Re: UK market specifics
> I'm not convinced by the "Primary goal of the project is to be able to cut people off who haven't paid their bill" is this really the primary goal?
Actually, that's the secondary goal. The primary goal is still cutting people off - but for a different reason.
Thanks to decades of "kicking the ball into the long grass for someone else to deal with" - ie leaving the difficult decisions till after the next election, and politicians pandering to the "nucular is bad, can't have any of it" brigade, and don't even get me started on the renewables farce, we are facing a situation over the next few years where it's "not certain" that we'll always have enough power to satisfy peak loads.
There are two ways to do this, and traditionally we've gone down the route of simply building enough dispatchable power stations to be able to meet all reasonable demands. There's always been a small element of load-side control, but primarily it's been about generating what people use. "Economy 7" and similar tariffs are part of that load side management - and were designed primarily to allow the base load to be kept up overnight and keep the "cheap"* nuclear stations running flat out and minimise the diurnal rundown of the other big thermal (ie coal) stations.
As the antis love to point out, nuclear power stations take a long time to build (here at least, the Chinese can do it on time and on budget). So there's little chance of the new build plants being online before the brown stuff hits the fan. We've something in the order of 8GW of wind capacity - which is to all intents useless when there's a lovely static high pressure system over the whole of northern Europe for a week or so, ie when demand is at it's highest because it's ****ing freezing !
Of course, if relations with Russia degrade much more, then we also have to factor the risk of them turning the gas tap off at an awkward moment - and thus shutting down another chunk of capacity.
SO what we're left with is smart metering who's primary function is to ration electricity. Perhaps it doesn't match the dictionary definition, but the end result is that when demand outstrips supply then the price will rocket. The rich will ignore it, the poor will sit and freeze - and wait till 2am to have their tea when they can afford to cook it. If that doesn't alter demand enough, then remote turn off is there specifically to cut off people and so reduce their consumption by force.
Think about the rolling power cuts of the 70s, but on a more granular scale.
All the other bollocks is just fancy dressing to try and pretend it's for our own good and something we should want. Oh yes, and lets not forget that these will store and transmit your usage - every half hour of every day, all going into a big database that we don't need to worry about because a) it's secure and b) it's not allowed to be used for anything but billing. Yeah, we all believe those promises don't we !
* In relative terms. Much of the "expense" is in dealing with the "it must be a lot lot lot lot lot safer than any other risk we accept every day" approach to risk.