Thursday, 31 January 2013

electric cars must make noise

The US Department for Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced a proposal for a “minimum sound standard” for hybrid and electric vehicles.

According to the NHTSA’s figures, the introduction of such a regulation would help prevent as many as 2,800 injuries to pedestrians and cyclists every year.

The sound standard would be applied to all hybrid and electric cars that are able to operate without the assistance of a noisy internal combustion engine at low speeds – whether that be all the time or just occasionally – and mandated up to 18mph.

Beyond 18mph there’s enough noise generated by wind resistance and the passage of the tyres over the road surface to make the approach of a vehicle apparent to anyone who might otherwise be unexpectedly injured by it.

The sound wouldn’t have to be the same as a regular car – and in fact carmakers will be able to offer consumers a choice – but it must be recognisably distinctive and there would be minimum requirements.

For example, it also must be audible above “a wide range of street noises and other ambient background sounds”.

US Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood:

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


interesting new iOS accessories hitting the market in the near future. The first is the i-Massager from China-based company E-Tek, a certified medical TENS product (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) that uses an iPhone app to control the frequency and intensity of the massaging pulsations it emits.

The app, which will be available on the App Store when the product eventually launches sometime in March, provides access to preset massage patterns while also allowing you to fine tune the experience and even save your preference to the unit for use without your iPhone at a later date. There will be a 30-pin version of the product for iPhone 4/4S and iPad 3, but also a Bluetooth variant that will launch for compatibility with Lightning iOS devices. The company hasn’t set a retail price, but hinted it should be well under £80 / $100.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

new LEAF electric car

After introducing an updated Nissan LEAF model in its native Japan last November, Nissan has now revealed a new LEAF for the North American market too.

The vehicle, which has already begun assembly at the Smyrna, Tennessee, plant, is said to offer improved range thanks to a series of efficiency improvements. It is expected that it will offer a range in the same region as the updated version in Japan, although official EPA figures have not yet been released. In Japan, the model offers a range of 141miles – a 14 per cent improvement.

At the heart of the enhancements is refined aerodynamics, along with a boost to regenerative braking and energy management. There is also a newly available 6.6kW on-board charger that can reduce the charging time almost in half: to around four hours for a full charge.

In addition, Nissan will be adding a lower priced entry level LEAF S.

There are several other model year additions too. They include a hybrid heater system that is said to provide superior cold weather performance while consuming less energy; and a B drive mode that can increase the level of regenerative braking during deceleration.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Norway love electric vehicles

Norwegians are buying a lot of Nissan Leaf vehicles and have the most Tesla Model S reservations in the European market. While the US is a major market for electric vehicles, the sales numbers are proportionally huge for Norwegians. US electric vehicle sales look to be close to 50,000 for plug-in electric vehicles for all of 2012. According to Treehugger, that number reached about 10,000 units sold in Norway during 2012.

Norway's population is about 4,952,000, according to World Bank, and the US population is about 315,107,000, based on US Census data. While electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids make up only about 0.6 percent of new vehicle sales in the US, they're reaching 5.2 percent in Norway. How did plug-in electric vehicles become so popular in that country?

The short answer is price. In most countries, EVs tend to cost a good deal more than internal combustion engine cars. But, in a nation where high car taxes are the norm, the Norwegian government doesn't levy import taxes on EVs. The competitive pricing has helped the Nissan Leaf become 13th best selling vehicle in Norway. The country also has a long history with EVs, and it's common to see Revas, Kewet Buddies and many other EVs on the streets of Oslo, the capitol.

Government incentives are also increasing EV appeal with Norwegian consumers. In Oslo, EVs can drive down the bus lane, cutting commute time down significantly during rush-hour traffic. Other perks include free parking in city spaces and avoiding congestion charges that other car owners are subject to. The infrastructure is appealing, too – there are 3,500 charging posts and 100 fast-charging stations. Not bad for a nation with such a relatively small population.

Norwegians are just as concerned about limited driving range on a single charge as Americans. Still, a competitive purchase price and a number of perks – especially that bus lane access – make plug-ins more popular there than anywhere else.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

overloading their electrical plug adaptors

Householders are putting their lives at risk by overloading their electrical plug adaptors, according to South Yorkshire firefighters.

According to figures released by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, nearly two thirds of people have no idea of how much electrical extension leads and multi-plug adapters can take.

And up to 63 per cent could be overloading their plug adapters as a result.

Now firefighters, who attended more than 200 electrical fires in 2012, are urging to take more care.

Diane Malpass, from SYFR, said: “It’s frightening how many people don’t realise that they are putting their homes and families at risk by misusing adapters in this way.

“The simple advice is to check what equipment you’re plugging into extension leads and read the labels at the end of each plug to make sure it's not going to cause a blaze.”

Although multi-plug adapters have several sockets, many are not designed to cope with the high power demanded by equipment such as irons and hair straighteners, which use up to 20 amps.

SYFR’s survey of more than 500 people revealed that 17 per cent of people admit to plugging high-powered electrical items into extension leads and 76 per cent do not switch electrical appliances off at the mains at night.

Diane added: “Common sense should tell you that you are putting yourself in real danger if you leave things like heaters, irons and washer dryers plugged in at night.

“Other things like televisions and Sky boxes are safer, but we still recommend switching them off at the plug before bed if it’s easy to do so.”
SYFR has launched a campaign to cut electrical fires, in partnership with the Electrical Safety Council.

top tips are:

  1. Do not overload sockets: long, strip adapters are safest, but can only take a total of 13 amps.
  2.  Switch off electrical appliances at night and when you leave the house, especially high-powered items like washing machines, heaters and irons.
  3.  Look out for frayed wires and scorch marks around electrical appliances and do not use items that have them.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Employee of the month Dec 2012

Tara Warner

New fuse box?

Can we help?

MOT your home

Carbon Monoxide

Any fossil fuel burning appliance can be a source of Carbon Monoxide

Even if appliances are services regularly, a problem could still occur between services resulting in Carbon Monoxide being leaked into the home.

However, incidents of Carbon Monoxide poisoning are often unrecorded as they can be easily misdiagnosed - low level exposure to Carbon Monoxide results in symptoms similar to flu.


Now! :)

Friday, 25 January 2013

New Fuse box!!!

Ask a registered electrician to install a modern consumer unit, which includes RCD protection. Installation costs will vary, but it’s not as expensive as you might think to achieve peace of mind.

We recommend that you get advice from a registered electrician

  1. In the meantime, buy a plug-in RCD adaptor to use in any socket in your home – they’re affordable (around £10) and available from your local DIY store or garden centre.
  2. Visit the ESC’s website for free advice about using your installation and electrical products safely.
  3. Identify potential dangers in your home by doing your own visual check regularly. It’s easy with our free App which can be downloaded at: The App explains how to resolve simple, non-technical problems and helps you to identify when it’s best to call in a professional.
  4. Ask a registered electrician to carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report – at least every ten years
For more information visit

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Get your electrics checked

When was the last time your installation was checked by a professional?

Make sure you have it periodically inspected and tested regularly – we recommend at least every ten years for owner-occupied properties and every five years for rented accommodation. The report provided will flag up any faults and advise on any remedial action required.

If your electrics trip frequently, it probably means you have a faulty appliance or wiring. Call in a registered electrician to find out what’s wrong.

Use a registered electrician

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Make your home a safer place with advice from

Get RCD protected
An RCD can save your life. An RCD is designed to protect against the
risks of electrocution and fire caused by earth faults. For example, if
you cut through the cable when mowing the lawn and accidentally
touched the exposed live wires or a faulty appliance overheats causing
electric current to flow to earth.

It provides a level of protection that ordinary fuses or circuit-breakers cannot
provide. RCDs can also reduce the risk of some electrical-related fires.

How does it work?
An RCD constantly monitors the electric current flowing through one
or more circuits it is used to protect. If it detects electricity flowing
down an unintended path, such as through a person who has touched
a live part, the RCD will switch the electrical circuit off very quickly,
significantly reducing the risk of death or serious injury.
Am I already protected?

If you’re unsure whether your consumer unit already has built-in RCD
protection, look for a ‘T’ test button and label stating ‘test quarterly’.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Too Hot to Handle

As part of this year’s Electrical Fire Safety Fund, the ESC has provided £5,000 in funding to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) in Northern Ireland, to support a campaign that aims to raise awareness of the dangers that hair straighteners can pose to children.

RoSPA and Home Accident Prevention Northern Ireland (HAPNI) are working with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust on the campaign, following a rise in the number of children attending A&E at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children with hair straightener burns. It was officially launched at the hospital by RoSPA’s Chief Executive, Tom Mullarkey.

Hair straighteners can reach temperatures in excess of 200 degrees - hot enough to fry an egg - and can take as long as 40 minutes to cool down. As children's skin can be 15 times thinner than adults, they can be badly burned very quickly.

The campaign offers a simple safety code: switch hair straighteners off and unplug them straight away, before sliding them into a heat resistant bag, and storing them out of the sight and reach of children.

Too Hot to Handle will run until March 2013, with various activities, including:
targeting health and social care students through workshops and encouraging them to pass on the safety messages to others;

organising local events to reach parents, other practitioners and young people through the Child Safety Check Scheme run by home safety officers; and
lobbying major manufacturers/retailers to supply heat resistant bags with the hair straighteners they sell.

Speaking about the campaign, Phil Buckle, the ESC's Director General said:
“The ESC is delighted to support the Too Hot to Handle campaign. Our grants funding schemes mean that we can work with organizations like RoSPA Northern Ireland to raise awareness of electrical dangers in the home and to change people’s behaviour so that they act more responsibly around electricity.

“Electrical goods are now common items in people’s homes, so it is essential that they understand the risks associated with products like hair straighteners, particularly when they are using them around children. By taking the simple steps suggested in the campaign, people will be able to protect themselves and their families”.

Read the full press release and find out more on RoSPA's website.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Electrical safety

Electrical safety

Electricity can kill or severely injure people and cause damage to property. However, you can take simple precautions when working with or near electricity and electrical equipment to significantly reduce the risk of injury to you, your workers and others around you. This section provides a summary of those precautions.

What are the hazards?

The main hazards of working with electricity are:

  • electric shock and burns from contact with live parts
  • injury from exposure to arcing, fire from faulty electrical equipment or installations
  • explosion caused by unsuitable electrical apparatus or static electricity igniting flammable vapours or dusts, for example in a spray paint booth
  • Electric shocks can also lead to other types of injury, for example by causing a fall from ladders or scaffolds etc.

What do I have to do?

You must ensure an assessment has been made of any electrical hazards, which covers:

  • who could be harmed by them
  • how the level of risk has been established
  • the precautions taken to control that risk 
  • The risk assessment should take into consideration the type of electrical equipment used, the way in which it is used and the environment that it is used in.

You must make sure that the electrical installation and the electrical equipment is:

  • suitable for its intended use and the conditions in which it is operated
  • only used for its intended purpose 
  • In wet surroundings, unsuitable equipment can become live and make its surroundings live too. Fuses, circuit-breakers and other devices must be correctly rated for the circuit they protect. Isolators and fuse-box cases should be kept closed and, if possible, locked.

Cables, plugs sockets and fittings must be robust enough and adequately protected for the working environment. Ensure that machinery has an accessible switch or isolator to cut off the power quickly in an emergency.


So far as is reasonably practicable, you must make sure that electrical equipment and installations are maintained to prevent danger.

Users of electrical equipment, including portable appliances, should carry out visual checks. Remove the equipment from use immediately and check it, repair it or replace it if:

  • the plug or connector is damaged
  • the cable has been repaired with tape, is not secure, or internal wires are visible etc
  • burn marks or stains are present (suggesting overheating)
  • Repairs should only be carried out by a competent person (someone who has the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to carry out the work safely).

Have more frequent checks for items more likely to become damaged (eg portable electrical tools and equipment that is regularly moved, or used frequently or in arduous environments). Less frequent checks are needed for equipment less likely to become damaged (eg desktop computers etc).

Visual checks are not usually necessary for small, battery-powered items, or for equipment that works from a mains-powered adaptor (laptops or cordless phones etc). However, the mains-powered adaptor for such equipment should be visually checked.

Consider whether electrical equipment, including portable appliances, should be more formally inspected or tested by a competent person. Also think about the intervals at which this should be done.

An HSE leaflet Maintaining portable electrical equipment in low-risk environments can help you decide whether and when to test portable appliances in low-risk environments.

Make arrangements for inspecting and testing fixed wiring installations, ie the circuits from the meter and consumer unit supplying light switches, sockets, wired-in equipment (eg cookers, hairdryers) etc, to be carried out regularly so there is little chance of deterioration leading to danger. This work should normally be carried out by a competent person, usually an electrician

When is someone competent to do electrical work?

In this context, a competent person is someone who has the suitable training, skill, and knowledge for the task to be undertaken to prevent injury to themselves and others.

A successfully completed electrical apprenticeship, with some post-apprenticeship experience, is one way of demonstrating technical competence for general electrical work.

More specialised work, such as maintenance of high-voltage switchgear or control system modification, is almost certainly likely to require additional training and experience.

Key points to remember

  • Ensure that workers know how to use the electrical equipment safely
  • Make sure enough sockets are available. Check that socket outlets are not overloaded by using unfused adaptors as this can cause fires
  • Ensure there are no trailing cables that can cause people to trip or fall
  • Switch off and unplug appliances before cleaning or adjusting them
  • Ensure everyone looks for electrical wires, cables or equipment near where they are going to work and check for signs warning of dangers from electricity, or any other hazard. Checks should be made around the job, and remember that electrical cables may be within walls, floors and ceilings (especially when drilling into these locations) etc
  • Make sure anyone working with electricity has sufficient skills, knowledge and experience to do so. Incorrectly wiring a plug can be dangerous and lead to fatal accidents or fires
  • Stop using equipment immediately if it appears to be faulty – have it checked by a competent person
  • Ensure any electrical equipment brought to work by employees, or any hired or borrowed, is suitable for use before using it and remains suitable by being maintained as necessary
  • Consider using a residual current device (RCD) between the electrical supply and the equipment, especially when working outdoors, or within a wet or confined place (see HSE's electrical safety at work site)
  • Overhead electric lines

Be aware of the dangers of working near or underneath overhead power lines. Electricity can flash over from them, even though machinery or equipment may not touch them
Don’t work under them when equipment (eg ladders, a crane jib, a tipper-lorry body or a scaffold pole) could come within a minimum of six metres of a power line without getting advice. Speak to the line owner, eg the electricity company, railway company or tram operator, before any work begins
Underground cables

Always assume cables will be present when digging in the street, pavement and/or near buildings
Consult local electricity companies and service plans to identify where cables are located

Prysmian calls for a clampdown on quality

Paul Atkinson, CEO of Prysmian Group has called for the UK government to focus urgently on the issue of substandard cable being imported into the country.

A recent debate in the House of Commons demonstrated an encouraging awareness and concern around the problem with counterfeit cable.

Michael Fallon, Minister for Business and Enterprise reiterated the strict regulations surrounding intellectual property rights and misleading representation.

Paul Atkinson said, 'Increased rigour on protection from counterfeit cables is very welcome. However, an even more significant issue for UK manufacturers is a lack of stringent regulation on the quality of cables being imported into the UK market.

'UK manufacturers abide by a number of strict quality standards. Industry has agreed these standards to ensure that cables are safe in use. It is naturally extremely frustrating to find that the same high standards are not demanded of imported product. It is relatively straightforward to reduce the cost of cable by compromising on quality. Manufacturers based in the UK cannot (and would not want to) do this.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

New user interfaces

The way we interact with computers has been transformed in recent years, as we move from the mouse and keyboard to the touchscreen experience. CES, once the place to see the latest personal computers, will still have plenty on show. But many PC laptops will be convertibles, designed to turn into tablets for the hybrid environment of Windows 8.

We will also see more voice-activated devices, though the jury is out on how keen we are to talk to our PCs and phones. There may be more excitement around the idea of gesture controlled devices, using technology like that in Microsoft's XBox Kinect system.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Turn off appliances

It might seem like a hassle but turning electrical items off at the socket ensures they aren't costing you money while not in use. Leaving something on standby will still impact your bill - as essentially it's in sleep mode.  Meanwhile, replace all your standard light bulbs with energy efficient alternatives as this will shave even more off the energy costs that lands on your mat.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

which sparks

Use Woolgar Electrcial

World's first car-carrying electric ferry to see use in Norway

Presently, the Norwegian villages of Lavik and Oppedal are linked by a ferry that burns about a million liters (264,172 US gallons) of diesel a year, emitting 570 tonnes (628 tons) of carbon dioxide and 15 tonnes (16.5 tons) of nitrogen oxides. That’s about to change, however, as it’s slated to be replaced by what is claimed to be the world’s first all-electric car-carrying ferry. Developed by Siemens and Norwegian shipyard Fjellstrand, the vessel can recharge its batteries in just ten minutes.

The 80-meter (262.5-foot) catamaran can carry 120 cars and 360 passengers across the fjord between the villages. It is powered by two 10-tonne (11-ton) electric motors, each one driving a separate propeller. Those motors have a combined maximum output of 800 kilowatts, although for the ferry’s usual cruising speed of 10 knots, an output of 400 kW should suffice.

By contrast, the diesel ferry currently in use on that route puts out 1,500 kW. Part of the reason that the electric ferry needs less oomph lies in its streamlined twin-hull design, and the fact that it weighs about half as much as an equivalent-sized conventional vessel. Those weight-savings are largely due to the use of aluminum in its hull construction, as opposed to the more traditional steel.

As noted earlier, it will be able to recharge its batteries in only ten minutes, when docked at either of the villages – it’s not clear if that figure is for recharging from an almost empty state, or simply topping up. In any case, the electrical grids of both communities won’t be able to handle such a demand all at once. Therefore, the ferry will draw upon batteries installed at each port, which will themselves be recharged slowly from the local grid.

Shipping company Norled, which initiated the electric ferry project, entered the vessel in a contest put on by Norway's Ministry of Transport. As the winner of the competition, the company has been granted a license to operate the ferry on the route from 2015 to 2025.

It has been suggested that all other Norwegian crossings of less than 30 minutes in length could also be served by electric ferries.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Wash your clothes at 30 degrees

Try washing your clothes at 30 degrees, it does the same job - in fact it could be better for your clothes - and will save you around £15 a year on bills. Avoid using your washing machine for half loads and, if you are able to, give the tumble dryer a wide berth too. It's one of the worst appliances for both your wallet and the environment.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Switch to a cheaper tariff

January tends to be a month for saving money, staying indoors and keeping warm. But with every one of the 'Big Six' energy suppliers now having hiked up prices, even this option is no longer cheap.
 Customers of each of the Big Six - that's British Gas, Scottish Power, EDF, E.ON, SSE and npower - will find themselves paying between 6% and 11% more on their fuel bills in 2013, which is already one of the greatest expenses in any household.
 To help combat the hikes, we have drawn up a list of the 10 ways you can fight back on cost to the collective tune of £1,000 a year and make sure you get the better of your energy supplier.
1. Switch to a cheaper tariff

The first port of call to fight back on rising energy costs is to shop around for a cheaper tariff using MoneySupermarket's energy comparison tool.

For example, the cheapest available online tariff is currently offered by British Gas. It costs the average household £1,120.29 a year, which provides a healthy saving of £205.90 over its standard tariff (£1,326.19).
However, if you want to shelter yourself from any further potential price hikes, the only option is to take an online fixed rate energy tariff. EDF Blue June 2014 is the current market leader in these stakes, promising no price increases for the next two winters at annual cost of £1,182 for typical energy use. While First Utility is slightly cheaper at an average annual £1,170, this fixed deal is a couple of months shorter. 
Switching your energy tariff is a very simple process which involves filling out an online form and waiting between four and six weeks for the change to take effect. Even if the cheapest tariff is from another supplier, it should be hassle-free. After all, unlike other services where new wires or cables need to be laid, your energy will all come through the same pipes. The only thing that will change is the provider's name on your monthly bill.

Bear in mind thought that if you are stuck in a contract with your current supplier, you may have to pay a cancellation fee of around £60 for a dual fuel bill, or £30 for gas and electricity individual bills.

I am a Landlord, how often should I have an inspection carried out in my property?

If you own an HMO, you have a legal obligation to have a Periodic inspection Test (PIR) carried out on your property every five years.

If your property is not an HMO, then you are not legally obliged to get your installation tested on a periodic basis. However, we recommend that you have a full PIR carried out every five years or on change of tenancy – whichever comes first.

Our guidance is based on legal obligations set out in The Landlords and Tenant Act (1985).

Monday, 14 January 2013

check your CH programmer times...

If you're working all day, why spend money making your home warm? Putting your heating on timer means you can ensure it comes on only when you're in the house and the habit could save around £30 a year. What's more, according to the Energy Saving Trust, turning your thermostat down by just 1 degree can present further average savings of £55 annually.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Get the most from your radiators

Trapped air and gas stops hot water from heating your radiator efficiently - so make sure you bleed them regularly. It's a simple job that can make a huge difference to how energy-efficient your home is.
Also, avoid hanging clothes on your radiators or placing furniture in front of them as you will prevent heat from spreading into the house.

Friday, 11 January 2013

electric cars to be charged wirelessly

A Japanese car maker has started field trials with a wireless charging system, which allows electric cars to recharge their batteries through magnetic resonators buried in the road surface of a parking space.

Toyota’s new technology does away with the need to plug the car into electricity mains using a cable.
The wireless charging device is contained in a mat, which measures about 50cm across.
When the electric car is parked, the mat is raised automatically and the AC power is delivered via the magnetic field that is created under the electric vehicle, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The first phase of testing will start in Toyota City in January.

Toyota says a typical Prius-sized model could be recharged in 90 minutes using the wireless induction system - the same amount of time needed for conventional cable charging.
One slight drawback is that drivers who do not position the car directly above the magnetic mat will find that charging takes slightly longer.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Next Gen TV's

For most households, the television is still the most important gadget in their daily lives. And, at CES, the big Japanese and South Korean manufacturers try to excite us with something new. In recent years, the big stories have been about internet connected TVs, 3D and OLED (organic light-emitting diode) - a technology which offers beautiful pin-sharp pictures at eye-watering prices.

This year there will be more of the same, although I'm expecting manufacturers to be less eager to push 3D which has met with a lukewarm reception from consumers. Instead the focus will be on bigger, better screens with something called Ultra High Definition - the next big thing after HD - making its debut.

Samsung is also rumoured to be unveiling a transparent TV, while there is even talk of flexible screens. How soon these new TVs will be available - and at prices that anyone but the super-rich can afford - is another matter.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Met Police use electrical 'hum' to solve crimes

Officers in the force have compiled a database of the noise, which varies continually according to the amount of demand on the electricity network, to help verify whether audio or video evidence is genuine.
Although it cannot normally be heard without specialist equipment, the noise is analysed by the National Grid to help them work out current electricity demand.

But by comparing evidence from an investigation with the database, officers are able to work out the exact date and time someone was speaking in a recording.

The "digital forensics" team use computer programmes to strip out the background noise from the rest of the audio clip and then compare the unique "fingerprint" of the noise with their database, which records the hum continually.

Dr Alan Cooper, the service's senior digital forensic practitioner, said he was able to use the database to establish the authenticity of covert recordings made by victims of a crime in which the perpetrator has apparently admitted his guilt.

"The fluctuation occurs because the frequency drifts in sympathy with the supply and demand," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "It builds up a unique fingerprint. From a statistical standpoint, it is very, very strong evidence.

"For example, a rape victim may have a covert recording: she has gone to the perpetrator, had a conversation and tried to get him to admit to the offence. At some stage the police may want to establish that the recording is genuine.

"If we can extract the background hum from the recording, we can exactly date and time when it was made and also establish whether there has been anything added or taken away from the recording."
The analysis does not always work, but Dr Cooper claims he has been successful in the "majority of instances" when the technique has been used.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

When do I need a rewire?

There are no set guidelines as to when a property should be rewired. Just because your wiring’s old, doesn’t mean it’s unsafe.

Many factors can affect the wear and tear of your electrical installation, including the materials used and how your property has been used.

We would advise that PIRs be carried out on owner-occupied properties at least every 10 years and every five years in rented accommodation. The test will certify whether the electrics in a property are safe and tell you if anything needs upgrading. You should carry out regular checks around the house on the condition of your cables, switches, sockets and other accessories. If you notice anything unusual - burn marks on plugs and sockets, sounds of ‘arcing’ (buzzing or crackling), fuses blowing or circuit-breakers tripping - get a registered electrician to check your electrics as soon as possible.

Monday, 7 January 2013

New Finding Could Lead To Longer Lasting Batteries Read more at

It was discovered that, as the batteries are used, they slowly lose lithium, as it accumulates outside the battery electrodes. This happens primarily in the ‘current collector,’ which is the sheet of copper that improves the efficiency of electron transfer between the electrodes and the electrical system.

“This knowledge could aid in improving design and performance of batteries,” explained Bharat Bhushan, Ohio Eminent Scholar and Howard D. Winbigler Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

“Our study shows that the copper current collector plays a role in the performance of the battery,” he said.
“We didn’t set out to find lithium in the current collector, so you could say we accidentally discovered it, and how it got there is a bit of a mystery. As far as we know, nobody has ever expected active lithium to migrate inside the current collector,” Bhushan said.

The researchers had been working to determine what could be done to improve battery performance, though they seem to have gotten quite lucky in finding what they found. The discovery could potentially lead to better performing batteries, which would give a big boost to electric vehicles. The researchers are hoping that battery producers further investigate their findings. The researchers themselves plan to next study the impedance of lithium-ion batteries on the nanoscale.

Electrical Home Safety- How can we help

Home MOT!!!

Electricians and others within the industry such as manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers play a vital role as intermediaries to help deliver key electrical safety messages to consumers.

With around 70 deaths and 350,000 serious injuries each year attributed to electrical accidents, the ESC has developed materials to assist electricians in conveying essential safety messages.

The messages are simple:
  1. Upgrade your consumer unit to one with RCD protection
  2. Get your electrics checked regularly
  3. Always use a registered electrician


Don Foster, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, issued a statement on the changes to the Building Regulations in England, including Part P.

In response, Phil Buckle, Director General of the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) said:

“Whilst we welcome the attempt to make Part P less bureaucratic and more effective, reducing notifiable work could put people at real risk. Both statistical data and anecdotal evidence indicates that kitchens are high risk areas, so any electrical work must be of a high standard. Given Part P is the only legislation which protects people in their home, any reduction in notifiable work in kitchens is concerning”.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Change the way you manage your bill

Managing your energy bill online, paying by monthly direct debit (rather than quarterly by cheque or cash) and signing up to 'duel fuel' (where your electricity and gas is provided by the same company) will all generate discounts from your energy supplier of 10% or more.

electrical storm

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Save Money, Keep warm

How to spot unsafe electrical goods

Suffolk firm fined for electrical hazard

Date:3 January 2013Release No:HSE-E-001/13

HSE inspectors found a live 400 volt cabling hanging off the wall

A Suffolk plastics manufacturer has been fined after electrical fittings at its production site were found to be dangerous.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) uncovered serious issues with the construction and maintenance of the electrical systems at Techplas in Sudbury on 9 and 10 October 2011 after investigating a separate unrelated issue.

Bury St Edmunds Magistrates' Court heard today (3 January 2013) that HSE inspectors found:
live 400 volt cabling hanging off the wall
a broken socket with live 400 volt cabling coiled on the floor
 fused spurs and electric switches hanging off single-core cabling, leaving the live 230 volt wiring inside exposed

Guards had also been removed from a plastic forming machine, exposing heating elements that could become dangerous as soon as the machine was switched on.

HSE served three Prohibition Notices on the company ordering urgent improvements to be made. Magistrates were told the electrical systems posed a significant and immediate danger to workers.

Techplas Limited, of Unit 1A Milner Road, Chilton Industrial Estate, Sudbury, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,930 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

After the hearing HSE inspector Saffron Turnell, said:

"The state of the electrical systems at Techplas was simply appalling and it is only a matter of luck that nobody had been injured or electrocuted.

"Employers have a duty to ensure the workplace is a safe environment and this must include electrical installations, whether or not the work carried out at their premises directly involves electricity.

"Ignoring health and safety at work legislation puts workers' lives at risk and it is only right that HSE takes enforcement action."

For information and advice on electrical safety, visit

Friday, 4 January 2013

Short-term owners miss out on electric car savings

Car buyers are failing to see the benefit of going electric, thanks to a consumer tendency towards replacing vehicles every three to five years, new research suggests.

This means that consumers miss out on the long-term savings that come from the lower running costs of EVs over their combustion car rivals. Put simply, consumers don’t keep their cars long enough to reach a breakeven point-where the initial higher purchase price of an EV over a petrol equivalent is recouped in lower ‘fuelling’ costs.

New research from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) suggests that this is not the only reason why consumers are failing to fall for EVs in their droves, with factors including the concerns about driving range, recharging and high prices all playing their part in suppressing sales.

Researchers surveyed more than 2,300 US motorists in 21 large cities, during autumn 2011, to discover that the perceived drawbacks of EVs still outweigh the benefits for most consumers.

citizens in some cities including San Jose, San Fransisco, Chicago and Boston much more receptive to buying an electric car.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Sales of electric cars in Britain are expected to double in 2013

Sales of electric cars in Britain are expected to double in 2013 as cheaper models enter the market and the number of charging points increases.

Numbers of fully electric cars are expected to rise from 3,000 to 6,000, according to Ben Lane, managing editor of the website He warned, however, that the switch to electric vehicles was still moving slowly.

Lane said: "The pricing is not yet quite right and the range is still not long enough. Very few people in 2012 were willing to pay a significant sum more for a car that still cannot do everything."

Most of the 3,000 electric cars in Britain are in company fleets. These fleets will continue to be the main market for electric cars as companies look to improve corporate responsibility and reduce carbon emissions.

The new Renault Zoe, at £13,650, is significantly cheaper than its competitors, but owners have to rent a battery from Renault at £70 per month, which reduces savings on fossil fuel consumption. "It is still a step in the right direction and other cheaper cars will arrive, such as a 'no-frills' Nissan Leaf," said Lane.

Britain's network of charging points is also expanding. The number in London will increase from 900 to 1,300 next year, according to Transport for London, and electric car owners in the capital and the east of England can use points in both areas. At the moment electric cars cannot always be charged at points outside the zone from which they originate.

While the price of new cars remains high despite the government's £5,000 subsidy for each vehicle purchased, it is possible to get better deals through long-term leases on older models. Lane explained: "Companies will not advertise low prices, but it could be possible to get an electric car for as little as £150 per month on a long-term lease. They will be keen to get older cars off their hands as new ones arrive on the market, so it will be possible to drive a hard bargain."

Electric cars will become more stylish as BMW introduces its i3, followed by the larger i8 in 2014. "This will change the image of the electric car. It is completely connected to the internet and beautifully designed," said Lane.

Saloon cars from the American firm Tesla, which will be able to run for up to 300 miles on a single charge, are expected to go on sale in the UK in the new year, priced between about £36,000 and £50,000.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

MOT your home

MOT your home - 2 simple options

Visual condition reports (guide price £45 ex VAT)
A visual condition report will include the results of the inspection of
the electrical installation.
A visual condition report does not include testing, so the inspection
is not likely to find hidden damage to equipment (for example,
damage to cables and joints).
Usually, a visual inspection report is only suitable if the installation
has been tested in the last couple of years, and the results were
reported (on an electrical installation certificate or an electrical
installation condition report) as being satisfactory (good enough).
An example of the front cover of a visual condition report

Electrical installation condition reports (guide price £135 ex VAT)
In general, we recommend an electrical installation condition report
rather than a visual condition report. This is because testing will give
you more information about the condition of the electrical
installation, particularly the presence of hidden damage to
equipment, such as cables and joints.
can we help

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

NO! our blog is NOT boring

Have a great 2013

6 things for 2013 envirofriendlyier

1: The e-bicycle market will explode. North American sales 'may' grow by 50 percent to about 158,000, as component costs decline and the number of brands offering models multiplies. The market for e-motorcycles will remain relatively custom, though.

2: Higher capacity, 48-volt batteries will charge up the market for stop-start and micro-hybrid vehicles. Right now, the predominant technology is 12 volts, which has seriously limited the applications. This class of teeny vehicles, which is particularly popular in Europe, shuts down at red lights or during stop-and-go traffic, helping to reduce fuel emissions.

3: Fuel cell vehicles will gain more prominence. This technology uses hydrogen and oxygen from the air to produce enough energy to run the car, but its commercial potential is still relatively limited. Pike predicts that about 3,500 units will be shipped from the likes of Toyota, Daimler, Hyundai and Honda – primarily to companies that manage public and private fleets.

4: Germany will lead growth in Europe. If you think electric vehicle adoption has been slow in the United States, you'll be surprised to hear that things across the Atlantic Ocean have been even slower. That will change next year, with the emergence of at least seven models optimized for the European market, according to the Pike Research predictions. The most dominant player (at least for the next 12 months) will be Volkswagen, which has six different models in the pipeline that have an electric twist. The company's home market in Germany will emerge as the single biggest market on the continent, with about 14,000 vehicles by the end of 2013. One thing that could help charge up the European market will be the emergence of IBM technology that helps drivers travel regionally, without having to worry about whether or not there is a place to refuel their battery.

5: A larger diversity of public charging infrastructure will be in place. There are several forces as work here. First off, we'll finally see some activity around a new fast-charging standard, which should make for more installations. Most of the equipment currently in place takes woefully long to charge up a vehicle – an average of four to eight hours, which is fine if you're parked somewhere for the whole day but not-so-fine if you are traveling outside of your immediate community. Another thing to watch will be deployments of wireless charging infrastructure that don't require plugs at all. Sales should reach 283,000 units annually by 2020, according to a separate Pike Research report.

6: Natural gas will cut into the electric truck market. The interest in manufacturing or purchasing natural gas trucks has grown along with the abundant supply of natural gas. Cost factors will help the market grow to more than 47,000 vehicles sold in 2013. One limiting factor will be the dearth of places to refuel them.