Energy supplier npower will increase average domestic prices by 5.8% for electricity and 5.2% for gas.

Electricity prices will not rise until 1 April, whereas gas prices will go up from 1 February. Small business customers will experience a similar increase.

Andrew Duff, chief executive of RWE Innogy, npower's parent company, says the increases reflect a rise in wholesale energy market costs, which have risen by 20% year-on-year.

Duff says other factors are the rise in gas transportation costs, which will go up by 5% this year; renewable energy obligations; and energy efficiency programme costs.

The increases amount to around 29p per week for the average domestic electricity user and 34p per week for the average domestic gas user, based on an average annual residential usage of customers on standard domestic tariffs of 3,300kWh for electricity and 20,500kWh for gas.

An average of 2,500 manufacturing jobs are lost every week, a situation that is not sustainable, says Derek Simpson, general secretary of Amicus. Addressing a conference in Scarborough, the union leader said the decline of the UK

Styles and Wood has hired mast booms to complete the electrical installation at the new 20,400m? Debenhams store, part of the redevelopment of Birmingham?s Bull Ring. The company is using HM10 mast booms to provide high-level access to wiring and lighting over the store?s open central staircase.

The HM10 was chosen from Nationwide Access because the machine?s weight does not exceed the store?s floor loading. It provides a 10m working height and a 3m outreach and weighs 4.2 tonnes.

Being electrically powered, the machine is suitable for use inside buildings, where diesel exhaust emissions would be unacceptable. It is also small enough (its closed width is just 0.81m) to fit into the store?s goods lift. The platform measures 1.02m by 0.79m for an electrician, his tools and the light fittings.

Twelve U.S. states sued the Bush administration on Monday in an attempt to prevent changes to the Clean Air Act that would allow increased pollution from fossil-fired power plants and factories. The revisions will weaken air pollution standards and harm public health. The Environmental Protection Agency brought in new standards to coal-fired utilities and oil refiners to significantly expand aging facilities without installing pollution-reduction equipment. The lawsuit said that only Congress could make major changes in air pollution policy. EPA officials contend the new rules will not increase power plant emissions. Last week, a separate group of states sued the Bush government to force it to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. "We should not be relaxing emission control standards when air pollution continues to cause such devastating health and environmental problems," New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said. "Litigation can produce nothing but confusion," utility lobbying group Electric Reliability Coordinating Council said in a statement.

WF - the fifth emergency service this Christmas

Reasoning that emergencies seem to strike at the worst possible times, WF Electrical has decided to open 21 branches over the forthcoming holiday period.

Director and general manager, Richard Edwards decided that, in an effort to give its customer the best possible service when they need it most, the company will open strategically selected branches between 8:30 and 12:30 from the 29th to the 31st December.

Customers who need assistance can ring 0207 613 3321 for details of their nearest open branch. The branch can arrange, via WF Express, for the customer to collect items from stock held at WF's national distribution centre in Dagenham up to 2:00pm or for them to be dispatched by courier.

Don?t get lost and don?t get nicked with the new Peugeot Boxer van accessory, a hands free GSM phone and navigation system. The police can fine drivers using mobile phones and deduct points from their licence. Peugeot combines, in the same unit, a radio, cd player, navigation system and GSM dual-band phone. Its voice synthesis function reads out text messages to the driver. Technology once enjoyed only by the luxury car owner is available to the Boxer van driver. The system costs ?1040 plus VAT. For more information call Ian Sedgwick 024 7688 4216

Daihatsu?s latest van offering is the super-compact Extol.

Priced at ?6,995 (ex vat), the 1.3 litre, 93mph-capable Extol is billed as an eventual replacement for the successful Hijet micro-van ? a What Van? award-winner for 11 successive years.

Daihatsu says its primary target for the model are multi-drop delivery operators plus city-centre businesses who will appreciate the Extol?s compact external dimensions and a class-beating 8.8m kerb-to-kerb turning circle.

Large sliding doors on both sides plus a high-opening top-hinged tailgate enable easy cargo access ? especially in tight spaces such as narrow back streets. The flat steel load floor is vinyl-covered and also features a substantial storage space underneath, meaning bulky tools can be kept out of site for added security.

Cargo dimensions are 1,700mm load length, 1,175mm load height from floor to roof, with 1,330mm width. Excluding the underfloor storage space, the cargo capacity is 2.2 cubic meters.

Also included are driver and passenger airbags, power steering, central locking and radio/CD player, plus a three-year/60,000 mile warranty.

Last week you had a story from ABB about a new surgical technique for children suffering from osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. Many of you asked for more technical detail.

Surgeons replace a section of diseased bone with an adjustable insert that allows the bone to be lengthened, keeping pace with the healthy limb. In the past, this involved frequent surgery to access the implant and operate a screw jack to lengthen it.

Engineers at the University College London, based at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore, have produced an implant that can be activated by electromagnetic induction.

The ?bionic bone? has a miniaturised high-ratio gearbox driven by a rare-earth permanent magnet synchronous rotor no larger than a one pence piece and 4mm thick. The gearbox is only 21.5mm diameter and 18.5mm long and drives a power screw which lengthens the ?bone?, developing the 200 Newton force required for every 1mm of extension. The complete rotor / gearbox assembly is embedded within the implant and activated by applying a rotating magnetic field .

The patient?s leg is inserted into a cast-resin three-phase stator, powered by a Danfoss VLT 2800 variable frequency inverter. The variable torque control of the drive enables the rotor to produce sufficient torque to drive the gearbox at as low as 40 to 60 volts at 50Hz, and provides accurate flux control to protect the tiny gearbox from torque overload. To ensure smooth rotation at this low stator voltage, the drive output waveform is filtered before being applied to the stator.

A single-phase to 3-phase VSD is essential so that the stator can be powered from a domestic 240v single-phase supply.

With gearing of 13,061 : 1 and the rotor spinning at 3,000 revs, the gearbox develops 4Nm torque and extension of 0.25mm per minute is achieved and timed rather than measured. Despite the asymmetrical air-gap, and the tissue of the leg, between the stator and the Niobium Iron Boron (NdFeB) rotor, there is excellent magnetic stator / rotor coupling, regardless of the fit of the patient?s limb within the stator and so there is no need for immobilisation or discomfort for the patient during a typical 15 minute treatment.

The cost of the implant is ?12,000 against ?4,000 for initial surgery but savings in subsequent surgery and aftercare offsets the cost.

Cooper Bussman's fuses had a hand in helping the Rolla Solar Car Team from the University of Missouri win the 2003 American Solar Challenge Race.

The challenge was to build a solar powered car and race it approximately 2,300 miles from almost one side of the USA to the other. The course took them from Chicago in the east, to Claremont, a suburb of Los Angeles, in California. The Missouri team took just 51 hours, 47 minutes and 39 seconds, beating the previous race record by more than four hours.

Busmann donated a number of its FWX series 80A semiconductor fuses to provide circuit protection for the solar vehicle.

Solar flares - heading our way Navigation systems, satellite phones and sensitive electronic are feeling the effects of turbulent solar weather. Solar flares, the largest recorded for many years have produced solar radition that has reached Earth's atmosphere. Electrical grids, satellites, pagers and mobile phones that rely on orbiting spacecraft can sometimes be affected. In 2000, a solar blast created steering problems for several orbiting spacecraft. One hit the main electrical utility in Quebec plunging millions into darkness for hours and costing billions of dollars to fix. A solar flare is an explosion on the Sun that happens when energy stored in twisted magnetic fields is suddenly released. Flares produce a burst of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to x-rays and gamma-rays. The results of a solar flare swept past Earth yesterday but the impact was weak Scientists tracking heightened solar activity in recent days reported some commercial airlines have had to make adjustments to their high-frequency communications, or in some cases switch to alternate satellite systems. More are approaching Earth and could trigger bright auroras when they arrive today or tomorrow.

From 1995 to 1996, manual handling injuries cost UK employers almost ?335 million. CBI Director General Digby Jones, said: ?People are more aware of their rights and more willing to take legal action.? A commercial vehicle that saves labour, reduces injury risk and can even improve productivity is designed with a hydraulic system that raises and lowers the cargo floor. It enables its entire load bed to drop to ground level for loading and unloading. Called the Razorback, the vehicle can be fitted with a variety of front wheel drive cab options. For electrical contractors the vehicle has a number of benefits for loading and unloading panels, heavy equipment and cable reels. As the entire load bed can be fully lowered to the ground, the contractor can directly wheel loads on and off from ground level. It has a payload of 1000kg and operated at the push of a button. At 3.5t, the Razorback can be driven by anyone with an ordinary car licence. It has a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty.

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