Utility Week

UTILITY Week 22nd January 2016

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

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utILIty WEEK | 22nd - 28th January 2016 | 31 Community Editor, Utility Week, and content director, Utilities: Ellen Bennett, t: 01342 332084, e: ellen. bennett@fav-house.com; Assistant editor (insights): Jane Gray, t: 01342 332087, e: jane.gray@ fav-house.com; Associate insights editor: Mathew Beech, t: 01342 332082, e: mathew.beech@ 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; Lucinda dann, t: 01342 332083, e: lucinda.dann@fav-house.com; Saffron Johnson, t: 01342 332050, e: saffron.johnson@ fav-house.com; tom Grimwood, t: 01342 332061, e: tom.grimwood@fav-house.com; Business development manager: richard Powell, t: 01342 332062, e: richard.powell@ 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; 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 £637 per year. Overseas £749 per year. Top Tweets Don't eat the snow – any of it As pure as driven snow, that's how the expression goes. Well, that might have made sense in a bygone era but not today, apparently. As Arctic conditions once again threaten the UK, we all know not to eat yellow snow – but it turns out that in 21st cen- tury Britain you shouldn't eat any sort of snow, particularly if you live in a city, because it acts like a sponge to airborne pollutants. Researchers at Canada's McGill University pumped diluted exhaust fumes into an artificial snow chamber, and found that in just one hour the level of pollutants in the snow more than doubled. This means not only should you discourage your kids from eating mouthfuls of snow – no matter how clean it looks – but also that come the big thaw, all those pollutants are released back into the atmosphere. As if dirty, slushy snow in the city didn't look unpleasant enough already, it turns out it's toxic, too. I'm a celebrity, so's my wife The weather is no respecter of wealth and status, it turns out. The rain and storms that have swept across the UK recently have threatened to flood the home of no lesser a personage than George Clooney. Yup, the Hollywood A-lister and his wife Amal, a celebrity in her own right as a human rights lawyer, own a property near Reading in Berkshire that backs on to the River Thames and half the back garden is cur- rently under water. It's not your average home, of course, it's a nine-bedroom mansion set in a sprawling riverside plot with a price tag of £10 million. Neither is it the Clooneys' only home – so even if the rain does return and inundate the place, George and Amal are unlikely to turn up at the local community centre in need of a kind word and a cup of tea like the rest of us. It should anyway never come to pass, at least this year, since the forecast down south is not for more rain but a big freeze. For which Disconnector has only one piece of advice: don't eat the snow, George. We few, we precious few Talking of the wealthy and privileged – which the Clooneys must surely be – Disconnector was struck this week by the widespread coverage given to an Oxfam report that revealed the richest 62 people in the world had a combined wealth equal to half the world's popu- lation (albeit the poorest half). The broadsheets joined their tabloid brethren in being equally scandalised by this state of affairs, together with the fact that inequality is grow- ing. Apparently, back in 2010 you had to count the wealth of the richest 388 individuals before you got wealth equiva- lent to half the world's popula- tion (again, the poorest half). This is, of course, a perfect example of media sensational- ism. If you look at the percent- age distribution of wealth around the globe you get a much more accurate picture of what's going on: the richest 1 per cent have the same com- bined wealth as the other 99 per cent… on second thoughts, that's even worse. If there's a silver lining to this (and there really isn't), it's that with the impending global asset price crash as oil and commodity prices tank, the multi-squillionaires will suffer much worse than you – in percentage terms, of course. In real terms they will still have more cash than they can count and you'll be stony broke, but in terms of equality we'll have done a lot of catching up. Top tips Assuming you're not in that elusive 1 per cent, you'll need to save money where you can – such as on utility bills. These top tips come courtesy of The Daily Telegraph: One, ask your existing supplier if they have any cheaper deals. Two, shop around for the best deal. Three, use energy-saving light bulbs. It's enough to make a saint sigh. How can it be that anyone does not know this stuff? Disconnector Leonie Greene @LeonieGreene @DECCgovuk Smart Energy paper recognises delaying action will prove expensive. We're very keen to see clear strategic direction from Gov. Jonathan Reynolds MP @jreynoldsMP Hoping to speak in 2nd reading of Energy Bill today, or the 'Offshore Oil and Gas Bill that also harms renewables' as it could be called Ed Miliband @Ed_Miliband Planning to speak in energy bill debate to make case for putting zero emissions into law, reflecting the ambition of the Paris agreement. Ann Robinson @AnnRobinson8 Let's get serious about putting consumers in charge of financial/energy products and ser- vices. Too much power in hands of providers. Utilita Energy @UtilitaEnergy Old-fashioned #lightbulb could be set for comeback after 'light recycling' breakthrough William Marchant @richonlyinname Encouraging people to apply for compensation they won't get isn't the slickest PR move. STA @thesolartrade As FITs change: 'Lets be clear: solar remains a good investment for householders & an essential one for the planet.' Beth Gardiner @Gardiner_Beth Obama's halt on new coal mining leases is seriously big climate news. 40% of US coal comes from public land Reclaim The Power @nodashforgas "When #flooding becomes the new normal, you can't carry on with business as usual" #nodashforgas #redlines Guy Shrubsole @guyshrubsole Dear Government, please try not to build loads more homes in floodplains. Yours, the Committee on Climate Change Good Energy @GoodEnergy #didyouknow our CEO @DavenportJuliet is the only female energy company CEO? #WomenInSTEM

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