In today’s issue:

  • Sri Lanka woke up… after the power cuts
  • The bat box solution to smart meters
  • Coal power is back in Australia too

Two weeks ago, I asked you, “What would blackouts do to UK politics?” The responses continue to flow into the reader mailbox: [email protected]

Today, I want to highlight what’s at stake if we don’t pull the reins on net zero soon. And then I’ll reveal a surprising way to foil the eco-zealots’ plans, almost literally…


Two years ago I spent Xmas in Sri Lanka, straight after the riots that changed the government. We did a guided tour of most of the island with a smart, well-educated guide.

During our stay, we noted the totally erratic mains supply, prone to failure apparently without warning, plunging towns and village into darkness. In the hotels we stayed in; no problem – backup generators hummed into action – the gin and tonics stayed iced.

Filling up with diesel was interesting. Our guide had to download a QR code and present that in the filling station before he could fill up – fuel was rationed to “essential” services. Fortunately, for a country starved of foreign cash – tourism was one of them.

The locals, he explained, were entitled to 1 gallon of petrol per week for their Honda 125s and generators. If they didn’t come into collect it, the ration did not carry forward – thus ensuring fuel was wasted travelling to and from the stations to avoid missing the ration.

How did it come to this, we enquired. Turns out the previous government had a fit of the green washing – and banned all fertilisers on crops. Tea & rice crops – usually big forex export earners – duly reduced about 25% (who could have known?!) and that impacted the Balance of Payments, etc.

Then COVID killed the other forex earner – tourism. And they were done – nothing to pay for petroleum imports. Bail outs from India, power cuts, fuel shortages, chaos.

Then came the riots and a change of government. The guide said he would go back to being a UK colony in a heart beat – things worked then. I explained things had changed in the UK.

I have investments in mining companies in South Africa – all subject to constant power cuts – due to a corrupt and incompetent ANC, and struggling to operate coherently. All of them are missing guidance due to downtime caused by power cuts – and buying generators like in Sri Lanka.

They also have to contend with the cut taken for Black Empowerment – all of which makes them less competitive with extractive industries elsewhere – and is why mining is declining in South Africa.

The “take away”? When the bull***t is all done, people want reliable affordable power, income, things that work, when that ceases, people tend to wake up, woke down, smell the coffee – and go back to basics.

I don’t see why the UK is different.


Neither do I.

Although, the only reason Europe escaped a major energy crisis is because it had the money to buy vast amounts of gas from under the feet of countries like Pakistan, which consequently went without. So, there is that…

The question is how bad things get before governments stop pursuing the policies that cause the damage. The Dutch coalition government members have recently agreed to reverse many such initiatives.

The Australian government has already reversed its decision to shut down one key coal plant in order to prevent blackouts too.

But I believe it’ll take blackouts to get people to wake up completely. And I’m worried what response this’ll trigger from the electorate.

Not that there aren’t those already wide awake…

I’m sure you’ve heard about the bat boxes used to cover ULEZ cameras.

Well, this reader provides the smart meter equivalent…

Hi Nick,

I have written to you before on this subject and I too made a prediction. Smart meters are being rolled out solely so electricity can either be rationed, switched off or peak time charged. 

I refuse to have one. Luckily, my electricity meter is in the house and the only way I will change to a smart meter is with a court order.

If that happens, I will then wrap it in a Faraday cage so that it can neither send nor receive radio signals. This means that it cannot be turned off remotely, and also variable pricing cannot be enforced because there is no usage data. 

Feel free to publish this idea, but on this occasion, I would prefer discretion lest the eco Nazis raid me. Seriously though, we really must fight back against this nonsense.

With best wishes,


My response was suspiciously swift and direct:

Hi X,

Would you mind sending detailed instructions on the Faraday cage?


And so here is how the British public will try and undermine the smart meter rollout:

Hi Nick,

If you look through the glass of your microwave, you will see a metal mesh. That is a Farraday cage. 

In effect, it prevents high power microwaves escaping from the oven and cooking anybody within range.

WiFi is also microwave, but the power used is tiny, maybe 250 milliwatts or a quarter of a watt. At that power, it is pretty harmless. Mobile phones are the same.

Any fine mesh metal will do the trick. The meter will continue to record usage, but will not be able to send or receive. 

If you need very specific details on mesh size, I will look into it.  One simple way of checking is to wrap a mobile phone in the mesh and then try calling it. You should not be able to get through.

We have to push back against the endless state snooping.

With best wishes,


The ability of the individual to foil the state using high- or low-tech solutions is one of the few bright spots that will always be there for you, no matter how dystopian things get.

And if you’re looking for another silver lining, that comes complete with the potential to profit, my colleague James Allen has more on how you could benefit from the shifts in the energy markets, right here.

Until next time,

Nick Hubble
Editor, Fortune & Freedom