Utility Week

Utility Week 13th February 2015

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

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UTILITY WEEK | 13TH - 19TH FEBRUARY 2015 | 31 Community Disconnector Editor: Ellen Bennett, t: 01342 332084, e: ellen.bennett@fav-house.com; News editor: Jillian Ambrose, t: 01342 332061, e: jillian.ambrose@fav-house.com; Associate news editor: Mathew Beech, t: 01342 332082, e: mathew.beech@fav-house.com; Insights editor: Jane Gray, t: 01342 332087, e: jane.gray@fav-house.com; Research analyst: Vidhu Dutt, t: 01342 332026, e: vidhu.dutt@fav-house.com; Reporter: Lois Vallely, t: 01342 332083; e: lois.vallely@fav-house.com; Business development manager: Ed Roberts, t: 01342 332067, e: ed.roberts@fav-house.com; Business development executive: Sarah Wood, t: 01342 332077, e: sarah.wood@fav-house.com; Publisher: Amanda Barnes, e: amanda.barnes@fav-house.com. General enquiries: 01342 332000; Subscriptions: UK £577 per year, Overseas £689 per year, t: 020 8955 7045. 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 Name that tune Disconnector has no idea how successful EDF Energy has been with its TV advertising campaign promoting its Blue+Price Prom- ise tariff, but it seems to have caught the eye of the nation's youth, or at least its ear. The soundtrack to its ad is a catchy 90s dance track called Blue by Eiffel 65, and last week it entered the UK Top Shazamed Ads, at number 6. (For elderly readers, Shazam is a smartphone app that lets users identify the artist and title of a piece of music by waving their phone in front of a speaker.) Okay, so the demographic Shazaming (is that even a word? – Ed) TV ads is unlikely to be the decision-maker when it comes to choosing a household's energy supplier, but with trust levels between energy firms and the public at such low levels, it may yet pay to get 'em young. Sneaky sets In the world we've grown up in, people slob out in front of their TVs. If we want to know who sang a particular song, we just push a button on our smartphone and back comes the answer without us having to leave our chair. In fact, so lazy have we become that electronics manu- facturers are developing voice recognition interfaces for their products, based on the premise that using a remote control is just too much darned effort. Disconnector However, it may not just be a case of our electronic goods listening out for us, they could be eavesdropping on our private conversations – and transmit- ting what they hear to whomever has the access codes. This came to light when Electronic Frontier Foundation activist Parker Higgins took to Twitter to alert humanity about the supplementary privacy policy Samsung had attached to its internet-enabled TVs with speech recognition. This informed customers that the voice recognition feature would allow the TV to capture voice commands and send them back to Samsung and third parties to help the company and its partners develop the interface. It warned people "if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that infor- mation will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party". In short, be careful what you say in front of the TV. The national media went to town on the story. You can't blame them – having to be care- ful what you say because your TV is listening is literally Orwellian. It's straight out of 1984. Birmingham University pro- fessor Mike Jackson suggested it would be straightforward for security agencies to tap into the system and monitor households for, say, terrorists. Aer all, they already know where you are thanks to the GPS in your phone. Makes you think, huh? If there's a silver lining to the dystopian vision of us being snitched on by the technology in our own homes, it is that by the time the smart meter rollout gets into full swing, the "spy in the hall" wail of its opponents will look pretty paltry. Who cares if the police or anyone else can capture information about your general energy usage? It's the secrets passed on by your TV that you have to worry about. Or your electric blanket. Hairy situation As it happens, technology can be more than a passively aggressive TV ready to dob you in to the authorities, as a South Korean woman found to her cost when she was attacked by her robot vacuum cleaner. "Attacked" might be over- stating it. She fell asleep on the floor in front of the TV, where the circular device found her on one of its periodic tours of the house and promptly tried to hoover her up. Her long hair was sucked into its rollers, pin- ning her to the floor, and it took the emergency services to extri- cate her from the appliance. She came through the expe- rience with less hair, but was otherwise unharmed. The episode does, however, throw a sinister light on the "smart" home and the internet of "things". We can already be located, spied on and apprehended by our electronic appliances, and we haven't even invented time-travelling killer robots yet… 3,580 Average circulation Jan–Dec 2014 Subscriptions: UK £577 per year, Overseas £689 per year fhcustomerservices@ abacusemedia.com Caroline Lucas @CarolineLucas Just asked Minister if he shares disgust at Ofgem recent advice to those in fuel poverty to save £ by making kids packed lunches 3WhitehallPlace @3WhitehallPlace Are you struggling to pay your energy bill? Why not order just one bottle of Chablis this lunchtime? Ofgem @ofgem Money savings tips: We're very sorry if we gave any offence while talking about energy switching on 7 Jan Energy Saving Trust @EnergySvgTrust Rules banning letting of energy inefficient buildings "most significant piece of legislation in a generation" Martin Lewis @MartinSLewis While the energy select committee on comparison sites make some good points, they're fundamentally misunderstanding some of the basics William Marchant @richonlyinname Worried by signs poor trust in suppliers could jump fence into price comparison sites. The latter are far more of a force for good than bad David Watson @davidwatson DECC cust survey also suggests concern about energy prices easing slightly; 31% worried about paying for energy vs 49% in Q12014. Clearly more to do, however direction of travel is promising Tom Greatrex @tomgreatrexmp When I grow up I want to be chat with twins (5yo) - 'I want to be a politician', & 'I want to be a nun'. Is @bbcqt on @CBeebiesfun now? The Mushy Pea @TheMushyPea #climatechange is so fashionable it has opened an artisanal winegum shop near Dalston Junction. Or something Good Energy @GoodEnergy Roses are red, violets are blue, go green this year & give the planet love too! #ValentinesDay Top Tweets

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