Chris Dunstan says such smart technology would also allow electricity retailers to remotely turn appliances on and off in a customers home. "What about the retailer saying, 'Okay, we'll turn your air con off for 15 minutes each hour. The fan will keep running so you won't notice the difference and we'll give you $100 a year if you do it. That's much more realistic than charging them $200 to run the air conditioner on a hot afternoon," he says.
Fanning next finds another expert, who goes by the unlikely name of Alan Jones. This Jones is one of Clover Moore's toy boys, just like her bicycle spruikers, and he knows what needs to be done:
Jones concedes it may require political muscle to make it happen in Australia. "There'll be people complaining about it, opposing it. I would suggest to you that no energy minister would make that kind of change. So you're not talking about [federal energy minister] Martin Ferguson here, you are talking [Prime Minister] Julia Gillard. I think the PM is a fan of Tony Blair, so there's an opportunity for Julia to have her name in lights."
Jones had better to put heads together with that first expert, Chris Dunstan. It is very well to spell out "Julia" on an electronic sign board, but it will not do much good if Dunstan refuses permission to flick the switch.