The overall UK lighting market has experienced growth of around 3% during the last two years and is estimated to be worth £1.28bn in 2003 – according to AMA’s latest research.

Growth in the non-domestic lighting market has been influenced by the difficult business climate, lower levels of investment in various end-use sectors such as commercial, industrial and leisure, economic and political events and some wholesalers centralising logistics structure.

Additionally, the market has continued to suffer from price erosion, particularly in the lamps sector, further dampening growth. Lamps are estimated to account for around 28% of the overall UK lighting market in 2003, reflecting a sector value of some £364m. This sector is estimated to have experienced relatively low value increases in recent years, with an average of around 2% per annum.

During the late 1990s, growth in the lamps sector was dampened primarily by the price erosion in the GLS sector. This trend has continued with the addition of CFLs also experiencing falling prices. In recent years, however, product innovations such as LEDs, fibre optics and smaller halogens have compensated to a degree for the price erosion, fuelling low-level growth.

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BSRIA has built test facilities to stay ahead of industry needs. The 2,500ft2 laboratory provides the industry with independent accredited services and includes the only UKAS Accredited facility in the UK to type test powered smoke and heat exhaust ventilators to the new European Standard, EN 12101-3. This is a vital step in the process of obtaining CE Marking, legally mandatory in the EU after April 2005. It also includes the only test facility in the UK to carry out performance testing of air cleaners to the BSRIA S22/99, the test method that is a requirement when joining ACMA. This is in addition to the existing 8,500ft2 laboratory that can test over 30 types of building services products.

Manufacturers and specifiers of building services products and systems who have a business interest in finding out more are invited to attend the BSRIA Open Day on 13 October 2004.

Next year, the Electrical & Electronics Industries Benevolent Association will celebrate 100 years of helping those less fortunate people who have either worked or are working in the electrical and electronics industries.

During the last century, the working environment has changed out of all recognition and it is unlikely that the charity's founders would recognise the industries that are represented today. It is certain, however,

Three new members - Riello Galatrek, Premium Power and PFC Engineering - have almost doubled the size of the Power Quality Partnership.

The new members join Fluke (UK), LEM Instruments, Rhopoint Systems and MGE UPS Systems. Together with CDA and LEM Instruments, the new members are launching a new free CPD technical seminar entitled "Introduction to Power Quality, Standards and Solutions". Three events are planned for the Autumn in Leeds, Reading and Dublin.

Energywatch has taken a predictable approach to a price hike by British Gas and advised consumers to switch to cheaper suppliers. The price increase means British Gas consumers will see an average price rise of 12.4% on gas and 9.4% on electricity.

The chief executive of energywatch, Allan Asher, said: “This is a body blow to consumers. British Gas supplies 12.5 million homes with gas and 5.8 million homes with electricity. This price rise is going to add millions to bills and expose many thousands of households to the risk of fuel poverty.”

Yet, despite this apparent outrage, energywatch can do little more than say that the onus is on consumers to look around for other suppliers while “energywatch will be calling for an investigation into the wholesale market”.

In the August issue of Electrical Review, Gossage pre-empts energywatch’s latest announcement. With an accurate attack on the watchdog’s traditional ‘switch away’ response to price increases, Gossage questions the need for the watchdog when most of its consumer representation work has been taken over by Ofgem – a

Ofgem this week confirmed the £700,000 fine for Powergen, after the supplier prevented over 20,000 consumers from switching to another electricity or gas company.

The penalty was first announced in July (see Electrical Review, July 2004), following an investigation by the regulator that covered the period between October 2002 and July 2003. Ofgem’s enforcement team found that direct debit, regular cash payment and prepayment meter customers were stopped from changing supplier.

Powergen accepted the fine and has revised its procedures for customers in debt.

A mechanical engineering student in India has developed an electric vehicle that uses solar energy, fuel cells and battery-cell electricity.

The vehicle consists of a 12V solar panel, two fuel cells and a plug pin for power. The vehicle relies on the solar panel for its primary source of power and, if there is insufficient light, resorts to its fuel cells. Should there be a lack of hydrogen, necessary for a hydrogen and oxygen reaction to create electricity, then the vehicle uses its conventional battery.
The designer, N Senthil Kannan of Oxford Engineering College, says the vehicle should prove popular because the omission of an internal combustion engine will make it a cost-effective alternative to other vehicles, with costs decreasing further during mass production.

Sir Godfrey Hounsfield, who developed the first practical Cat-scan machine, has died aged 84. A Nobel Prize Committee described Hounsfield, who worked at EMI's medical research division, as "the central figure in computer-assisted tomography". His device used X-rays to scan from different angles and a computer to assemble the images into a cross-section.

Hounsfield said developing the machine "involved many frustrations, not least travelling across London by public transport carrying bullock's brains for use with an experimental scanner".

Hounsfield never attended a university but had begun experimenting with electrical and mechanical devices as a boy growing up on a family farm in Nottinghamshire.

"The period between my 11th and 18th years remains the most vivid in my memory. I constructed electrical recording machines; I investigated the principles of flight, launching myself from the tops of haystacks with a homemade glider; I almost blew myself up using water-filled tar barrels and acetylene to see how high they could be water jet propelled."

Hounsfield served as a radar instructor in the Second World War after which he earned a diploma from the Faraday House Electrical Engineering College.

The Chartered Institute of Building services Engineers (CIBSE) has announced a new industry education and training group designed to help bridge the gap between educators and employers in the building services sector. The group will provide a forum for discussion, enabling strategies to be formulated on education and training.

The main aims of the group are:

• Fulfilling the needs of industry by improving the quality, number and knowledge of students

• Supporting the needs of universities and colleges through the sourcing of students, industry panels and lecturers

• Promoting opportunities within building services for children at 14 years onwards.

Doug Oughton, Past President of CIBSE and interim chairman of the new group, commented: “There are too few children setting their sights on a career in engineering and this is putting pressure on courses and degrees in building services. Employers are similarly affected by skills shortages of qualified building services engineers to the detriment of the UK’s construction industry. Whilst we can’t change things overnight, we can cooperate on sharing information and experiences to formulate long term strategies.”

The group has the support of CIBSE patron companies, many of whom are major employers in the industry. Any company or individual interested in joining the group should contact: Samantha Mc Donough at CIBSE on 020 86755211 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

ABB has been awarded a £600,000 contract to provide three specialist 26MVA, 132/25kV single-phase railway transformers to Central Networks. The transformers will be installed at trackside substations in Kidsgrove and Tamworth and will supply power to Network Rail.

The UK product marketing manager for ABB Power Transformers, David Sullivan, said: “Short circuits are a relatively rare occurrence for a normal grid transformer. But a rail transformer is effectively subjected to a short-circuit current of between six to 10kA every time a train goes past. This calls for a highly developed and very robust design.”

Sullivan says ABB’s track record as the UK market leader in rail transformers combined with a proven short-circuit test record persuaded Central Networks and Network Rail to use ABB’s products.

A new market study claims that the largest industry players are missing out in a healthy cabling market. Contrary to the belief that smaller companies are being forced out of the market, by their larger counterparts, the analysis suggests they are in fact prospering - while larger companies are fighting each other. With the overall market showing such a healthy turnaround, the report raises the issue of why so many major players have failed to exploit such favourable conditions. David Pattison, Senior Analyst at Plimsoll, commented:

“There is clear evidence of stagnation at the top of the market. Sixty-three of the top 100 companies failed to increase sales above inflation compared to 58 last year. With many also experiencing rising costs, their future direction now looks uncertain.”

He claims that the top end of the cabling market is congested, with no room for any of the major companies to breath. “In other markets where this has been the case, there has been a series of major acquisitions to clear the air,” Pattison added.

A special 10% discount is being offered to readers of Electrical Times and Electrical Review, for the 360-page report (normal price: £500.) Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to order a copy and get your readership discount.

WRTL Exterior Lighting was called on to provide floodlighting for a series of dangerous canal locks as part of British Waterways ongoing restoration of the Caledonian Canal.

The series of locks, called Neptune’s Staircase, had become a public hazard. Should anyone have fallen in when the canal were unlit, they would not have been able to see the nearby safety ladders. Safety work therefore demanded the installation of floodlighting on the canal to illuminate the canal’s walls under aggressive environmental conditions.

The area lighting engineer at the Highland Council, Marshall Gillespie, said:

“WRTL’s floodlighting was an unobtrusive fitting, which could easily be attached in a difficult location on the walkway structure and, using 70W HQI lamps, WRTL’s scheme met the demanding light technical performance.

“Good environmental protection to IP66 means that the lantern will withstand the very wet conditions.”

Close to Fort William, Neptune’s Staircase comprises eight locks raising the level by 19 metres in under half a mile between Caol and Banavie. It features one of the highest non-mechanical lifts in Britain.