Saturday, 27 February 2010

Government firms-up£5k electric car incentive

Ministers have provided more detail on forthcoming incentives to encourage the uptake of electric cars.

The plans, first outlined last April, will allow people who buy a qualifying ultra-low emissions vehicle (ULEV) to receive a grant worth 25% of the vehicle's value, up to a maximum of £5,000.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has now said that the 'Plug-in Car Grant' will operate in a similar manner to the scrappage scheme, with motorists paying the discounted price and the manufacturer being responsible for claiming the subsidy back.

But while the scrappage incentive was made up of equal contributions from the Government and car manufacturers, the new grant is set to be wholly provided from the public purse in an attempt to encourage "pioneering motorists" to take up new technology.

However, it will not be available until January 2011, at which point ministers expect a wider range of eligible vehicles to be available. In its previous announcement, the Government made clear that only electric, or plug-in electric hybrids would qualify, seemingly precluding currently popular models such as Toyota's Prius.

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Energy giants accused of cashing in on boiler scrappage scheme

Some energy companies are ripping off householders using the Government’s boiler scrappage scheme by quoting inflated prices for a new boiler, according to industry experts.

The warning comes as a leading heating engineer says that paying £2,000 to replace a working boiler is “financial madness” and that the scrappage scheme has serious flaws.

The boiler scrappage scheme, launched last month, gives households £400 to replace old boilers with a new, energy-efficient model. British Gas, E.On, nPower and Scottish and Southern have matched the Government scheme by offering an additional £400 discount. But some householders hoping to claim £800 off the cost of a new boiler have complained that British Gas is quoting far higher figures than independent engineers.

Peter Thom, of Green Heat, the heating engineer, says: “The energy suppliers are top-loading the price and then offering an £800 discount. A customer I saw in Cambridge received a quote from British Gas of £5,012 for a boiler replacement, which reduced to £4,212 with the £800 discount. Our quotation for exactly the same work and identical boiler was £2,894.”

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Boiler scrappage scheme - landlords can apply

Landlords are being reminded of the benefits of the Government’s boiler scrappage scheme, which was launched for households in England in January.

According to letting specialist, Leaders, private landlords can apply alongside homeowners.

For those with old G-rated boilers, it provides £400 towards the cost of a new energy efficient device.

Government figures put the potential saving per household at over £200 per year and the entire project, which involves removing 125,000 G-rated boilers, will save around 140,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

Leaders’ managing director, Paul Weller, comments: “Not only could this mean less in maintenance costs and hassle for our landlords, it will save our tenants a significant amount in energy costs.”

The firm says it has also negotiated additional discounts for its landlords through some of its gas contractors.
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Monday, 22 February 2010

Energy giants earn extra 40% in profits per home

Britain’s biggest energy companies earned an average 40 per cent more in profits per household over winter following a collapse in the wholesale prices they paid for gas and electricity, Ofgem, the energy regulator, said today.

Net margins earned by the companies, which include British Gas, ScottishPower, EDF Energy, RWE npower and E.ON, soared from an average of £75 per average dual fuel customer in November to £105 at the start of this month.

Ofgem pointed out that the increase in margins, to its highest level in six years, was likely to be short-lived because one big supplier, British Gas, recently cut its gas prices by 7 per cent in a move that is expected to open the floodgates to further price cuts from its rivals.

Nevertheless, the report is likely to prompt fresh calls for a competition committee inquiry as Centrica, the owner of British Gas, prepares to announce 2009 profits of about £550 million on Thursday.
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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Scotland gets the go ahead for a Boiler Scrappage Scheme

It has today been announced that Scotland is going ahead with a Boiler Scrappage scheme, aimed at households with a G-rated efficiency boiler.

The scrappage scheme is providing £2m of funding which will be allocated as £400 towards the cost of a replacement A rated boiler. The A rated boilers can be combi boilers or system boilers. So long as they're A-rated, which means that they're highly efficient, it doesn't matter which format of heating system you choose.

central heating boilers are used in all but a few homes in the UK, with many homes still running on an old boiler - such as a back boiler which has a pilot light. It's claimed by the Energy Saving Trust that householders could save over £200 per year on their gas bill if they upgrade their boiler from a G-rated to an A-rated boiler.

If you're considering replacing your boiler, you may also like to consider replacing your heating radiators, if they're the same age as your boiler. Over time, the inside of your radiators can deteriorate, causing sediment to block your pipework and possibly damage your boiler's heat exchanger.

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Boiler scrappage scheme hit by delays

Thousands of householders who have applied for the government's boiler scrappage scheme are facing long delays for the vouchers needed to give their installers the go ahead.

The scheme, which was launched about three weeks ago, is designed to cut carbon emissions and help people save money on energy bills by offering householders a £400 voucher to replace their old G-rated boiler with an A-rated one.

It has received such an enthusiastic response from consumers that the Energy Saving Trust, the organisation that administers the scheme, has admitted it is battling to clear a huge backlog of applications.

By the beginning of this week it had received 160,000 calls, and around 36,000 people had applied for one of the 125,000 available vouchers.

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Sunday, 7 February 2010

The battery's dead

The battery, which has powered our lives for generations, may soon be consigned to the dustbin of history.

British scientists say they have created a plastic that can store and release electricity, revolutionising the way we use phones, drive cars - and even wear clothes.

It means the cases of mobiles and iPods could soon double up as their power source - leading to gadgets as thin as credit cards.
The technology could also lead to flexible computer screens that can be folded up and carried around like a piece of paper.

And it could even be used to create 'electric clothes' that charge up as a person moves around and which slowly release heat when the weather gets cold.

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