Anger has met the announcement of an energy-saving initiative which could see domestic appliances turned off without the owner's knowledge or consent.
The idea behind the 'Big Brother' scheme is to help prevent blackouts in times of high demand, when energy generation is low. Domestic appliances such as fridges, freezers, ovens and washing machines would be fitted with special chips which would allow the devices to be turned off temporarily if the National Grid was struggling to meet demand.
The proposals are contained in documents drawn up by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (entsoe), which have now been passed onto the European Commission.
Conservative MP David Davis slammed the idea as "ridiculous" and said he hoped the government put its foot down over the issue.
He said: "There is a Big Brother element to this - and it also shows the energy suppliers passing down their incompetence to the customers. They should be supplying energy as customers need it, not the when they want to give it."
Electrolux spokesman Viktor Sundberg said if the move was adopted it wouldn't be good news for consumers.
"Consumers are not benefiting at all and will be left paying more when they buy the appliances, as well as having their private goods controlled by outside forces," he said.