Voltage Optimisation Scam
A new single phase version of Voltage optimisation is being marketed.
The marketing goes like this. If you install one of our voltage optimisation units you will save upto 13% of you electricity bill. The reality is that although these units retail at the comparatively low price of upto three hundred pounds they have to be installed by trained electricians. These electricians will not install them unless the proposed installation has a certain type of 17th edition ‘fuse’ or distribution board and indeed that the installation as an whole is up to 17th edition standard. This can cost an arm and a leg! Then there is the fact that these units only really work with what they were originally designed for lighting. The old style lighting not the new type of Low Energy lighting. The figures quoted therefore are only for a very small percentage (less than 5% on average) of the electrical equipment used in a domestic setting. Notice also the term upto this can of course include zero.
Specifically, These units will not work with thermostatically controlled loads (electrical heating, refrigeration, ovens…etc.) and they will also not work with any electrical equipment that has a modern switched mode power supply (SMPS). They will work with old style incandescent lamps or old style choke based fluorescent lighting units and any equipment with an old style 50Hz transformer at the power supply, (as long as there is not a thermostat controlling the equipment).
The sad thing is that when people are sold on the idea of saving energy they will pay a lot of money to get their electrical installation up to the specification required by the electricians to install the VO unit. As you can imagine the more unscrupulous electricians are going to use this to bump up the price to the max.
The really sad thing is that these units do not save very much in terms of electricity and infact they arguable decrease the efficiency of the national grid due to phase imbalances at the substation supplying single phase premises. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Load_balancing_(electrical_power)). The consumer does not see this but ultimately the carbon footprint of the overall grid is increased which negates the saving made by the consumer!