Analysts placed Socomec Group at the top of customer satisfaction ratings for service, performance and supplier experience in a Frost & Sullivan report on the views of sensitive equipment users towards power quality matters in Europe.

Socomec took the Frost & Sullivan Award for Customer Service Excellence for the UPS market after analysts evaluated the views of 140 power equipment customers in Europe.

The subsequent report says: “End-users ranked Socomec Group the leading European UPS supplier for service and customer care, in a market where service quality is among the top three criteria for the selection of suppliers.”

Socomec was ranked joint-highest for customer perception of its technical knowledge, performance of its products and the experience of its technicians. It also achieved the top rating for customer intimacy – a measurement of ability to understand and satisfy specific requests and work closely with clients.

British Nuclear Fuels this week launched its nuclear clean-up business, which will operate in the UK, mainland Europe and the USA.

British Nuclear Group (BNG) enters a competitive market as a standalone business from 1 April 2005. Its aim is to engage with the challenges laid out by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and initially to continue operating Sellafield's nuclear reprocessing businesses and its Magnox nuclear power stations.

The company will have 15,000 employees, a £2bn initial annual turnover and will benefit from BNFL’s 30-years’ experience of decommissioning over 50 worldwide nuclear facilities.

The chief executive of BNG, Lawrie Haynes, said: "British Nuclear Group will significantly enhance the clean-up of the nuclear legacy, both at home and abroad. In the UK, our focus will be on delivering innovative clean-up programmes for the NDA to enable them to demonstrate value for money for the UK taxpayer.

"I am absolutely confident that with the knowledge, skills and experience that British Nuclear Group has, we will deliver success for all our customers."

BNG comprises three business divisions: Management Services, Project Services and BNFL Inc.

Management Services, which consists of the Sellafield site, the Magnox operating and decommissioning power station sites and the Capenhurst site, will be responsible for the delivery of accelerated site clean-up and operations. Project Services will perform the role of sub-contractor to Site Licensee Companies while continuing to provide technical solutions to customers. BNFL Inc. will apply UK-driven solutions in the US commercial market while sharing with the UK specific skills drawn from experience of operating in the US clean-up market.

Eaton has paid £313m for Invensys’ Powerware – a supplier of uninterruptible power systems, DC power products and power quality services.

Eaton’s chairman and chief executive officer, Alexander Cutler, said: “The acquisition of Powerware will provide new products and solutions, along with strong brand recognition and expanded channels, for Eaton’s global electrical business.”

Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, Powerware provides products and services for companies such as computer manufacturers, industrial companies, government, telecommunications firms, medical institutions and data centres. It offers a full line of UPS products (three-phase and single-phase) and DC power systems, power management software, remote monitoring, integration services and site support.

Solarcentury – a specialist in solar electric solutions for homes and businesses – scooped two awards at the Interbuild 2004 New Product Awards on Tuesday night.

The London-based company won the Exterior Product Award for its C21 Solar Roof Tile and the Best Lighting and Electrical Product Award for the Streetsmart Solar Lighting Solution.

Awards in seven categories, plus one award for Best Overall Product, were presented by BBC Breakfast TV’s Natasha Kaplinsky during a gala dinner held at the end of day two of the five-day event.

The chief executive officer of Solarcentury, Jeremy Leggett, said: “This is an amazing achievement for us. We’ve still got a long way to go but after just five years and at the first year of the awards, we couldn’t have thought that we’d be challenging companies that have been key figures in the industry for many years.”

Other winners included Terry Group, which won the Disability Access Award for its Portable Lift, Aladdin Auto Vent, which won the Energy Efficiency Award and SF Detection, whose SF350 carbon monoxide detector landed the Best Interior Product prize.

The Best On-Site Product award went to Modar for its Base apartment unit and Antec from Interbuild’s sister-show Civils won both the Best Civils Product and the Best Overall Product.

Construction minister Nigel Griffiths officially opened Interbuild on Monday, describing the event as a showcase of the “best of British” construction.

The show has attracted visitors from 20 countries, with which Griffiths hopes to see the attending 1,200 companies form contracts.

Power support firm, Merlin Power Management, has acquired Powercall for an undisclosed sum.

As well as facilitating a broader team of 27 mobile engineers nationwide, the company is now able to provide customers with additional services – such as the supply, maintenance, servicing and certification of circuit breakers.

Powercall will be moved from Lincolnshire to Merlin Power Management’s Andover HQ, enabling Powercall customers to make use of its 24/7 facility.

The mistaken belief that leaving office lights on at night saves money is the most widespread energy myth among UK businesses, according to Powergen.

Staff members on the company’s Business Energy Helpline reveal that many small and medium businesses think fluorescent tubes use extra electricity to ‘warm up’ and that switching them on continuously shortens their life span.

Powergen insists this was only ever true of lights from the 1950s and says modern starter motors are designed for heavy use. Money is saved when the lights are switched off for any more than 10 minutes.

Along similar lines, Powergen says some people believe that leaving PCs switched on or on standby is better than switching them off. A PC on standby, however, consumes up to 50% of the electricity it normally uses.

The SME manager at Powergen, Neil Gould, said: “The fluorescent lighting issue in particular seems to have somehow found its way into the annals of accepted business practice and yet the evidence that it isn’t true has existed for some time. In reality, the only thing to remember is, ‘If it’s not being used, turn it down or turn it off’.”

Mott MacDonald has won The Queen’s Award for Enterprise for outstanding achievement in International Trade - its third Queen’s Award for international performance in nine years.

Despite a downturn world-wide in the energy sector, Mott MacDonald’s energy business is flourishing. With a turnover of £43.2m, the company is busy on a number of large projects including the £500m Umm Al Nar combined cycle gas-fired power and water plant in Abu Dhabi, major expansion projects at Aluminium Bahrain’s smelter in Bahrain and DUBAL’s aluminium plant in Dubai plus the 800MW Arrubal combined cycle power plant in Spain. The company is also providing technical advisory services to international lenders on projects in many countries including Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, Morocco and Algeria while in the USA it has formed an association with RW Beck to promote its services in transmission and distribution.

Martin Hornsby, managing director of the company’s energy business, is delighted with the award and feels it highlights the achievements the company has realised across all its key sectors including energy. “With the International Energy Authority suggesting that there will be US$16 trillion spent on energy developments over the next 30 years there is plenty of scope for us to expand and help meet the ever growing demand for electricity around the world and thereby continue the success demonstrated by this latest Queen’s Award,” he said.

Mike Blackburn, Mott MacDonald’s chairman, said: “This award is testament to our staff’s commitment and resolve in meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations. As we expand our contribution in sectors ranging from building and education through to health and transportation, our global company values of progress, respect, integrity, drive and excellence propel our approach to enhancing our own business as well as that of our customers.”

London’s first wind park, which is also Europe’s first city-based wind park, should be completed by the end of the month.

Ecotricity’s development at Ford’s Dagenham estate comprises two 85m-high turbines like those pictured, which are designed by Sir Norman Foster and will provide all the energy requirements for Ford’s new Clean Room Assembly Hall. All Ford diesel engines assembled at the plant will now be produced using wind power.

Ecotricity – a supplier of ‘green’ electricity to businesses and consumers – started to prepare two Dagenham Ford sites at the beginning of the year.

The managing director of Ecotricity, Dale Vince OBE, said: “This is one of our biggest projects to date and we are delighted to be behind London’s first wind park. Our turbines will be providing Ford with enough electricity to power over 2,000 homes and we hope that this project will raise awareness of wind power as a viable alternative energy source.”

The turbines, sent from Germany, will be transported from Tilbury Docks to Dagenham, where the blades will be installed by crane on 23 and 27 April.

Deritend and Parsons Peebles have signed an agreement that will give the UK market a repair service for the full range of low- and high-voltage rotating electrical machines.

With nine service centres, Deritend ranks among the top UK electro-mechanical repair companies while Parsons Peebles Machines, based in Scotland, is a leader in the design, manufacture and installation of high-voltage motors and generators.

Together, the two companies will provide its clients with a quality service for the full range of electrical equipment, an increased sales network, plus the technical expertise of their engineering teams.

A report into renewable energy raises serious questions over the economic and ecological benefits of wind power. According to Professor David Simpson, the government’s strategy to promote wind power to reduce carbon emissions is flawed.

His report Tilting at Windmills, suggests nuclear power could be a better option, as long as there is an acceptable waste management strategy.

Conducted on behalf of the David Hume Institute, the paper also claims using “green power” would cost the taxpayer millions of pounds more than conventional power sources.

Prof Simpson writes: “Achieving a target of 20 per cent of electricity generated by wind power would cost consumers at least an extra £1.2 billion each year, and over £2 billion annually on less favourable assumptions.”

He adds that because of the cost of providing additional stand-by generating capacity - when the wind doesn’t blow - it is unlikely wind power will ever account for more than 20% of the country’s electricity generation.