Saturday, 31 December 2011

Postponement of solar tariff cuts welcomed

The region’s renewable energy suppliers have welcomed a High Court ruling which postponed planned cuts to solar tariffs – but warned uncertain times still lay ahead for the industry.
East Anglia’s domestic energy sector has grown dramatically in recent years as homeowners rushed to cash in on a government incentive guaranteeing a payment for every kilowatt generated by solar panels on their roofs.

But the burgeoning industry was thrown into panic on October 31 when energy minister Greg Barker announced the feed-in tariff (FIT) would be halved from 43p to 21p/kWh for systems up to 4kW registered after December 12.

The five-week deadline prompted an unprecedented rush for installations – and a legal challenge by Friends of the Earth and two solar companies who said it was creating “huge economic uncertainty”.

Last Wednesday, Mr Justice Mitting agreed the decision to set the deadline 11 days before the consultation into the scheme had finished was unlawful.

But after the government 
announced it would appeal against the ruling, the region’s suppliers are once again anxiously awaiting confirmation of changes which could affect their customers and employees.

full article

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is lethal because it hijacks haemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells. This starves the body of oxygen, affecting vital functions, causing a heart attack, coma and ultimately death.

While most households have a smoke detector, less than a third have a carbon monoxide alarm, which cost from £10.

Even if you have no fuel-burning appliances in your home, you still need an alert because the gas can pass though walls from next door.

Tony Brunton, of CO Awareness, says always look for a UK certified alarm that makes a noise, rather than flashes, if the gas is detected. ‘Carbon monoxide can kill in three minutes,’ he says. ‘If it’s in the house, you want something that tells you to get out immediately, not flashes up a different colour.’

Beware if:
■  You see yellow or orange flames in boilers and heaters when there should be blue ones.
■ There is soot on the walls around fires and water heaters.
■  Your chimney is blocked by nesting birds or your exit flue or airbricks are covered by plants growing up the walls.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are, in many ways, similar to flu.

The key difference is that they tend to disappear as soon as you go outside and get fresh air as the oxygen levels in the blood are restored. That’s why it’s important to mention any concerns about ventilation or heating in your home to your doctor.

Symptoms to watch out for include:

Anxiety and depression
Tiredness and drowsiness
Heart palpitations
Chest pain
Personality change and clumsiness

full article

Monday, 5 December 2011

Fraudsters selling dangerous energy saving devices

More than 200 complaints about phone calls from fraudsters fooling people into buying dangerous energy saving devices are probably only "the tip of the iceberg" warned the Trading Standards Insitutute.

The victims are called by the fraudsters who claim to be their energy supplier or working in partnership with them. Victims are offered a £99 plug in device which the callers claims can save people 40 per cent on their energy bills.

But according to tests run by trading standards, a number of the items sold not only failed to satisfy electrical safety standards but do not deliver any tangible energy savings.

full article

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Surge in orders as householders cash in on solar power

Staff at a leading regional renewable energy company are working through the night to cope with a surge in orders as householders rush to beat a looming “cash” deadline.

Since the Government announced it was reducing the money it pays for electricity generated by solar panels on domestic properties, Harrogate-based Clean Energy (Yorkshire) have been working around the clock to cope with demand.

A month ago, the business, based at Pannal Business Park, was working on an average of 10 installations a week. But, when it was announced the feed-in tariff was to be cut from 43.3p per unit to 21p per unit from December 12, this number has now soared to more than 25 a week.

full article

Friday, 2 December 2011

Homeowners could get £100 energy bill reprieve

Energy customers could see their bills fall by £100 in the next year due to falling wholesale prices if the Eurozone collapses.
According to figures from comparison website the wholesale cost of gas has already slumped 21pc since the peak in early September. Then, it was 78.3 pence per therm. It now stands at 61.5 pence per therm. During the same period, wholesale electricity prices dropped 15pc, falling from £5.62 per Megawatt Hour to £4.79 per Megawatt Hour.

Forecasts from the site indicate that, should the euro collapse, the impact on global energy markets is likely to be similar to the period 2008-09 following the demise of Lehman Brothers' when wholesale prices crashed by 66pc. This led to two years of tentative price drops in residential energy prices with reductions of 6.9pc in 2009 and of around 5pc in 2010.

Applied to the current average annual dual fuel bill of £1,345, a 6.9pc price drop would lead to residential price cuts of £93 next year.

full article