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Hidden Dangers!

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents say that up to 50 people are killed in UK every year due to carbon monoxide poisoning, with many more needing medical treatment after exposure to the gas.

The thing that makes carbon monoxide so dangerous is the fact that it is so hard to detect. It is an odourless and colourless gas meaning you can’t see, smell or taste it. The first indications of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, drowsiness or nausea. These are symptoms of other common illnesses making it even harder to pin point. People showing these symptoms wouldn’t immediately think about carbon monoxide poisoning.

Nowadays, there are a few simple precautions that can be taken to protect yourself from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide alarms can be fitted that look and operate in a similar fashion to a normal smoke alarm. Carbon monoxide detector stickers can also be bought. These change colour when carbon monoxide is detected.

In the home, faulty central heating boilers, gas fires and blocked chimneys or flues can cause high levels of carbon monoxide. Getting your systems checked by a professional that deals in central heating installation and is Gas Safe Registered will make sure any faults are picked up. You should ideally get them checked annually to give yourself peace of mind.

British Summer

Ahhh. Torrential rain, no sunshine and it’s cold. Must be the British summer. And even skinflints like me at this time of the year start looking at the central heating controls and getting tempted to give the living room a blast.

But before you think about getting all cosy in front of the telly with the radiators a-radiating it’s probably best to have a think about where the heat actually goes. Apparently without the proper insulations, a quarter of it goes through the roof. Insulation can mean real savings year on year so it’w well worth checking out what deals are available, and whether there may be government help you might be eligible for.

If your boiler needs replacing, now is probably also the time to think about getting it done. It’s one thing being inconvenienced for a day or two in  August, but by mid-December even a half day without heating or hot water could be a serious drag.

Lower Energy Bills…Or To Greedy?

Are We Spolied?

If there’s one thing everyone chasing it’s got to be lower electricity bills. Anyone you speak to wither it be your friends or family there’s a good chance they’ll moan about their energy bills at least one time over the week!

It seems to be a constant barricade of phone calls and letters from all these different energy company’s in the end up I actually get confused and forget what company I’m actually with! Then there’s the other side of the argument when you look to places like Africa and so on were actually very lucky of the big luxury’s like this we actually have.

What do you think? Is it us Brits are getting a bit greedy and expecting to much for a small price or are the bills really that high?

250,000 Over 70s to get summer fuel rebate

Keeping a eye on energy costs

Keeping a eye on energy costs

The ‘big six’ UK energy suppliers have agreed to help a quarter of a million over 70s in the UK this summer with their fuel bills.

Those that qualify for this £80 rebate will be on very low incomes that must be eligible for a special ‘guarantee credit’. No claim is needed as the DWP inform the energy companies which pensioners can get the money off their bills.

This rebate scheme forms a part of the £150m ‘social assistance’ package that energy firms have agreed to provide in 2010/11 – this will only apply to customers of these suppliers: Scottish and Southern Energy (includes Atlantic Gas and Electricity, Swalec, Southern Electric and Scottish Hydro),British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, RWE npower, ScottishPower and and their subsidiary concerns.

The social assistance packages have attracted criticism from consumer groups.

What are your thoughts on this rebate? – does it go far enough? or could the energy companies do alot more to help the most vulnerable people in society?

Let us know what you think!

UK Gas and Electricity Bills Cut

This month has seen the latest round of energy price cuts from three of the ‘big six’ energy suppliers to the UK. The first of these companies to cut their bills was Scottish and Southern, who own Atlantic Gas and Electricity, Southern Electric, SWALEC and Scottish Hydro – they announced an average of 4% cut in domestic energy bills by the end of March.

British Gas then announced that it was cutting its prices by 7% – http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/feb/04/british-gas-cuts-gas-prices

…….. And today E.ON has cut its prices by 6% – http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE6272Z420100308

These cuts however, have not been met with universal approval and thanks very much from consumers. Many are critical that the savings that the companies are making from the drop in wholesale gas prices is not being passed onto consumers.

What are your opinions on the latest round of price cuts?

boiler scrappage – check the small print

When the government rolled out its scheme for Boiler Scrappage, we all thought: that’s a good idea. Then when the large companies followed suit, because they saw that it was a winner, we hardly considered it a bad thing.

Many of the power companies offered an extra £400 on top of the government’s £400,

But sometimes when they give with the right hand, they take with the left. I’ve been reading more and more stories in the press about dissatisfaction with some elements of these schemes.

When you dig a bit further though, it seems unfair to tar everyone with the same brush.

The problems seems that some of the companies’ are quoting very different prices for boilers than independent engineers have estimated the same boilers.

Not every company is playing this unfair game, so watch out when you’re looking to save yourself a couple of pennies this winter. Check around there are more than enough energy suppliers playing a fair game to stay clear of those that want to line their own pockets.

Energy Watcher Posts from The Archive

As we’ve just moved over here from WordPress we though that it would be a good idea to highlight some of the posts which summarise what Energy Watcher is all about for our new Friendster readers!

So, without further ado these are the ten most popular posts on Energy Watcher!

  1. BBC Electricity Generation calcualtor – Great tool from the Beeb which can help you measure your electricity usage.
  2. Oil and Gas to run out by 2015 – Alarming post on the depreciating reserves of Oil and Gas
  3. UK looks to Low Carbon economy – How the UK is trying to remould decades of dependency on fossill fuels
  4. UK charges up electric car trials – Post on a UK scheme testing out electric cars in an urban environment
  5. Go ahead for UK smart metering – Report on the long awaited introduction of smart metering for UK homes
  6. Green energy boom predicted – The benefits to the economy from Green Energy
  7. More pressure on UK energy suppliers – Details on regulatory attempts to tighten up the UK energy suppliers behaviour
  8. Scottish Government offers £10m wave energy prize – News on the Scottish Governments investment in the wave energy
  9. SSE tops energy survey – Scottish and Southern Energy rank highly in uSwitch survey
  10. Government reacts to rising energy costs – Moves by the UK goverment to try and protect consumers in the wake of rising gas and electricity costs.

Well, there you have it – the ten most popular posts on Energy Watcher before we moved over from WordPress. We hope it provides you with a little insight as to what we like to talk about. We will be back soon with some all new posts and debates!

Scottish and Southern: EDF Bid Possibility

Some potentially very big news for the UK energy sector has been emerging over the last day or so – SSE (controller of electricity suppliers Southern Electric, Swalec and Scottish Hydro Electric) is interested in bidding for the electricity networks business of EDF, a deal which could be worth over £4bn.

The French owned EDF is selling these assests to free up revenue for investment in a new generation of Nuclear Power stations that a planned throughout the UK.

However, OFGEM is unlikely to approve this scale of deal so SSE is looking to partner with another supplier (Canada’s Borealis looks likely).

This comes off the back of SSE announcing profits of £410.5m, a 35.7% increase on 2008.

For more on this developing story see:

 

http://business.scotsman.com/business/SSE-reveals-interest-in-4bn.5816877.jp

http://www.cityam.com/news-and-analysis/rq2erup26v.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssUtilitiesElectric/idUSLB22847320091111

 

What will this deal mean for the UK energy sector? All thoughts and opinions welcomed……………….

UK Looks to Low Carbon Economy

Published last month, the UK Department of Energy and Climate change strategy for the transition of the country to a low carbon economy makes for interesting reading. The ‘green economy’ is obviously an area that the government is staking alot of its faith in, and these plans flesh out how they intend to expolit this green energy wave.

To quote the launch website………………

The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan plots out how the UK will meet the cut in emissions set out in the budget of 34% on 1990 levels by 2020. A 21% reduction has already been delivered – equivalent to cutting emissions entirely from four cities the size of London.

Transforming the country into a cleaner, greener and more prosperous place to live is at the heart of our economic plans for Building Britain’s Future and ensuring the UK is ready to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.
By 2020:

  • More than 1.2 million people will be in green jobs
  • 7 million homes will have benefited from whole house makeovers, and more than 1.5 million households will be supported to produce their own clean energy
  • Around 40% of electricity will be from low carbon sources, from renewables, nuclear and clean coal
  • We will be importing half the amount of gas that we otherwise would
  • The average new car will emit 40% less carbon than now.

The Transition Plan is the most systematic response to climate change of any major developed economy, and sets the standard for others in the run up to crucial global climate talks in

Copenhagen in December.

You can order hard copies of the Low Carbon Transition Plan through The Stationary Office (TSO).[external Link]
Alongside the Low Carbon Transition Plan, a Low Carbon Industrial Strategy was also introduced. The targets laid out by this plan include:

  • Up to £60 million to capitalise on Britain’s wave and tidal sector strengths
  • Up to £15 million capital investment in order to establish a Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre
  • A £4 million expansion of the Manufacturing Advisory Service
  • Up to £10 million for the accelerated deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Up to £120 million to support the development of a British based offshore wind industry
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Well, there we go – what do you think of these announcements? Do these measures go far enough? or are they far too ambitious in light of the current economic climate which shows no signs of recovery any time soon. We welcome all your thoughts and opinions.

Green Energy Boom Prediction

Green Energy Boom

brownOver the next 8 years low carbon jobs will create 410,126 new jobs, the prime minister says that to boost the environment and help the country out of the current recession this is a must if we are to meet previous targets of reducing 60% of Co2 by the year 2050.

When current research was analyzed it shows that there will be around 1.25 million people working in the environmental sector by 2018.
With the recent drive around the world to reduce our carbon footprint the big countries are starting to see that they won t be immune from any future climate changes so are now living up to realism that they also must start putting measures in place or we will all face the consequences, with America now on board the we need to get the like so the world’s largest polluters on board and then we can all look forward to a happier greener environment and maybe even enjoy cheap electricity prices as the newer technologies allow us to produce energy cheaper than ever.