Utility Week

Utility Week 1st November 2013

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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Community Disconnector Convenience food It is often said of utility compa nies that a measure of their suc cess is their invisibility. That's certainly true of the network companies – the only time the average consumer is even aware of their existence is when there is an outage or a blockage. This doubtless hurts the feeling of some of the hard-working men and women of the utilities sec tor, particularly those who deal with sewers and the treatment and disposal of human effluent. After all, things lavatorial are not considered suitable topics of conversation for dinner parties, are they? Think again! Or at least, think again if you happen to be head ing off to the Magic Restroom Café just outside Los Angeles in the US. The entire restaurant is toilet themed, where customers sit on lavatories instead of chairs and even the food is served in miniature toilet bowls. Wherever possible the food is prepared with the same USP in mind – you can imagine how they might serve their chocolate ice cream. The enterprise is the brain child of Taiwanese entrepre neur Gin Han, who spotted an opening in the market when he moved to LA and realised that there wasn't a single toiletinspired eatery in the whole state! He may come to realise that there's a good explanation for that, but apparently it's a well-established theme for res taurants in Asia and for now the Piece of cake novelty is keeping the punters coming. Where's the muck there's brass – that was an expression Disconnector often heard from wise old heads when he were a lad. Not sure that's what they had in mind, though. Flush and bang One man who won't be heading off to the Magic Restroom Café any time soon is Michel Pierre, who lives in an apartment block in New York. Michel was testing the water pressure in his flat when the toilet exploded, cover ing him in shards of porcelain and leaving him lying bloody and unconscious. The 58-year-old needed 30 stitches in his face, arms and legs. And it wasn't just him that got an unwanted shower that day. Another three toilets exploded in the building after the water was turned off. It is thought a build-up of air pressure was pushed through the pipes when the supply was switched back on, leading to the explosions. Michel claims the incident has left him so traumatised that he now uses a rope to flush the toilet from a safe distance. Needless to say, he's suing the company that manages the apartments and is responsible for the plumbing. It must be a matter of some relief to the hapless Brooklyn man that he wasn't sitting on the loo at the time. Sitting duck The travails of Mr Pierre serve as a timely reminder that all sorts of dangers lurk in the home, even from household items we take for granted such as the humble loo. Mind you, no amount of foresight or caution would have done a pensioner on the Norwegian island of Vesteroy much good when he got injured using the lavatory in his log cabin. Another man was hunt ing moose nearby when he saw one loitering near the aforementioned cabin, took a potshot at the beast, missed completely, and hit the sitting pensioner in the stomach with the stray shot. Fortunately for all concerned, the victim, in his 70s, was airlifted to hospi tal in good time and his inju ries are not life-threatening. Neither the hunter nor his victim have been named, but the former was reported in the local media as being distraught over the incident. It being Nor way, the hunter will be hit with a citation for negligence but will not otherwise face any charges. Super bowl So, never take Thomas Crap per's ubiquitous device for granted. One way or another there's invariably more to it than meets the eye. And lest we forget, the powers that be have ordained that 19 Novem ber is World Toilet Day. Seriously. Editor:  Ellen Bennett, t: 01342 332084, e: ellen.bennett@fav-house.com; Energy editor:  Megan Darby, t: 01342 332087, e: megan.darby@fav-house.com; Features editor:  Karma Ockenden, t: 01342 332086, e: karma.ockenden@fav-house. com; Reporter:  Mathew Beech, t: 01342 332082, e: mathew.beech@fav-house.com; Reporter:  Conor McGlone, t: 01342 332083, e: conor.mcglone@fav-house.com; Production editor:  Paul Newton, t: 01342 332085; Business development manager: Ed Roberts, t: 01342 332067, e: ed.roberts@fav-house.com; Sales executive: Nicky Shaw, t: 01342 332070, e: nicky.shaw@fav-house.com; Publisher:  Amanda Barnes, e: amanda.barnes@fav-house.com. General enquiries:  01342 332000; Subscriptions:  UK £543 per year, Overseas £655 per year, t: 01342 332011. ISSN: 1356-5532. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office. Printed by: Buxton Press, Palace Road, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6AE. Published by:  Faversham House Ltd, Windsor Court, Wood Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 1UZ In what is surely a sign that everyone is becoming middle class, National Grid revealed last week that the final of the TV show The Great British Bake Off caused a 400MW surge in electricity demand. According to the company, the surge in demand in the five minutes after the show aired was "sufficient to bake 6.4 million cupcakes". Disconnector thinks this should be adopted as a standard measure of electrical output. Thus Hinkley Point C would come in at an impressive 52 million cupcakes. Key advice Okay, so how many readers could hand-onheart say that they knew 1 November is National Radiator Day? Well it is. Apparently. And the Energy and Utilities Alliance has urged MPs from all parties to support the drive to raise people's awareness of the value of maintaining their radiators. To help persuade them, it has sent every MP a radiator key. One wonders what the members with duck houses and moats will make of it when it arrives in the post. Perhaps they'll give it to their valets. Subscriptions:  UK £543 per year, Overseas £655 per year fhcustomerservices@ abacusemedia.com 3,580 Average circulation Jan–Dec 2012 UTILITY WEEK | 1st - 7th November 2013 | 31

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