Keeping the dishwasher and washing machine on together will not be possible. And we must also be careful about the use of hair dryers, irons, electric stoves. At least in certain hours of the day, those so-called “peak”. In a few days, the European Commission will present its plan to reduce consumption by 5 percent in the time slot in which people generally come home and turn on the TV, start cooking, or do the washing machines. The draft of the European regulation indicates a precise way for the States: to operate through smart meters. In practice, the energy distributors will be able to operate a sort of “lockdown” of electricity for a few hours. How? Lowering the power of the meter. For example, a household that has a contract for 3.3 kilowatt hours might find only 2.5 kilowatt hours available. Not enough, in fact, to keep a dishwasher and perhaps an oven or a washing machine on at the same time, if in the meantime the fridge and the TV must continue to work. An electric oven absorbs 1500-2000 watts on average, a washing machine 2,100, a water heater 1,200.
A few days ago Enea published a handbook on how to save electricity and have lighter bills of up to 607 euros a year. The reduction of washing machine washes from one per day to one every 2 days, for example, would result in a cost cut of € 52.29 per year. Less dishwasher washes, from 2 to 1 per day, would save 74.69 euros. The disconnection of the plug of the washing machine not in operation, 1.58 euros. Switching off the refrigerator during the holidays, 3.42 euros. The setting of the refrigerator in low consumption mode, for 15 days during the holidays, 2.05 euros. Turning off TV, decoder and DVD (without leaving them on stand by), 4.53 euros.
The reduction of the oven ignition time, 13.78 euros. The reduction of the lighting of the bulbs by 13% (one hour a day for each single bulb), 11.72 euros. But it is a moral suasion, of voluntary actions left to the free choice of consumers. The point is that there is no certainty that families will then adapt to this “austerity”. The reduction in power, on the other hand, would make it impossible to avoid rationing.
What is the purpose? Do not start gas plants that produce electricity during peak hours in order to save methane. The other question is how much gas will it be possible to save if the European Commission actually gives the green light to this measure next week? The gas used to produce energy for domestic uses is worth about 11 billion cubic meters a year. The savings, therefore, would be just over 500 million cubic meters. Not so much, but it’s all useful these days.
Yet according to some observers, the “lockdown” of the meters could have undesirable effects. The band of greatest consumption is the F1 band, the one that runs from eight in the morning to seven in the evening. The peak generally begins around 6 pm, and it is precisely between 6 pm and 7 pm that the cut to the power of the counters could arrive. But after a while, people would get used to doing the washing machine at 8pm. In short, the peak would only move forward. The power lowering range should therefore be designed to avoid this effect. It is more likely to become a moving band, hitting its peak whenever it forms, rather than having a specific time. The second point is how the lowering of power will be achieved. The same for everyone? Or proportional based on kilowatt hours? For example, those who have chosen to completely electrify their home by giving up gas generally have more powerful meters, from 6 to 10 kilowatt hours. If it were cut proportionally, these houses would risk being left without essential goods such as heating, hot water or without being able to cook.
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