Utility Week

Utility Week 13th October 2017

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

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Community Role reversal The much-lauded smart home is something you read a lot about in the pages of Utility Week, the assumption being that it heralds an intercon- nected paradise of labour- saving devices and energy- efficient luxury. But what sort of world will it really be, muses Disconnector? Odds are it will be stranger than the one we anticipate. The great man ponders thus on hearing about the latest robotic offering from Japanese company Yukai Engineer- ing, which has just launched "Qoobo", a headless, legless robotic cat that wags its tail. Yup. The idea of the "cush- ioned, tailed therapy robot" is that you get all the advantages of owning a cat – something warm and furry to the touch that signals its pleasure at interacting with you – without any of the inconvenience. Somehow the great man finds the idea of robot pets more bleak than the threat of robot soldiers. Nuclear winter A curious story surfaced last week that wasn't given much coverage by the major news outlets: the spike in radio- activity detected in the air in western and central Europe. According to officials in Germany, elevated levels of the isotope Ruthenium-106 have been reported in Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France since last month. The source is still unknown, but calcula- tions indicate it may have been released in eastern Europe. The levels detected are low, 17,000 times lower than the limit set for this particle, and do not pose a threat to human health as of yet. Officials also said the source could not be an accident at a nuclear power plant. All of which is good to know. But in the semi-lawless badlands of the former Soviet Union, it is a tad alarming that radioactive materials are being bussed around the place. Aer all, from Islamic State to North Korea, there is no shortage of pantomime villains looking to acquire nuclear technology. If this were TV, we'd be sending Jack Bauer to investi- gate – and that never portends anything good. Darkness falls Talking of nuclear threats, Disconnector was somewhat alarmed to read that South Korea has developed what it is calling a "blackout bomb" that it claims could shut down North Korea in the event of a conflict breaking out by para- lysing the country's electricity system. The idea behind the "graphite bomb" is to cover Pyongyang's electrical facilities in carbon graphite filaments, which would shut down the country's power grid and nul- lify its nuclear threat. A South Korean military spokesman told the country's Yonhap news agency: "All tech- nologies for the development of a graphite bomb led by the Agency for Defence Develop- ment have been secured. "It is in the stage where we can build the bombs anytime." Disconnector has doubts. Night-time satellite pictures of the peninsular show large parts of North Korea shrouded in total blackness; the truth is that the country's infrastructure is pretty medieval as it is. If any country's population could rub along without electricity, it would be the benighted inhabit- ants of North Korea. For the good folks of South Korea, on the other hand, such a grid failure would be . And if there's one technology the North Koreans have mastered, it's hacking, so Disconnector's advice to Seoul would be com- mit the blueprints to paper and lock them in a safe. It's never a good idea to build a weapon that would be more devastating in your enemy's hands than your own. Disconnector Editor, Utility Week, and content director, Utilities: Ellen Bennett, t: 01342 332084, e: ellenbennett@fav-house.com; Deputy editor: Jane Gray, t: 01342 332087, e: janegray@ fav-house.com; Features editor: Lois Vallely, t: 01342 332080, e: loisvallely@fav-house.com; Deputy news editor: Katey Pigden, t: 01342 332082, e: kateypigden@fav-house.com; Senior reporter: Tom Grimwood, t: 01342 332061, e: tomgrimwood@fav-house.com; Policy correspondent: David Blackman, e: davidblackman@fav-house.com; Production editor: Paul Newton, t: 01342 332085, e: paulnewton@fav-house.com; Sales executive: Sidney Houliston, e: sidneyhouliston@fav-house.com. t: 01342 332009; Conference sponsorship manager: Sophie Abbott, t: 01342 332062, e; sophieabbott@fav-house.com; Publisher: Amanda Barnes, e: amandabarnes@ fav-house.com. General enquiries: 01342 332000; Membership enquiries: Peter Bissell, t: 01342 332057, e: peterbissell@fav-house.com. ISSN: 1356-5532. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office. Printed by: Buxton Press, 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 2015 Membership subscriptions: UK £669 per year. Overseas £781 per year. Contact Peter Bissell on: 01342 332057 Utility Week is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK's magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors' Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards and want to make a complaint please contact the editor, Ellen Bennett, at ellenbennett@fav-house.com. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors' Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit www.ipso.co.uk Gareth Miller @garethmillerCE Struggle to see how you can bridge gap to 5th carbon budget on one hand and cap domestic bills on the other. William Marchant @richonlyinname The movement towards default products being rolling fixes, rather than SVTs, will create a challenge when defining what caps are applied to. Caroline Flint @CarolineFlintMP "Labour has won this argument. Change is on the way… Now let's see the details." Me on energy price cap, please RT. ACE @uk_ace #energyefficiency has reduced average bills by £490 since 2004, and can reduce by £270 more in near future. How much will a price cap deliver? Richard Lowes @ukheatpolicy Does everyone miss the fact that we have some of the cheapest prices but highest bills? It's not bloody prices and caps, it's years of crap government policy on energy efficiency. Liz Lainé @lizlaineuk Vehicle-to-grid is shorthand for networks trying to keep a grip on decentralised power. Why would I pay to import power when EV is charged? James Heappey MP @JSHeappey Its fallacy that we get choice between nuclear and renewables. Electrification of heat and transport means huge increase in load. We need it all. SmartestEnergy @SmartestEnergy Removing renewable levies to avoid double charging [of storage] is welcome news, but we need to see more detail to understand which projects will benefit. Nick Molho @NickMolho Takeaways from #EVRevolution event: let network companies invest ahead of need, focus on system efficiency and increase partnerships. #EVs Top Tweets UTILITY WEEK | 13TH - 19TH OCTOBER 2017 | 31

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