Utility Week

UTILITY Week 4th September 2015

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

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UTILITY WEEK | 4TH - 10TH SEPTEMBER 2015 | 31 Community Editor, Utility Week, and content director, Utilities: 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; Assistant editor (insights): Jane Gray, t: 01342 332087, e: jane.gray@fav-house. com; Research analyst: Vidhu Dutt, t: 01342 332026, e: vidhu.dutt@fav-house.com; Reporters: Lois Vallely, t: 01342 332080; e: lois.vallely@fav-house.com and Lucinda Dann, t: 01342 332083; e: lucinda.dann@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; Membership subscriptions: UK £577 per year, overseas £689 per year, t: 020 8955 7045 or email membership sales manager Paul Tweedale: paultweedale@fav-house.com. 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 3,580 Average circulation Jan–Dec 2014 Membership subscriptions: UK £577 per year. Overseas £689 per year. Email: paultweedale@fav-house.com Jimmy Aldridge @AldridgeJimmy We've spent the big bucks on PV to get costs down. What a shame to lose the benefit of that early investment just before it pays back. David Powell @powellds Under new FIT regime, DECC admits only "altruistic" community energy schemes are likely to go ahead. Thanks, Amber. Chris Nicholson @ChrisANicholson Is very clear that @DECCgovuk has given up any intention to meet 2020 renewable energy legal target. How long b4 they are taken to court? Alex Marshall @alexmarshall81 Haven't seen much asking what the declining oil price means for Paris (disaster) and also the fossil fuel subsidies argument (ditto) PeterMannionMP @PeterMannionMP I've no problem with gender balance in Lords appointments but can't ministers look beyond end of their noses when nominating them? OfWTF @OfwatTF @Ofwat took 6 years to resolve a complaint. They are so proud, they tweeted it #efficiency #customerservice Ian Wright @EQUINOXSEARCH Nice that @UnitedUtility allowing us to drink the water we've been paying for for the past 3 wks.. Wonder how much refund we get!? @Ofwat William Marchant @richonlyinname If a supplier incentivises landlords to prevent switching, supplier holds culpability for that outcome. Arms length doesn't mitigate guilt Simon Evans @DrSimEvans The oil & gas in the quarter-billion-barrel North Sea field approved today is equivalent to 108MtCO2 - a quarter of annual UK emissions. NI Water @niwnews Back to school? Keep yourself hydrated. Water helps boost energy and concentration Top Tweets Disconnector It pays to poo The further we are from the simple, honest agricultural existence of our forebears, the more we fetishise all things "natural", which if you think about it is odd for a popula- tion of urbanites almost totally reliant on petrol, plastics and computer chips. One population that is get- ting back to nature more than the authorities like is in India, where half the inhabitants (nearly 600 million people) use the open fields as their daily toilet. For many it is a matter of necessity, of course, but even where public toilets are pro- vided, they are being ignored. It turns out that people don't like changing their ways. Plus, rumour has it witches live in the concrete buildings housing the loos. So the local government has had to end up paying people to use the toilets: one rupee a day. Disconnector can only guess at what bemused Indian travel- lers think when they roll up at the public toilets at Victoria station and are asked to cough up 50p for the privilege. Butterfly brain Which is not to say that we can't learn from the natural world, of course. Disconnector was intrigued by research from the Univer- sity of Exeter published in the journal Scientific Reports suggesting that arrays of photovoltaic cells could benefit from mimicking the humble Cabbage White butterfly. Apparently it's long been known that the Cabbage White takes to the air earlier in the morning than most other spe- cies of butterfly, which implies it is able to warm its wing muscles more quickly, but no-one has known how. Until now. A team of experts from the university has worked out that at first light the butterfly holds its wings at an optimal 17 degrees from horizontal, pointed towards the sun. This, combined with clever struc- tures in its wings to help reflect light, make the insect an expert at harvesting solar power. The researchers have designed a reflective coating material they say mimics the Cabbage White and can dramatically increase the effi- ciency of solar arrays, angled at 17 degrees from the horizon. Further development should lead to a commercial product soon. It's a man's world Some people, of course, really are very clever. Take Jono Wil- liams, for instance, the New Zealand man who has built himself a futuristic house atop a tower in a forest in Linton. It has 360 degree views to die for and must count as one of the most luxurious man-dens in the world. The plastics engineer came up with the idea over drinks with a friend and has since ploughed his time and £30,000 cash into making his Skysphere a reality. It has all the essentials a man needs, including flatscreen LED TV, solar power, a wireless sound system and a curved white leather couch incorporating a refrigerated beer dispenser. In fact, the only thing it doesn't have is a toilet, but hey, New Zealand has plenty of land. Use the fields. Relax, it's all a dream Unfortunately, it could turn out that Jono's completely wasting his time because the world isn't real anyway and we're all just living in a computer simulation, a la The Matrix. That's the idea being touted by Robert Lawrence Kuhn, an American writer and host of PBS television programme Closer to Truth, who says it would be virtually impossible to detect if we were living in a computer program. Which is true, thinks Disconnector, but unlikely. Surely a world in which half the population doesn't even have access to a toilet is one designed by humans, not machines. Disconnector

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