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I’ve been on my travels today; I attended the first meeting of the RTS Users group.

RTS what’s that? Well did you know that here in the UK, RTS has over 5 million users, you may be one and you may not even know it! RTS or Radio Tele-Switching is a method by which all power companies in the UK switch on and off electricity storage heaters.

Basically, a radio message is sent-out via the side-bands of BBC Radio 4 which programs your meter and tells it when to switch your heating on or off.

As you can imagine, this system has been in place for years and it hasn’t had any significant work done on it for 15 years, many because it’s worked without a hitch.

Now people are getting worried because they can no longer get the parts for servers the systems sit on and the operating system is VMS which hasn’t been supported for some time.

Anyway as you may have gathered I can tell you what is going on because it isn’t actually a secret, in fact the minutes of today’s meeting will be on the web on the Ofgem site in the not to distant future.

What struck me was that there is a system in place that can update 5 million devices, if not more in literally a matter of seconds? What Tele-comms technology have we got today that can do that for around £100,000 a year?

Do you know what shocked me was, that this system is running no where near capacity! Infact any old company can approach the BBC and hire some space on it.

Anyway I’m not suggesting that we all start going radio as it is old hat, you can’t send messages back via this system for a start. But this just made me think so I thought I would share with you.

Anyway the upshot is that it’s time to upgrade the system and bring it bang up to date. If we do that we can to bring better customer service by bringing in new tariffs that in this energy conscious time where houses have to be heated by electricity this can’t be a bad thing.

Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2005 2:30 PM Main | Back to top

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