energy generation by nuclear, though wind and solar would certainly be better.)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get your self a smart meter.

    My Local Power Company SCE Southern California Edison use to provide raw data(csv) for my account of detailed usage, then it disappeared.

    My guess it related.

    Get yourself a smart meter.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: Get your self a smart meter.


  15. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Smart Consumption

    The ideal ways to have smart consumption are either (i) to have two separate power circuits in the house, or (ii) for the generating company to modulate a carrier signal on top of the mains electricity waveform.

    (i) One circuit is the "on-demand" electrical supply, the other is for "dumb" appliances where they can be switched on or off according to external factors, for example, refrigerators. This will then smooth out peaks in demand.

    (ii) If appliances can be made "smart" by interpreting the injected carrier on the mains this could be used to signal them to run or not run according to real-time loading demands seen or forecast by the generating company.

    With (i) everyone's off-peak devices would turn on at exactly the same time, resulting in a surge in demand until thermostats drop out having reached target temperature. With (ii) devices can be turned on in a more targeted way, eliminating the initial off-peak surge.

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