Atlas urges contractors, engineers and manufacturers to undertake its Lightning Protection Designers Accreditation Assessment.

Atlas, the Association of Technical Lightning and Access Specialists, says lightning accounts for 27% of storm deaths annually worldwide, which is only slightly less than the 31% of deaths caused by tornadoes and hurricanes combined. The association says there could be as many as 5,000 lightning-related injuries each year.

Sixty individual operatives have already taken and passed the assessment, which provides preparation for the next level of compliance in Europe (CENELEC), which will supersede British Standard BS 6651 lightning protection in the UK.

The assessment does not take up valuable work time and costs just £100 plus Vat per application. It is only open to existing Atlas members and demand for places appears to have been high.

Atlas is the national representative employers’ organisation for companies engaged in the steeplejack, lightning conduction, earthing design, installation, demolition, restoration and maintenance of high rise and historic buildings, industrial chimneys, churches, off-shore rigs, and other tall structures.

For more information, call 0115 955 8818.

The National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth, is the latest of four regional sites in the UK to win a grant in the government's solar panel demonstration programme.

Some 144 photovoltaic panels will cover an area of 216sqm in the heart of the aquarium. Once in place, the panels will produce around 30kW per hour, which will feed straight back in to the aquarium's conventional power consumption.

Costing nearly £200,000, the project is funded by the DTI, South West Regional Development Agency and the National Marine Aquarium.

If you are involved in gas, electricity or housing, this conference is not to be missed... These are momentous times for domestic combined heat and power. As the insecurities and uncertainties in traditional forms of power generation became all too apparent during 2003, the first commercial dCHP units appeared on the market to offer consumers a genuine alternative, with many companies developing their own products for the home energy revolution.
But if we are to make the most of this opportunity, now is the time to act. Domestic CHP - Driving Products to Market builds on the success of last year's conference and brings together high-profile speakers from equipment manufacturers, installers, trade associations, utilities and the government, to ensure that delegates are properly informed to take an active part in creating the energy market of the future.

Why you should attend:
• Establish the business case for dCHP technology.
• Meet customer requirements by correct product positioning.
• Benefit from the experience of housing associations and local authorities.
• Maximise accessibility to financial assistance from government.
• Create a new market to include utilities, installers and distribution companies.

Tuesday 8 June 2004 Thistle Hotel, Charing Cross, The Strand, London WC2

The second ‘Green Light for Part P’ seminar did not, as anticipated, announce the selection of the NICEIC to run a self-certification scheme. Although there is little doubt about its eventual approval, the NICEIC had hoped to receive a governmental green light in January.

Paul Everall, of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), blamed the delay on “other departmental matters”, and stated the requirements for running the scheme are yet to be finalised by the ODPM. It is now hoped the announcement will be made by Easter.

Although the NICEIC was disappointed about the delay, several issues remain to be addressed by the government.

If Part P is to come into force in October, the ODPM must first determine exactly what constitutes a dwelling. It must also issue concrete guidelines on DIY work that requires an inspection.

The certificates themselves must also be finalised. While the format is as yet undecided, it is likely that they will be electronic.

Another question is how Part P will be enforced. NICEIC director general Jim Speirs says there will be a six-month period of grace to get contractors onboard.

However, it has also been said that there will be no period of grace, and, at the previous seminar last October, there was talk of a two-year window from the NICEIC’s technical director Mike Clarke.

Despite these uncertainties, the NICEIC wants to reassure contractors that the process will be painless.

According to Speirs, NICEIC Approved Contractors will already easily meet the ODPM’s final criteria, hence the estimates of 8,000 contractors available from day one. “As far as I’m concerned the crossover will be a simple paper-based exercise for existing Approved Contractors,” he says. “The harder task is processing the new contractors that are coming in and getting them ready for day one: They will have to be assessed.”
The NICEIC is hoping to process some 24,000 applications but remains confident despite the latest hold-up. “We’ve had a project team working on Part P for some time now,” says Speirs. “We’re trying to gear ourselves up so that when the green light is given we are ready. And I believe we are ready.”

GET has unveiled a new corporate identity in a bid to boost its profile.

The wiring accessories market is worth an estimated £300m. GET’s turnover in the year to August 2003 was £73m – with 90% coming from accessories. The company wants its brand perception to reflect its sizeable market share.

Chief executive Lance Joseph says GET’s image is not helped by a common misconception: that it is “merely a distributor shifting boxes”.
In reality, the company manufactures much of its stock at factories in China, where it has a 1.8m-square-foot plant opening this spring. Joseph hopes the new facility will further its ambition to provide the accessory equivalent of “a Ferrari at Honda prices”.

With a broadening product offering, the increased production capacity will play a vital role – especially as the company quotes 100% availability, according to group commercial director Gerry Barnett.

Also crucial, says Joseph, is product design that puts the contractor first. He says every GET product is designed to make the contractor’s life easier and believes the new Ultimate screwless flat plate is a strong example.

To ensure brand clarity, the company has brought all of its product ranges under the GET banner. All packaging will now carry the new logo. The new product catalogue, with three clearly defined areas – GET Light, GET Connect and GET Air – illustrates the company’s intentions.

Call 01707 601601 for a free catalogue.

Tony Marshall never thought that surfing the internet would result in a complete career change when he sold his business, which supplied, installed and supported accounting and business management systems.

Tony comments: “I wanted a business that adhered to a proven system and which offered potential for growth and development. In all my years in business, I have never come across anything like the team spirit and camaraderie that I have found with Mr Electric.”

Mr Electric Northumberland and The Borders is a family business owned by Tony and his wife, Diana. Currently they employ one service technician and the workload is growing so rapidly that they are already in the process of recruiting a second technician.

All Mr Electric franchisees are required to attain NICEIC registration within 12 months. Tony Marshall told Electrical Times he hopes to register by Easter 2004. Mr Electric claims franchisees are fast-tracked through the registration process as they form part of a larger national group.

Mr Electric Northumberland and The Borders covers an area from the edge of north Tyneside up to Berwick-upon-Tweed and across Jedburgh. It is one of 43 Mr Electric franchises in the UK.

Merlin Power Management has simplified refuelling telecom mast generators situated in inaccessible locations with a specially commissioned refuelling buggy – a John Deere Gator 6x4 with low ground pressure tyres.

Fitted with a specially built welded aluminium fuel container carrying 450 litres of fuel, pump, hose and spill kit; it is able to travel, fully laden, across terrain unreachable by 4x4 vehicles without disturbing the land.

The fuel container is replenished by a mother vehicle, which tows the buggy from location to location. The system is currently supporting major networks such as T-Mobile, Orange and BT’s Airwave network.

Electricity firms will not be prosecuted for the power cuts that hit south London and Kent on 28 August and the West Midlands on 5 September. The energy minister, Stephen Timms, said findings from an investigation will be passed on to the electricity companies concerned "so that they can take the necessary action to enhance the robustness of their networks, and so make such occurrences less likely".

The investigation, carried out by DTI's Engineering Inspectorate, checked for compliance with the Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations 2002, and also looked at the security of electricity supplies to Network Rail and London Underground.

The inspectorate will hold talks with the companies to ensure that its recommendations are implemented.

Ofgem's investigation, which looks at whether any of the firms' statutory duties or licence conditions have been breached or are likely to be in the future, has yet to be concluded. The regulator could enforce a penalty on each of the firms if it believes there has been a breach.

The information gathered by the Engineering Inspectorate is commercially sensitive and the report cannot, therefore, be published.

Almost 40 shops and restaurants at the £200m Castlepoint Shopping Park in Bournemouth are using Greenings cable ladder for their electricity supplies. A 700 metre network of galvanised steel ladder, in widths from 150mm to 600mm, distributes power from a handful of substations on site.

The park occupies 16.5 hectares and includes 60,000 square metres of retail space in around 25 buildings. For easy access, the shops are arranged in a V-shape around a two-level car park with space for 3,000 vehicles.

Project contractor High Voltage Maintenance Services (HVMS) built five substations to cater for the park's electricity demand. it ran low-voltage cables from the transformers in the substations to feeder pillars, and then, on Greenings cable ladder, to central metering areas.

With the meters in just a few places, it is easy for the shopping park's landlord or regional electricity company to take meter readings for all the shops.

HVMS ran cables from the metering areas to each shop. Most of the cable ladder is outside, sheltered by the park's canopies and covered walkways.

Ofgem has abandoned its plan to charge firms for energy lost in transmission because it would have had no time to secure approval for the idea.

A judge last month threw out Ofgem's attempt to introduce the changes because of a procedural error on the regulator's part. This meant Ofgem would have needed to restart the entire change process again, whereas it had wanted to introduce the changes this April.

A statement from Ofgem says: "After careful consideration of the legal constraints, the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority is of the opinion that it is not legally possible for it to approve this Modification Proposal. This is because the relevant timetable set down in the Final Modification Report made its implementation conditional on a decision being reached by 31 March 2003."

ScottishPower, Scottish and Southern Energy, AES Drax and Teeside Power had campaigned for a judicial review of Ofgem's plans and, in November, won the right to a hearing (see Electrical Review, November 2003).

Ofgem argued that the charges would have encouraged firms to locate power stations nearer to its customers. The regulator said this would reduce the amount of power lost through transmission and thereby reduce costs and protect the environment.

Power companies, however, said the changes would discriminate against some of the companies located in the far north. They also argued such changes would penalise offshore wind farms.

Scottish and Southern Energy has announced its preferred route for a 400kV electricity transmission line, which must be built between the Highlands and the Central Belt of Scotland if the company is to meet government targets.

SSE says construction of the line and substations will cost around £200m. It hopes to begin work on the route in the first half of 2005, with the line operational by late 2007.

The 220km line will stretch from Beauly to Denny and will replace a 132kV line, which will be dismantled. Some 75% of the new line will run along the same route as the old one.

The chief executive of SSE, Ian Marchant, said: "The existing line was originally built to serve a very rural area with very low demand for electricity. It was not designed to cope with the large number of requests for connections to the electricity network that we are currently receiving from renewable energy developers.

"It is, therefore, vital that the wide support that exists for developing renewables in Scotland translates into a commitment to enabling this nationally-important infrastructure project to become a reality as soon as possible."

The route decision was reached after a 15-month study, in which SSE met with local authorities, statutory and non-statutory bodies and other interested parties. The company will enter another round of consultation on the proposed route and hopes to submit to the Scottish Executive in the third quarter of this year an application for consent to build the line.