Dynamic Demand Appliances Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:52 pm on 24th March 2006.

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Photo of Lord Redesdale Lord Redesdale Spokesperson in the Lords (Energy), Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Spokesperson in the Lords (Energy), Trade & Industry 12:52 pm, 24th March 2006

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply, the noble Lord, Lord Addington, for his helpful comments, and the noble Baroness, Lady Miller. Perhaps I may deal first with the comments by the noble Baroness. There were a couple of misconceptions here. I believe that the Conservative Party in another place is already supporting dynamic demand—indeed, my reading of the debates on the Climate Change Bill in another place gave every impression of that. The noble Baroness asked how long it would take for the technology to have an impact. According to manufacturers, 3.75 million new fridges are bought in this country every year. I find that a frightening statistic. My own calculations, which are not based on a degree in electronic engineering, show that if 2 million devices were fitted with dynamic demand, that would equal the output of the largest of the nuclear fleet of power generators, which is some considerable amount.

The Minister raised a number of valuable points, including the issue of self-regulation. I would quite happily introduce a Private Member's Bill on standby. I personally find it quite unbelievable that 10 per cent of power generation is being used up in standby and utterly useless features added by manufacturers to meet public demand. However, I very much hope that the Government will support the voluntary code undertaken by the white goods manufacturers to move to 1 watt standby over the next couple of years, which will have a significant impact on energy consumption.

The Minister also referred to the spike during football cup ties when people go off and put their kettles on. I was interested to find out that that is not actually what causes most of the spike; most of it is caused not by people putting the kettle on but by a lot of them going to the loo at the same time and flushing it. The mechanical energy of moving billions of gallons of water around the country far exceeds the amount used to boil kettles. That is the sort of interesting fact that you find out when you have to do a great deal of work on these Bills.

The purpose of this Bill, and of any Private Member's Bill, is to push the Government into thinking about the issues. The likelihood of it succeeding through all the hurdles is a real issue. However, one thing which I believe this Bill has been able to do is to bring together all those who are thinking about this issue and to focus their minds. I believe that dynamic demand will become a reality. I very much welcome the Minister's encouraging words on moving towards doing the background work to find out whether there are any pitfalls with the technology. Obviously, it would be madness to move forward too quickly without finding out whether there are any problems with it. However, I concede that it is an issue because, unlike getting rid of standby, which would mean people getting off their seats to turn something off, this is a device that nobody would know was in their fridges.

I very much take on board the point that the Minister made—that this is about finding a market mechanism, and that those who are benefiting from the system should pay for it. In this case the consumer would not save any money and the appliances would not operate in a different way. The noble Baroness, Lady Miller, said that we would have to turn things on on a different cycle, but in this case no fridge would change its cycle at all. But it would be up to the National Grid to meet the costs. That means finding a way in which it could do so, which cannot be done without a change in primary legislation and a change in the energy efficiency commitment, which has been the hurdle at this point. I believe that that will be changed under the Climate Change Bill, which I very much look forward to debating . I thank the Minister for his most helpful reply.

On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.