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Gov't seeks power to turn down private home air conditioners remotely, report says

61 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

For a large part of the year, the weather in Japan is far from comfortable. Winters are cold, and summers are hot and humid.

Those seasons could become even less comfortable, though, if a new plan from the Japanese government goes through. As reported by Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun, in a meeting on Nov 2, the Energy Conservation Subcommittee of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry resolved to begin working group discussions with the aim of gaining the ability to remotely turn down privately owned air conditioner/heater units. The goal would be to decrease energy usage during expected power shortages, which the committee feels are a growing concern as Japan attempts to shift towards renewable energy sources such as solar power, where the amount generated can be affected by day-to-day climate, making it difficult to stabilize the amount of total power available. The ministry says that AC unit usage accounts for roughly 30 percent of household electricity consumption in Japan.

From a technical standpoint, the plan wouldn’t be particularly difficult to implement. Japanese air conditioner units have long had remote controls, so external inputs aren’t a problem, and many models now allow the owner to turn the system on and off or adjust temperature settings through the internet. By asking manufacturers to extend such access to government regulatory organizations, and granting those organizations override functions over other inputs, the plan could easily be put into practice for internet-connected AC units, and water heaters are another home appliance the committee is looking to gain the ability to throttle back.

Winning over the minds of the public, though, isn’t likely to be as easy, as Twitter reactions to the news attest to.

“Creepy.”

“Are they crazy?”

“Playing God.”

“That’s the sort of idea you’d only come up with if you aren’t right in the head.”

“I’m glad the AC unit I just bought isn’t internet-connected.”

“Another great government idea.”

“Hey, government, isn’t it your job to make sure the power grid can support us?”

“So they’ll stop doing this when people start dying, right?”

The last comment might sound like hyperbole, but heatstroke deaths aren’t uncommon in Japan, with a heat wave a while back killing 79 people in Tokyo alone. According to Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the committee is currently working under the concept that the government would only be able to turn down AC units if their individual owners have agreed, in advance, to grant that authority.

Source: Nihon Keizai ShimbunTwitter

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© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

61 Comments
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This idea should go back to where it came from and take its place among the rest of its originator's bowel contents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why don't authorities just focus on forcing companies to turn off all electricity by 5PM or whatever time they close and close all those neon lights in city areas earlier, like let's say 9PM rather than meddling in the affairs of its people. Also, ban those shops that play excessively loud music. I have a high school friend who has a skin condition wherein he must stay in an airconditioned room during bad cases of those rashes to make the symptoms more bearable. Imagine the government having the power to turn off your AC when you're having a bad case of that said skin disease. Will they just say gaman suru?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don't be hypocrites! should we turn off our air conditioners? then the pachinko parlors? they use a lot of electricity and air conditioning, just for gambling which is not a necessary thing for survival !!! if the government closes all the pachinkos and also the Disnelyland resorts, Uneiveral studio Disney sea etc! then there will be a lot of savings! these are unnecessary things on a daily basis! they are just attractions! that's all!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If people pay for it, the government's job is to secure the resources

Only in a socialist country. Normally it up to the market to ration goods through price. Scarcity generally drives prices up. Uncertainty in markets often does the same.

But for example the US has absolutely no means to tell China not to close businesses and their major seaports during a Covid outbreak, but those closures ripple through the global economy in the form of lower outputs, manufacturing delays, higher prices and since ships cannot load goods on time, delays in shipping schedules ripple through the supply chain further driving up prices.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How come the whole world appears to be struck by energy crises, although Japan for example receives most of their energy from the Middle East which is operating as usual?

Um, you are aware there is a war going on between Russia and Ukraine that has led the west to sanction the Russian energy industry? With access to Russian oil and gas greatly restricted. Few ship owners will risk loading as and insurance companies won't insure the ships or the loads and reputable banks will not extend the necessary credit to make the purchases or handle any payments from buying Russian oil. It isn't a grand conspiracy to hurt you. The reasons are knowable and understandable if one takes the time to do so, but I reckon defaulting to conspiracies is just easier, and lazier.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

..the committee is currently working under the concept that the government would only be able to turn down AC units if their individual owners have agreed, in advance, to grant that authority.

Bueller...Bueller...

This will never work. I doubt if it is even being seriously considered.

I could see power utilities charging customers much higher rates if they refused to agree to such remote control. Some auto insurance companies grant lower rates to drivers with electronic recording devices in their cars. The devices can prove or refute a drivers claims regarding the situation that led to a traffic accident for purposes of determining fault, but some like me are quite willing to pay a higher rate to not have the electronic tattletale in their car. I could very much see power utilities following the, cough cough, "lead" of the insurance industry.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

We are enrolled in a voluntary program here in California. For a yearly credit on our electric bill, the utility gets the power to shut down our A/C unit for 15 minutes at a time, for a limited number of times, during critical electricity shortages. Like I said, it is voluntary, and saves me money.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

When it's not COVID they justify their Orwellian measures with climate change.

If people pay for it, the government's job is to secure the resources. Politicians are failing this task all over the world and the people they blame are the citizens. Is this orchestrated on a higher level? How come the whole world appears to be struck by energy crises, although Japan for example receives most of their energy from the Middle East which is operating as usual?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So are they going to say that because they subsidise the electricity, they can control it?

this is crazy.

I agree with others, why not give incentives to re insulate, double pane or triple pane windows.

would save a lot there.

how will japane ever get into the ev market. They don't have enough electricity to heat homes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I found this article summarizing studies from another global think tank - International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. https://www.yesmagazine.org/issue/how-much-is-enough/2021/08/10/energy-housing-food-water-equity

Looks like the LDP is behind the curve here, they need to incorporate mandatory water usage limits, square meters in housing etc.

This stuff should concern everyone greatly.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They’ll have to pry my a/c remote 'From my cold, dead, sweaty hands!'

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yeah definitely need to do something about the AC and Heating use of stores first. Went to the local drugstore yesterday and was sweating like crazy, are you supposed to change into summer clothes every time you get in to a store? Also too cold in summers with doors wide open.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

So how do you like what it means to have MORE government?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What an absolute crackpot idea! Nobody will agree to this, it would be deeply unpopular if they attempted to force it on anybody and people would simply find work arounds in no time at all.

How about insulating buildings properly for a start, just like they do in most other civilized countries?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan is neither very cold nor very hot.

Not too cold where we live, but 35-40C with 80% humidty for 3-4 months is Hot. Other countries hotter, but japan is still dangerously hot.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Once the electrical and gas companies see how much money they are losing they will go back to letting people use what they want and do what is done in the US. The US has a "TIER System" after you use more electricity or gas in a Tier controlled system you pay more for the next tier usage and it gets pricer. In other words they will control your pockets if the people go against the government controlling usage.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They came for the AC.

Then they came for the washing machine.

Then the fridge.

After that the Vaccum cleaner.

Eventually,

No appliance left behind.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The mere suggestion of this in Japan may tank global sales in WiFi enabled air con, and other domestic IoT devices. If I had shares in such companies, they would have been dumped on reading this.

It would be impressive if the folks suggesting this had beaten the CCP to it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This is where the so-called smart meters come in. Depending on the appliances you have, while it may not be possible to directly control an air conditioner, the power company can remotely switch off your power through the smart meter is some regulator decides that you've used enough power today, thank you Suzuki-san.

Smart meters were sold on the premise that you'd have access to lower tariffs and various other minor conveniences. But of course the devil is always in the details: governments both here in Japan and elsewhere have been less forthcoming about the amount of control they have over your home/business's energy supply if they so wish to exercise it. And given the madcap goals the Agenda 2030 crowd are chasing right now in Egypt - goals that governments including Japan's are dutifully pursuing no matter how insane - there's a reasonable chance that they'll try this under the guise of a manufactured energy crisis. Remembering, of course, that THEY won't be the ones shivering through winter or sweltering through summer because they're important.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan is neither very cold nor very hot. People exaggerate with all the achooii achooii in summer and samui desu ne in winter. Google Kuwait and Siberia to see real hot and cold

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Rodney

Citizens should realise that access to private energy is a privilege, NOT a right. Same as clean air.

It is the government suggesting the idea, not the power companies. People have a contract with the power and gas companies to supply and provided you pay your bills they have a duty to supply unless the wiring of an establishment is unsafe.

Some people have a life-or-death situation in their homes.

It is not the business of the government to control the AC in a home.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This would be completely unworkable. It would merely result in folks using machines that are less efficient than air cons, like oil heaters and electric blankets. Air cons, strictly speaking air source heat pumps, are a friend, not a foe when it comes to decarbonization.

My take is that they are floating this idea to soften people up with something marginally less bad but which can actually be introduced. Like rationing power or rolling brown outs.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Citizens should realise that access to private energy is a privilege, NOT a right. Same as clean air.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

These clowns wouldnt get a job in McDonalds cleaning tables.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Sounds like Taro Kono might be on this committee. Maximum political damage for no functional gain.

The solution actually already exist. Solar + battery (I have solar with Tesla Power Wall, works like a charm, especially on hot days). Or, multiple metering: essential, non-essential & offpeak, where the authorities can flip a switch to cut off supply at the substation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“Another great government idea.”

Lol it is as if this person was me!

There are two approaches.

One demands greater centralization of control and hope those in control are geniuses (or just accept that many people will become deeply unhappy but that they will suck it or be forced to suck it).

The other is to decentralize control and leave individual actors to make their own decisions independently based on information like price signals in their own specific context.

I firmly believe that the latter approach is superior. Not perfect, but superior.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

By asking manufacturers to extend such access to government regulatory organizations, and granting those organizations override functions over other inputs, the plan could easily be put into practice for internet-connected AC units, and water heaters are another home appliance the committee is looking to gain the ability to throttle back.

How will they distinguish between those on the grid and those using a generator or solar power to run their AC units? The Government should not have the ability to blanket turn them down or off when some are not taking power from the grid. If they cant distinguish they should not have the ability. Someone running on generator and their AC shuts down for hours thanks to the government. That would be a crime and should get the government a huge fine if done.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have seen shops even department stores keeping their front doors wide open to the street with their A/C blowing cool breeze on people walking by to get them to come into the shop, I can't even imagine what does their electricity bill looks like!!?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Most people are good about the use of energy in this country, and this should be acknowledged by knocking off such crazy talk,

Summing up, if these government officials are serious, they, their families and their offices should be subject to this trial for a whole entire year before even dreaming of doing this to the taxpayers who pay their salaries. And of course, a video to document how they cope 24 hours a day during the summer and winter months when they have to go without.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Some people who care about NOTHING but themselves need to be monitored and baby sit, but the majority will comply and do the right thing, I still think that $$$ always gets people attention, increase the rates by some significant amounts for those who abuse and ignore the limits, it will benefit us all, more money for the power suppliers so they can upgrade and improve the grid.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Any sacrifice to fight climate change! And the Japanese beef, pork, and chicken industries must go. And I haven’t even got around to the diabolical dairy industry!

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

According to Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the committee is currently working under the concept that the government would only be able to turn down AC units if their individual owners have agreed, in advance, to grant that authority.

Oh yeah. Green energy is working out fine..

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

More braindead bureaucrats trying to justify their position.

Please leave name and address at the control panel to ensure you are at the front of the queue when they throw the switch.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If they turn it off during the winter they would do me a favor, the wife keeps things way too hot. Do keep your hands off my AC during summer though.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Well, at least they are turning the A/C down 25, 24, 23, 22, you turn it down to make it colder and you turn it up to make it hotter 22, 23, 24, 25.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is a heads up to avoid smart technology/IoT gimmicks in the home that allows your government to go the full CCP and take control of your life.

Ironically, such actions would increased the desirability of older, less energy efficient models.

I suspect they are testing the waters to see what they can get away with without committing political suicide, so pushback now would be a good idea.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Well, good luck on that one, as mine aren't connected to the Internet.

As for their plans,.... better savings would be had if they considered:

Cut the outrageous air-conditioning wastage for Shops in Ginza

Turn off Tokyo Tower & Skytree night lights

Cancel the Bridge illuminations around Tokyo bay

Roppongi Hills should cancel their Xmas lightings as too other areas

Stop unessential flights from Tokyo Heliport and stop the JSDF from flying over Central Tokyo

Limit the hours that NHK broadcasts... (only kidding, but it may help a bit)

The list could go on forever.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

jexan:

Someone taking notes from the CCP playbook?

Why is it whenever Japan or a G7 country does something which even China hasn't done, people like you always have to bring up China? Is it to make you feel better? By the way, it's not 'CCP'. Whenever someone says that, you know they've been brainwashed by the MSM propaganda. I'd say the 'CCP' has taken notes from the playbook of the UK regime when it comes to CCTV on the streets. They even had CCTVs in Matt Hancock's office.

Anyway, I've learnt to minimize usage - either use fans, wear appropriate clothing, use enough blankets and use minimal settings on AC. However, I can't offer any help to Europe - they're on their own due to their own stupidity.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Does this mean Japanese aircon software will not require a password or that the government will be able to get through your router to your aircon and presumable anything else in your house on the internet?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Seriously.

Someone gets paid from tax money to come up with this crap?

How about this idea, fire the moron(s) who actually consider this a good suggestion?

Cut their pay, save money that way. Simpler solution. Win-Win.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Well if we keep to the present plan it will only get worse.

Look at California, one week they pass a law to ban ICE (Cars) the next week they are asking owners of electric cars not to charge their cars.

Think about that, if you don't have a private parking with charging station then at anytime a government willing request control of your home AC heating will easily also require an off switch for all commercial charging stations.

Go to charge you Tesla or Leaf and find the government has pulled the emergency power off switch.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

This government is exposing themselves for what they really are, fools.

This shows a lack of trust in the populace which in turn will mean the populace will lose trust on the government. It has already looking at the polls.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Another reason to reject so called smart home technology.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

This is just the beginning... you're 'smart home' will be a personal prison

7 ( +11 / -4 )

It wouldn't really do much to curb the strain on the grid anyway. Only internet-connected units would be affected, which are a minority of the existing aircons. And, of those, many people would disable that functionality to prevent the gov't from taking control.

A for more effective approach would be cash incentives for reducing consumption. (To the end users, not the power companies.) Also, rebates/discounts/tax credits for installing solar panels, storage batteries, insulation, double-pane windows, etc would go a long way towards reducing demand.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Our gas water heater is supplied by bottled gas. Would be near impossible to control new units via the internet which not all homes have.

But say it was to happen who decides and what happens when it all goes terrible wrong and someone’s home goes up in smoke because they made the wrong setting.

There are about 60 million households.

I wonder what this study group was smoking?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

How do the PM planes connect with the power supply?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Article 25. All people shall have the right to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living.

In all spheres of life, the State shall use its endeavors for the promotion and extension of social welfare and security, and of public health.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

If Kishida gave up taking half his trips abroad and left one of the two planes in Japan then there would be no need to even imagine this pathetic scenario!

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Someone gotta die, if the AC unit has lost its gas it could say it's blowing 20 but actually doing nothing... Beyond scary

3 ( +6 / -3 )

..the committee is currently working under the concept that the government would only be able to turn down AC units if their individual owners have agreed, in advance, to grant that authority.

Bueller...Bueller...

This will never work. I doubt if it is even being seriously considered.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

1984

11 ( +17 / -6 )

Why is this world day by day becoming more like an episode of Black Mirror?

8 ( +14 / -6 )

If that really happens, the LDP will be finished.

16 ( +20 / -4 )

Someone taking notes from the CCP playbook?

21 ( +29 / -8 )

Nope. No way. Screw you guys. Not a chance in hell that this would be accepted.

14 ( +23 / -9 )

That would be a massive overstep by any government and totally intolerable. We only use the AC during the summer so it is not 30% of our power consumption.

It would be better to improve the efficiency of the power grid system and invest more in renewables. At this moment the UK is generating 50% of its power demand from wind turbines.

This idea violates the constitution probably. Authorities cannot enter a home with a warrant from the courts.

the Energy Conservation Subcommittee of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

They all need to be fired.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

Thats some pretty Orwellian stuff right there.

These idiots should be working towards securing the necessary energy resources, not punishing the plebs for not wanting to melt/freeze to death.

33 ( +39 / -6 )

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