Saturday, 30 November 2013

Ofgem attacks energy suppliers, we dont trust them anymore

Ofgem has launched a scathing attack on the record and profits of the big gas and electricity suppliers.

Andrew Wright, the acting chief executive of Ofgem, said there was a "deep distrust of anything the energy companies do or say".

Mr Wright was speaking to MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee.

"It is not surprising that consumers jump to the conclusion that prices are being driven by profiteering," he said.

On Monday, Ofgem published data showing that profit margins in the industry had risen from 2.8% in 2011, to 4.3% in 2012.

 Is Ofgem a "toothless tiger".

Ofgem could control prices directly, should parliament decide to change the regulatory framework.

food for thought!!!

Dont Let the Energy Companies Bully You. Use our 3 tip plan and save money

With gas and electricity prices potentially rising by another £140 per household before the winter, it is ever more important to make sure that you have the right supplier and tariff. In some cases by switching you can save yourself hundreds of pounds each year.

The UK market is dominated by six big energy suppliers - British Gas, Npower, Scottish Power, EDF Energy, E.ON and Scottish & Southern Energy. Add to this all the smaller suppliers, such as Co-op Energy, First Utility and Ovo Energy and there are multiple different tariffs available to suit your gas and electricity needs.

According to the energy regulator Ofgem, the average household dual-fuel bill for a year is now £1,420, up from £1,105 in 2010.

there is very little true completion in the current energy market so there one thing you need to do - consider switching

Deals depend on where you live and the tariffs on offer at the time, to gain the most savings you should be prepared to switch regularly.

One way to keep on top of what is the best deal for you is to use one of the price comparison websites such as (uSwitch claim that at least 10% of people who switched energy supplier for both gas & electricity with them saved £294 or more).

Even after you have done that you need to stop them from artificially inflating your DD costs.

About this time of the year the companies traditionally write to you and tell you that they are putting up your Direct Debit costs due to some reason or another.

most of their reasons are rubbish so I suggest you use the following tactic

Try this and save money!

  1. ring up customer service - the number will be on the letter from energy provider

  2. ask the customer service team how much your last years energy costs were (Gas & electric)

  3. divide that sum by twelve and inform them that is what you want your DD set at for the next year.

we virtually guarantee that you r new figure will be less than they are asking it to up it to and in many cases you can lower the costs and keep the cash in your bank.

Friday, 29 November 2013

RoSPA aims to extinguish Christmas electrical fires

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) in Scotland is to tackle electrical fires in homes over Christmas with a £3,000 grant from the Electrical Safety Council (ESC).

RoSPA, the UK’s leading accident prevention charity, is one of the successful applicants for the ESC’s Fire Safety Fund, which aims to support a range of fire prevention initiatives in Scottish communities. Across Central Scotland, RoSPA will be giving out festive tea-towels with important safety messages, along with extension leads, to deter families from overloading sockets with electrical decorations and lights - a common mistake often made at Christmas time.

Home safety officers will also be holding festive safety talks with older people’s groups, giving them simple tips on how to avoid electrical fires and injuries. According to government statistics, each year more than two thirds of accidental fires in Scottish homes - over 3,500 annually - are caused by electricity , and Christmas lights can pose a significant risk if they are faulty or not used properly.

We want everyone to have a safe and happy Christmas.

There are many fire hazards in the home and accidents involving electrical festive items can easily happen.

never overload electrical sockets, making sure fairy lights carry the British Standard BSI Kitemark and unplugging Christmas lights before you go to bed.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Big six UK energy firms see supply profit up up up

Ofgem says the big six energy suppliers saw profit margins in the supply of gas and electricity rise to 4.3% in 2012, up from 2.8% in 2011.

The watchdog says supplier profit per household customer rose to £53 last year, from £30 a year earlier.

Profit margins at the firms fell from 24% in 2011 to 20% in 2012.

Overall, profits in generation and supply across the half-dozen firms fell from £3.9bn in 2011 to £3.7bn in 2012.

The information comes from an analysis by Ofgem of the annual financial statements of the firms Centrica (which owns British Gas), EDF. E.On, Npower. Scottish Power and SSE.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Computers & Tablets running on light speed

your Home PC is now a dying dinosaur, the Next Gen Computers could run a lot faster if they used light, in addition to electrical currents, to handle data – especially in links between chips.

While light is perfectly suited for transmitting data fast over long distances via optical fibres, it is not easy to control and manipulate within the confines of a chip. Essential but difficult to design components for this task are photodetectors that convert light signals into electrical currents.

Graphene can help out. It is easily manufactured and transferred onto silicon, absorbs light from a wide range of wavelengths and has high electrical conductivity.

A problem so far has been that graphene absorbs light only weakly, but this has now been solved simultaneously by three different research groups, who have developed graphene photodetectors integrated in silicon optical waveguides.

The new graphene devices come close in performance to existing photodetectors, but offer some particular advantages: graphene's exceptionally fast-moving electrons make high-speed signal processing possible and, in addition, the devices operate over a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum, from visible light to telecommunications wavelengths and beyond.

Today is our Team Day

We are only covering emergency repairs today

we have a team day

see you tomorrow!!!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Socket Overload Calculator

Most people have extension leads in their homes, using 4-way bar adaptors to increase the number of appliances that they can plug into a wall socket. 

However, although there is space to plug in four appliances, this does not mean it is always safe to do so. Different electrical appliances use different amounts of power. To avoid the risk of overheating and possibly fire, you should never plug into an extension lead or socket appliances that together use more than 13 amps or 3000 watts of energy. 

Use The ESC calculator to plug in some typical household appliances to see the effect on the load, and to get useful tips on how to avoid overloading your sockets.

link -

remember this when it comes to festive lighting

Saturday, 23 November 2013

1,000 homes sign go for the Green Deal

Only 1,000 households have begun to install Green Deal measures, according to the latest government figures.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said 1,173 households had committed to install measures under the scheme – such as solar panels and insulation – at the end of October, compared to 954 the previous month.

But only 219 of these households had measures installed. Some 360 properties had quotes accepted on work and 594 properties had installations "pending".

Under the scheme, households sign up for an assessment to see how they can benefit from energy efficiency measures before obtaining a quote and planning the installation.

Charity Age UK said the figures showed a "profound lack of interest" in the Green Deal.

we say - if they really do want the save the planet, is a new strategy required to fire up interest???

Friday, 22 November 2013

Superglass reports £7m loss

Insulation firm Superglass has reported a full-year pre-tax loss of £7m against a profit of £6.8m last year.

The company said the move from the government's Cert scheme to the Green Deal and Eco had a "significant impact" on results.

Stirling-based Superglass calculated that activity in 2013 would be 90% down on levels in 2012.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

150,000 Jump ship away from the BIG 6 energy suppliers

More than 150,000 people have signed up to smaller energy firms since the start of October

Inflation-busting price rises announced by five of the "big six" electricity and gas firms have led to a lot of us just wanting to walk away from them.

As a result, many smaller firms have seen big increases in their customer base - one by about 500% - in the past seven weeks alone.

Overall, though, the smaller energy companies still account for only about 3% of the market. but expect that number to go up.

maybe this is the way to get true energy competition.

First Utility, the biggest of the independent energy companies, said it had gained more than 100,000 new customers.

Utility Warehouse said it had received 35,000 new energy applications and now had more than 500,000 customers.

Keep up the good work. - Time to switch guys, keep up the pressure.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Landlords fined over multiple fire safety breaches

Two landlords in Liverpool have received fines due to breaching a number of fire safety regulations, as well as running unlicensed and unsafe houses.
One case saw Owen Gwynfor Hughes ordered to pay £1,350 in fines and costs for letting out a multiple occupancy house without a licence.
The property on Bentley Road, Princes Park was also not provided with a fire alarm.
 Mr Hughes denied complicity, saying that he worked away from home and rented out rooms in his six bedroom property in order to contribute towards the mortgage.

District Judge Wendy Lloyd who was presiding over the case acknowledged his defence, but insisted that once he started operating his home like a business he had to comply with the law, especially when it concerned the safety of others.
Meanwhile, Azim Kibria of Hartington Road, Toxteth was also charged with letting an unlicensed property, which was too found to have fire safety issues as well.
The 10-bedroom property in Croxteth had exposed floor joists, floors and doors that would not be able to stand up against fire, a gap in the kitchen ceiling that posed a fire risk and there was no handrail on the staircase to the basement, which increased the likelihood of someone falling.
He was subsequently fined £1,200 and ordered to pay costs of £1,240 to the council by District Judge Lloyd.

You are 16 times more likely to die in a fire in properties like these than you are in a single family home which is why it is essential that there are adequate fire precautions.

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.

Monday, 18 November 2013

We will be paying over the odds for the next 17 years for heating and water

On the face of it we can look forward to 17 more years of above-inflation increases in energy and water bills as they help pay for the renewal of the UK's infrastructure, Whitehall's spending watchdog has warned.

The National Audit Office added that "gaps" in the official analysis meant government lacked "an overall picture of affordability".

Five of the UK's six main energy companies have announced price rises, at an average of 8.1%.
On Tuesday, EDF Energy became the latest provider to increase bills, by an average of 3.9%.

We think Ed Miliband plans for a 20-month energy price freeze is just hot air and we have little faith in the government competition review.

It looks like we will be paying for the failures of three or four previous governments.

Approximately two-thirds of the £310bn of planned infrastructure investment over the next decade and beyond will come from private companies, ultimately paid for by consumers such as the new EDF Nuclear Power stations priced in the billions.

An estimated 8% average real-terms increase in household energy bills between now and 2030. For water, the figure would be 28%.

Decades of underinvestment have left us struggling with insufficient energy infrastructure.

Every government know about it but each left it to the successive govt to take on the mantle.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Employee of the Month for October is...

Shannah Sherman

Shannah has been an amazing individual for the month that I worked with her.

Shannah is always keen to work and smiling no matter what tasks she is given and has to carry out.

Shannah has massively improved throughout the month carrying out Mitie rewires with me and has been able to carry out more involved tasks on her own.

Shannah is always up for a challenge and wanting to learn as much as she possibly can. Her attitude and hard working commitment to the company sets a brilliant example for others.

Thank you Shannah for your hard work this month, keep up the good work.

thank you to Tom Lane for the input


When Tech makes a REAL difference

We take for granted our phones, and pads, but for most of us this technology is just a distraction that actually wastes our time.

The real advances are going to be for those that have impaired senses.

Its exciting to think how new tech could transform their lives..

Today's smartphones are mini-computers. the can be linked hearing aids and have other ingenious ideas are coming thick and fast.

Imagine the benefits got an Autistic person of facial recognition software in glasses could identify how the person in front of you is feeling and flash up captions which say "happy", "sad" or "upset".

Deaf people could enjoy real-time subtitles so they can see what people are saying to them - as they can with television subtitles IRL

Imagine the freedom a self driving car could give to any disability - blind people could make their own choices in Tesco.

Paralysed people who control computers with their minds.

Paraplegic Virtual assistant anyone - this new tech could bring a whole range of people into the work force and give them a new found independence.

lets hope the law makers don't get in the way. As long as there are correct procedures and protocols in place it shouldn't be a problem.

If a blind person has a crash or breaks down on the motorway he we be ins the same situation as an able bodied. If there was an emergency (young girl engrossed in her phone, just steps of the pavement in front of you) new tech would probably better at dealing with that than a real life person because they would have to have stringent protocols to be licenced for road use. human intervention would probably make the situation worse, so the blind person would in effect be the safer driver.

just because you are blind it doesn't take away you ability to make informed decisions.

Exciting times ahead.

just imagine the possibilities.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Friday Fact

In 2002, the average user spent 46 minutes on the Internet a day - In 2012; the average user spent 5 hrs on the Internet every day.

you need to stop reading this and get some fresh air

Thursday, 14 November 2013

CCTV security cameras know when you swing a punch

Based on Microsoft's gaming sensor Kinect, Kintense analyses a person's body and picks out where the joints are to create a real-time 3D skeleton figure. An algorithm then recognises movements made by this model that indicate aggressive acts such as kicking, pushing, hitting and throwing.

In trials, some actions like kicking were recognised with 90 per cent accuracy, but other movements, like punching and throwing, were trickier to spot.

The system, designed by Shahriar Nirjon and colleagues at the University of Virginia, was created to warn medical staff if a patient is acting violently – but it could also be used in security cameras.

the system can upgraded so it can recognise verbal aggression, too.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Ethiopia carbon-neutral by far away are we???

Ethiopia's green economy is booming, but most of the locals are not feeling the benefit.

Last week, the country opened Africa's biggest wind farm. The Ashegoda Wind Farm will generate 120 megawatts of electricity. It came online just days after Ethiopia announced an agreement to build a 1000-megawatt geothermal facility, the largest in Africa.

Growing economies and more stable governments are making East Africa eager for more power – and it wants green power

Look at China with the air pollution from the coal-fired power stations.

European and Chinese investment has helped the price of wind power fall below that of coal-generated electricity.

Ethiopia may have access to a terawatt of wind power to add to the vast hydropower resources that now supply 90 per cent of its electricity. Add to that the geothermal potential of the East African Rift and the country's goal of being carbon-neutral by 2025 starts to look plausible.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The UK's first nuclear reactor for 25 years

The reactor design is more efficient, and safer, than those in existing plants. They are also good news in terms of climate change, but what they will do to energy prices is less clear as there is no 'true' competition its just another opportunity to rip us all off.

If the plan is to improve the UK's green credentials and energy security, however, yet more reactors are needed because Solar, Wind and wave currently cant produce the capacity with more infrastructure needed for distribution.

The two reactors, which could cost about £14 billion, will be built at Hinkley Point on the Somerset coast, which already has two nuclear power stations, one of which is now being decommissioned.

Once up and running, the two reactors will provide about 7 per cent of the UK's electricity. They will be built by a consortium led by EDF Energy and will be half-owned by China.

The reactors will be European pressurised reactors (EPRs), developed by French energy giant Areva. They are a variant on the pressurised water reactor, so named because the cooling water surrounding the reactor core is kept at high pressure to prevent it from boiling (see diagram). The design features crucial advances.

It generates more electricity from less fuel and needs less downtime for maintenance. It also cuts the risk of major accidents.

The reactor building will be more resistant to aircraft strikes. Before 9/11, reactors were only built to survive the impact of a crashing fighter jet.

Modern aircraft can have engines as big as buses, which could punch through concrete. So the Hinkley reactors will have two concrete walls, each more than 1 metre thick.

Also lessons have also been learned from the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Mixing Electricity and Photography

As a lot of you know, I like my Photography so I was so happy to stumble upon this...

Kirlian photography.

’’  A form of photography that uses electricity. It’s actually a type of photogram / contact print. i.e -   photo taken without a camera by placing objects directly on light-sensitive paper and exposing them to light.

In this case the surface on which the object is placed is exposed to electricity.

Accidentally discovered by Russian inventor Semyon Davidovich Kirlian, thus the name.

Typically,  Kirlian photography involves a metal plate with a sheet of film on top, and the object to be photographed placed on top of that. High voltage is momentarily applied to the plate, onto which the corona discharge is then copied.

A corona discharge occurs when a current flows from one electrode to another through a neutral fluid, like air, by ionizing that fluid. The ionization creates a region of plasma around the electrodes. The plasma goes around whatever object is placed on the plate, thus following its shape.

Pretty cool eh!!!

’Everything about Kirlian photography, at the very least, can be scientifically and rationally explained despite the spooks and freaks getting all mystical about it.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

“This is freakish. This is a spaceship.” The Lola Drayson B12/69EV

Lola Drayson B12/69EV specs
◾Electric Motor: 200kW axial flux
◾Battery: Lithium-ion phosphate
◾Total Power: 850hp
◾Torque: c.3,000lb ft
◾0-60mph: 3.0 seconds
◾0-100mph: 5.1 seconds
◾Top speed: >205mph
◾Weight: 990kg
◾Total Range: only 2 laps of Silverstone, UK - so it will have to be a short race
◾CO2 emissions: Depends on the source of charging

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Pop music makes solar cells produce more electricity

Randomness of the day is this...

Some solar cells convert sunlight into electricity more efficiently when loud music is played to them – as long as it is pop rather than classical.

Traditional silicon-based solar cells convert sunlight into electricity efficiently, but they can be awkward to work with and expensive to produce.

Steve Dunn at Queen Mary University in London and James Durrant at Imperial College London have been experimenting with zinc oxide, which is much cheaper and can be made into thin, flexible films. The only drawback is that its efficiency is just 1.2 per cent, a small fraction of what silicon is capable of.

To improve this, Dunn and Durrant took advantage of another of zinc oxide's properties. Nanoscale rods of the material wobble in response to mechanical stress – such as the vibrations produced by sound – and generate an electric field.

"We tried our initial tests with various types of music, including pop, rock and classical," says Dunn. Rock and pop were the most effective, perhaps because they have a wider range of frequencies. Using a signal generator to produce precisely measured sounds similar to ambient noise they saw a 50 per cent increase in efficiency, rising from 1.2 per cent without sound to 1.8 per cent with sound

The discovery could lead to the development of zinc-oxide solar arrays that can be deployed in noisy public places – next to busy roads, for example.

"There are lots of places where this might be useful," says Dunn. "On top of air-conditioning units, on military vehicles or on military personnel where lightweight power sources can be used to supplement heavy power requirements."

"Anything that can improve the conversion efficiency of this type of solar cell is clearly useful," says Paul Weaver at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, UK. "It's interesting that exploiting combinations of properties in these complex, multifunctional materials can produce unexpected benefits."

The majority of solar cells on the market won't benefit from the phenomenon, Dunn says. "But it will be possible to design and develop new cells to take advantage of what we've seen."

Solar panels powered by FatBoySlim and Miley Cyrus

sorry Chris Martin but Coldplay just isn't bouncy enough

what next??? an Eco-index for bands that can produce the most amount of electricity and a banning of the London Philharmonic on the basis of Global warming??

it could happen...

Have a great weekend

Friday, 8 November 2013

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Solar Panels that work at night

Its seems a bit unbelievable but current research is working on solar panels that work 24/7

this is just on of the possibilities raised by a 'supercapacitor'

It is the first supercapacitor that is made out of silicon so it can be built into a silicon chip along with the microelectronic circuitry that it powers. In fact, it should be possible to construct these power cells out of the excess silicon that exists in the current generation of solar cells, sensors, mobile phones and a variety of other electromechanical devices, providing a considerable cost savings.

crazy idea! ell it might be, but if it works, its not crazy

Instead of storing energy in chemical reactions such as in batteries, "supercaps" store electricity by assembling ions on the surface of a porous material.

As a result, they tend to charge and discharge in minutes, instead of hours, and operate for a few million cycles, instead of a few thousand cycles like batteries.

These properties have allowed commercial supercapacitors, which are made out of activated carbon, to capture a few niche markets, such as storing energy captured by regenerative braking systems on electric vehicles and to provide the bursts of power required to adjust of the blades of giant wind turbines to changing wind conditions.

Supercapacitors still lag behind the electrical energy storage capability of lithium-ion batteries, so they are too bulky to power most consumer devices. However, they have been catching up rapidly.

exciting times ahead

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Landlords responsibility for electrical Safety

For most setting out as property investors, thoughts will be initially focused on the cost of property, the kind of tenants to be sought and the long-term plan for expanding the portfolio - but there is more to it than all that.

landlord’s responsibilities
In particular, you need to be aware that you have a wide array of legal responsibilities towards your tenants.

One of the most important of these is to make sure the electrical equipment and fixtures in the property are kept safe and in working order. The consequences of failing to do so can be severe, both in terms of the danger posed to the people living in the property and the penalties that can be imposed on the landlords.

Two specific areas are the landlord's responsibility. One of these is that the system as a whole is safe - things like sockets and light fittings. The other is the appliances themselves, like cookers and kettles, should these have been provided by the landlord.

Some of this depends on common-sense use of electrical circuitry and appliances. Clearly there should be no overloading of sockets - and that can be caused by the actions of tenants - and the maintenance of equipment does at least partly depend on the tenants; clearly it is not the landlord's fault if, for instance, a tenant places something metallic in a microwave.

Property MOT
For landlords, the key to safety is ensuring that everything has been inspected and passed as safe. An electrical condition report (MOT) should be carried out every five years and it must be done by a properly accredited person.

Such an individual will be accredited to UK national standard BS 7671 and will have a certificate to show for it. Landlords should always make sure they check this accreditation before letting an inspector or engineer anywhere near an electrical appliance or fitting, as any unqualified person could pass a system as safe when it needs repair - with potentially dire consequences.

Those who are qualified and accredited will be registered with one of five government schemes. These are: BRE Certification Ltd, the British Standards Institute, ELECSA, NAPIT Certification Limited and NICEIC.

Use your eyes
As well as making sure formal checks are carried out, landlords would also be wise to carry out a visual check on the electrical fittings and appliances any time they do come round to a property they own. If anything appears amiss, an extra inspection should be made. This check can also help establish if any appliances are not working well. For instance, if the kettle or microwave is not in good condition, it should be replaced.

Similarly, if tenants report that these items are not working, it is important to respond swiftly. After all, if an appliance like a cooker or washing machine is not working it will not just be an inconvenience for tenants, but might breach the tenancy agreement, as their provision is included in the items they are paying their rent for.

Of course, landlords should never feel they are left to make such judgements themselves. By contacting the Electrical Safety Council via the web or phone, they can get advice and guidance. By doing so, they can ensure they meet all their electrical responsibilities.

Need HELP???? we are NICEIC registered

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Remember, Remember the fifth of November....

Please stay safe this season...

There's no reason for not being safe.  Every year hundreds of people are injured, and some maimed for life through firework accidents. 


Hypersonic robot spy plane

Lockheed Martin has begun work on a successor to the supersonic Blackbird SR-71 spy plane.
The unmanned SR-72 will use an engine that combines a turbine and a ramjet to reach its top speed of Mach 6 - about 3,600mph (5,800km/h).

Like its predecessor, the SR-72 will be designed for high-altitude surveillance but might also be fitted with weapons to strike targets.

Lockheed said the aircraft should be operational by 2030.

I presume some of the R&D will coming to Bedfordshire.

Jobs for the next 10 - 15 years :)

Monday, 4 November 2013

Bletchley Park will offer internet safety advice to children when it re-opens next year.

The Bletchley Park Trust is restoring the site near Milton Keynes and expects to get 250,000 visitors a year.

Software firm McAfee will be a partner in providing an IT learning zone and cyber security exhibition.

The trust said it hoped the attractions would inspire the 16,000 children it expected to attend each year.

Bletchley Park was the highly-secretive site where teams, including the "father of computing" Alan Turing, broke the German Enigma codes.

The trust is aiming to re-open the site in time for the 70th anniversary of the World War II D-Day invasion of France, next June.

The learning zone and security exhibition will be built in a derelict block on the estate.

we say - brilliant idea:)

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Google's 1st tweet...

reads: "I'm feeling lucky."

Googles 1st ever tweet was

I'm 01100110 01100101 01100101 01101100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101100 01110101 01100011 01101011 01111001 00001010

fluent in Binary??

we'll tell you what it means in an hour...