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Monday, 10 September 2012

Saving electrcity in your commercial or industrial site

This Blog post is written by Jonathan Anstey of Carbon Management Services and explains about an emerging technology for business to save money on electric and reduce their carbon footprint.


Businesses could be wasting up to 20 per cent of the energy you pay for?

Around 90 per cent of electricity consumers pay for more than they need. Power supplied by the distribution network isn’t at the optimum voltage, so your equipment is being over-supplied with subtle but significant consequences.
 This can be expensive, however it can be corrected by fitting a Voltage Optimisation System. 

How does it work?

Most electrical equipment in Europe is designed and manufactured to run at 220V but most buildings are supplied voltage much higher than this. Around 90% of UK buildings use more electricity than they actually need - simply because their power is not optimised.

If your power is not optimised, you are paying up to 20% more electricity than you need and at the same time, emitting up to 15% more CO2.

In one stroke, the “Enviro-Volt ™ Voltage Optimisation System" can, cut energy consumption, reduce your costs and emissions, and protect your equipment – going green has never been more profitable. 

Why should you optimise your supply?

Electrical equipment (such as motors, HVAC and lighting) performs inefficiently when exposed to excessive voltage and poor power quality. Take a normal 230V rated lamp – when run at 240V, it will fail after 550 hours instead of 1000, drawing nine per cent more energy. Now imagine that problem spread across an entire site, with every single component failing faster and wasting energy.
That’s expensive and can be corrected by fitting an “Enviro-Volt” Voltage Optimisation System.

If you'd like to find out more about Voltage optimisation, We invite you to have a survey carried out at your site/ sites; which is complimentary and will allow us to put together a proposal detailing how much money and CO₂ the site stands to save.

Jonathan Anstey
Business Development Manager
Carbon Management Services

M: +44 (0) 7590 679 477 T: +44 (0) 207 296 0000

Cheaper Electricity & Gas costs covered by loyal customers

Cheaper electricity and gas offers are costing long standing loyal customers over £150 more than they should be paying every year, MPs have been told.
However cheap deals for switching to another energy company are soon lost when energy firms ramp up their prices to claw money back, the Commons Energy Select Committee were told
About eight out of ten families that stay with the same provider – do so not knowing that the extra cash they pay out is used to attract new business.
Labour MP John Robertson said: “There are 85% of customers who don’t switch. What do they get for being loyal?” He added: “The perception of you guys is that you’re all a bunch of money-grabbing so-and-sos.”
Robertson’s remarks came after Stephen Fitzpatrick, the head of new provider Ovo Energy, told MPs that Britain’s big six energy giants were abusing loyal customers who did not like switching tariffs.
Fitzpatrick said: “We’re seeing an increase in the big six selling products to new customers at a loss in order to squeeze out new competition.”
He added: “It is predatory pricing to stifle competition.
“This is the biggest problem in the electric and gas sector. You could have two houses next to each other, using the same amount of energy, with one paying hundreds of pounds a year more than the other.”
He added that the poorest and most vulnerable people were those least likely to switch energy suppliers. Many of the cheaper gas and electricity deals are given on 'internet only tariffs' customers who don't switch are the older generation may not have access to the internet so keep paying more, yet they are the ones who need it most!
Britain’s top energy chiefs yesterday rejected Mr Fitzpatrick’s claims – but there was an admission they had not always treated customers properly.
85% of customers are paying too much for their bills to cut the costs paid by 15% of new customers who switch. Customers should be spending around £150 a year less.
EDF director Martin Lawrence admitted the big six had been “too clever” trying to rake in more profits in the past. He said: “(Have we) woken up and smelt the coffee? I think you’re right.”

Only time will tell, however there is one supplier that is different in the UK...

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Switching on to green tariffs for electric and gas

I've been doing a bit of research on "Green energy tariffs" provided by utility energy suppliers, as they always sounded a bit suspect to me. The idea is that you pay a little more for your energy which offsets your carbon foot print for the gas and electricity that you use as well as investment in to renewable energy generation.

Now I'm all up for being eco friendly and I think we do our bit in our house for the environment and importantly doing our best to keep our energy bills as low as possible, so I wanted to see how much our energy would be on an eco friendly  "green tariff" I found it hard to believe that if I switched to a green tariff it would cost us an massive £136 per year which works out to be 21%. 

I found a great site about our carbon footprint simply called to do some calculations on the energy we use, Now the total energy that we use causes a carbon footprint of 1.43 tonnes of CO2 per year, I then looked at what I'd have to do to 'offset' this energy use (you can see the results here) and I was stunned to find that I could offset our use by donating between £9.98 - £28.52, I know there is more to green energy than just the offsetting but even if I double or triple that, what I could spend through to 'give back' to the environment I'd still be saving money!

Surely if sourcing energy from green and renewable sources utility companies should be providing and working to that goal anyway and not charging the consumer more.
So I've decided I'm going to stay on the tariff I'm currently on and pay to have some trees planted every year so I know where my money is going also this helps wildlife too. This is of course just my opinion and results based on my home.


Thursday, 24 March 2011

Home electrics - What to do if your lights are not working

Last post I spoke about what to do if your electric sockets aren't working today its the lights. This is a simple one to sort out first you need to establish if it's just the lamp (bulb) that has blown, or are all the lights off in which case it would be a fuse has blown or circuit breaker has tripped. to do this try lights in other rooms and/or replace the lamp.

Note: sometimes when a lamp blows it will trip a circuit breaker in modern consumer units.

Most houses have at least 2 circuits for lighting an upstairs and downstairs circuit as this helps minimise inconvenience when a fuse/circuit breaker blows also it splits up the load of all the lights.

If the fuse/ circuit breaker has blown then either replace the fuse wire with 5amp wire* and then check that the light now comes on if it doesn't and the fuse/circuit breaker blows again then you'll need to call an electrician if the fuse/circuit breaker are on but there are no lights then there is a problem with the wiring and you'll need to call an electrician to find the fault.

Keep safe

* replacing fuse wire with the incorrect size wire or any other material can cause a circuit to not be correctly protected if there is a fault, this is dangerous as the fuse is a protective device and can prevent fires and electric shocks.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Socket outlets not working?

If your sockets/power stops working in your home it can be very inconvenient, this post is all about getting to the bottom of the problem and potentially saving you money.

If it is just one appliance in your home that has stopped working then plug the appliance into another socket in your home and another appliance (a side lamp is usually best) into the original socket to establish if it is the appliance itself or the socket/series of sockets.

Check at the consumer unit/fuseboard if the circuit breaker has tripped or fuse has blown, or in the case of new boards that the Residual Current Device (RCD) has tripped.

If the the breaker of fuse has blown, unplug all appliances and then reset the breaker or rewire/replace the fuse, then one by one plug in all the appliances. If the breaker/RCD won't reset at all or the fuse blows you'll need to get an electrician in to have a look at the circuit, if it does reset you'll need to plug in the appliances one by one to find out which one caused the problem, then you'll either need to have it repaired or replaced.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Can I do my own Electrics?

In short the answer is yes.
In reality I'd say you're better off leaving it to the professionals, certain works are okay such as replacing a socket, but when you get up to installing new circuits, replacing fuse boards for consumer units then the work needs to be tested, certified and registered with building control under part p of the building regulations.

So unfortunately you can do any work you want and I say unfortunately because I've had to go and sort out DIY electrics gone wrong many times with simple things such as a light being installed wrongly.

The issue with electrics is work can be done badly and it will still work, but can be dangerous, It's a pretty good sign that if someone has to ask a question such as 'what cable should I use' then they shouldn't be doing that work.

On top of this most DIYers don't have a van full of tools, the test equipment needed, the insurance if it goes wrong or the experience if they encounter a situation and don't know what to do.

Many DIYer grossly underestimate how long a job will take and then take short cuts they think will be okay in order to finish the job. Also look at it this way an Electrician could do a job a lot quicker because of experience, so where it may take an electrician 1 hour a DIYer may take 2,3,4 hours. Wouldn't that time be better spent with the kids or on a day out with friends and save 'Work' for Mon-Fri.

Just remember that electricity is dangerous and about 11 people each year are killed from shocks, 7501 are injured from electric shocks and there are around 8074 fires caused by faulty electrics. It can be easy to take electricity for granted but as I always say 'just because it works, doesn't mean it's right'.

Be safe

Monday, 3 January 2011

Replacing an electrical fuseboard (Consumer Unit)

This blog post is all about having an electrical fuse board now known as a consumer unit replaced, what you should expect and how much it will cost.
Having an electrical fuseboard replaced is an involved job and not as simple as some may think, however for the trained professional it is a simple job. Replacing a fuse board with a consumer unit is generally a full days work, depending how big the property is, you can expect the work to take this long for a 3 bedroom house, but why?

An Electrical Installation Certificate
Firstly the electrical installation needs to be tested to make sure it's safe and that the new consumer unit won't trip when the circuits are connected it, if there is an electrical fault then this will need to be rectified before the fuse board is replaced. Once the installation has been inspected and tested the board can then be replaced, the tails (wires) feeding the board need to be replace and most times the earthing has to be upgraded too, sometimes the cables for the circuits are too short and then need to be extended which can add more time to the process.Once all this has been done a few more tests need to be done and an electrical installation certificate needs to be completed. 

If you have had or having a fuse board replaced for a consumer unit, and you have been told it will only take a couple of hours then it is possible the job will not be done properly!

How much will it cost?
I once quoted to change a fuse board, when I followed up with the customer to see if he wanted to go ahead with the work he said he'd found someone who could do it cheaper, When I asked how much I was given the reply £210, I was shocked (no pun intended) to hear this as the materials cost alone was was over £120 which meant he was only going to charge £90 for labour/overheads, I asked the customer if he'd asked the electrician (I use the term loosely) how long it would take - he was told it would be about a couple of hours! 
I strongly feel that the customer would not have had a good job done in this instance or been done properly, if you are quoted these sort of figures the I would definitely get a second opinion.

Prices as ever vary from electrician to electrician but I know prices can be around £350 - £650 Which includes Labour, materials, testing and certification. Again it depends the size of the electrical installation a studio flat will be less however a five bed house will be more. 

Hertford Electrician