• Hugh Smeaton, inventor of the PLC Smart Grid system which can capture network losses, is pushing for a huge public sector exposé, after an illegitimate embargo was placed on his system 
  • It has cost the country job and investment opportunities in a $500 billion worldwide market
  • Climate change has tightened its grip this summer, with a crisis having been declared by Jeremy Corbyn & other leaders  

Despite fulfilling a brief set by David Cameron’s Coalition Government to invent a Smart Grid system that captured network losses and complied with EU directives, retired Fife engineer Hugh Smeaton has been continually thwarted in efforts to see the technology either introduced in the UK, or in it being deployed abroad for Scottish companies to grab a share of a $500 billion market.

Having purchased his own worldwide patent for the technology a few years ago, and in failing health, he is now calling for the technology to be brought into the public domain.  A recent report that Smeaton submitted to the Parliamentary Ombudsman on what he calls the “UK Smart Grid fiasco”, came back telling him that neither successive Government Departments, nor representatives from numerous public enterprise bodies, together with the large UK energy suppliers who have sat on various generously funded Smart Grid committees for the past fifteen years, had any case to answer.

“It smacks of a major cover up, a desire to protect their own interests and the massive profits the energy companies make,” said Smeaton. “They are quite happy to sit back and let UK consumers continue to pay more for their energy than they would under the Smart Grid system I have invented. This desire to protect themselves at home means we are unlikely ever to gain access to the worldwide market which would generate jobs and investment for our workers. Smart Grid has no watchdog in the UK – It’s corruption on a huge scale. Meanwhile climate change, like we have seen this summer with widespread flooding and extreme heatwaves, will only get worse in the coming years.”

“It has got so bad that Jeremy Corbyn himself has coined the phrase “UK Crisis on Climate Change,” said Smeaton.

There are currently 600,000,000 PLC smart meters in circulation in the world, based on Smeaton’s original design when MD of Dunfermline based Linburg in the 1990s. Smeaton has documented meetings with both DECC (Dept of Energy & Climate Change) and OFGEM, when it was widely accepted that his system met the requirements for Smart Grid written in the 2010 Coalition Agreement.

Yet, he has continually been denied access to a £550m Ofgem Low Carbon Network Fund which could have helped take his technology abroad, and had to sit by the whilst numerous public interest bodies and Energy Supply & Distribution Companies making up the Scottish Smart Grid Action Plan, rejected the technology based on a pathetic excuse about wayleave agreements on private rural land, whereas the cables needed for PLC would pass along normal residential streets.

Smeaton claims his is the only Smart Grid system able to dramatically reduce the percentage of network losses in the developing world’s low voltage networks, thus reducing global carbon omissions to comply with The Paris Agreement on Climate Change, 

The $500 billion worldwide market for this technology in which the UK could potentially be competing, was created in December 2015 by the Paris Agreement. This keynote Agreement on Climate Change in December 2015, (ratified worldwide in December 2016), voted to reduce Avoidable Carbon Emissions from the power stations of the developing world.

The Smart Meters specified by DECC cannot compete in this market, as they do not produce the necessary information.

Best known for establishing leading engineering firm Fortronics in Dalgety Bay in Fife in 1969, Smeaton has enjoyed a fifty year career during which time he has been responsible for many thousands of man hours in the engineering industry in Fife. Fortronics off shoot firm, Linburg, first developed a version of PLC in 1996.

 “In simple terms, I recognised that, to be effective, a Smart Meter had to produce more information than simply recording kilowatt hours, which is all most meters did in the past,” said Smeaton. “They had to relate information to the geographic location on the networks supplying the meters,” he said.

“Avoidable Network Losses are largely created by electricity theft in the developing world and run at 30%, compared to 8% in the UK,” said Smeaton.

“I still hope to see something good come of my invention, or at very least a proper apology from the Government for not adopting my system when they acknowledged that I had met my brief,” he said. “I also need to get the technology into the public domain before it’s too late.”

Smeaton’s attempts to get The Scottish Government to fund a Smart Grid demonstration at the Cumbernauld based Power Networks Demonstration Centre also fell on deaf ears, despite the Centre agreeing to do it. 

“Smart Grid is controlled from London, so you could say that our own Scottish Government has its hands tied, but they certainly did have the authority to implement  testing which they have not. So much for them wanting to stand up for Scottish technology and Scottish jobs – a travesty!” said Smeaton.

Having contacted Channel 4 Dispatches, and other TV platforms, Smeaton is continuing in his quest to bring the issue out into the open. He concluded : “The public need to become aware that they have been dramatically undersold when it comes to Smart Meters.”