Press release

Failure to focus on consumers risks power shortages by 2017

18 January 2012

Energy shortages and rolling blackouts will become a real possibility in five years’ time, a sustainable technologies expert will warn tomorrow.

Speaking at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) annual Clerk Maxwell Lecture, Pilgrim Beart, founder of energy innovator AlertMe, will declare that fast moving change and the rapid adoption of sustainable technologies is needed to thwart the effects of diminishing energy supplies. Urging increased focus on reducing demand, Beart will discuss the overall scale of the challenges and outline a strategy for change that places the consumer firmly at the centre. He will go on to explain how a strategy of managing energy consumption at critical times can help consumers to combat rising utility bills.

While the Government faces challenges of energy security and climate change, consumers face challenges of rising energy costs and utility companies are caught between the two, accused of profiteering while they face billions of pounds of infrastructure investment. Beart will discuss these challenges in detail and discuss ways in which the energy community can work together to reduce consumption.

“While there are many exciting things happening with energy supply as we continue to develop wind, nuclear and hopefully one day fusion technology, right now we need to pay much greater attention to where all this energy goes”, said Beart. “The bad news is that we use energy very wastefully in our homes. The good news however is that this creates a real opportunity to improve the situation, quickly and at low cost – perhaps even at negative cost.”

The lecture will go on to explore whether the industry is ready for such change and concerns consumers may have throughout the forthcoming transition. Beart will discuss the host of innovations arriving in domestic homes over the next decade including smart meters, electric vehicles, heat pumps and Home Energy Management systems. He will also analyse how the government and the energy industry must engage with consumers in order to usher in this change successfully.

“Consumers often get forgotten when it comes to change within this industry. The time has come to reach out, educate and empower us all about our energy usage, making us aware of how we can all play our part, protect ourselves from rising bills and be the focal point of this revolution. There is a tremendous challenge here for engineers and technologists.” Beart concluded.

Media enquiries to:

Robert Beahan
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7595 400912
Email: rbeahan@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

About IET Lectures:
Attending an IET Lecture is your opportunity to see the future of engineering. IET Lectures are free to attend and are a key highlight of the IET’s events calendar.  Showcasing the latest ideas and technologies, the nine lectures cover a range of engineering disciplines, ranging from general interest to the more technical.

The President of the IET begins his year in office with an inaugural lecture every October. Many of the lectures were established in memory of engineers who achieved exemplary and ground breaking work in their day. The speakers invited to give IET Lectures are of that calibre – innovative, forward-thinking and at the top of their game.