A German student could face charges for stealing less than a penny's worth of electricity from a train station.

Jan Michael Ihl, a 23-year-old student, plugged his laptop computer into a socket beside an unused information stand to find out the address of a hostel in Kassel.

Within minutes, three police officers arrested him. They say they watched Ihl crouch by the plug socket and continually look over his shoulder before fleeing.

Public prosecutors will now decide whether the case is worth pursuing.

Fisher Electrical says Moeller's Mini Panel Board halves expense and installation time.

The Shrewsbury-based firm recently installed one at Alcotrol Laboratories in Langley, Berkshire, where it feeds power for equipment in a 3,000 sq ft lab. It is configured for a 250A, three-phase incomer, metering and outgoing four 100A three-phase, as well as single 60A and 10A sub mains.

"We needed a panel board capable of delivering 100A outgoing supply," said Richard Fisher. "Competing boards stop at 63A so the alternative would have been to use two boards – an MCB for light and a MCCB for heavy-duty applications. In selecting the Mini Panel Board we halved the expense, installation time and space used compared with the twin-board approach."

From placing the order with CEF to completing the installation took less than three days, according to Fisher. He says board building was a simple matter of clipping in the MCBs and that a day's labour was saved compared to building and installing a standard MCCB panel board.

Additionally, the Mini Panel Board's 125A range means future equipment requirements are catered for – without the expense of having to upgrade to a new MCCB board.

See www.moeller.co.uk for further information.

Brand new lighting design software that complies with the latest industry guidelines is to be demonstrated for the first time at Interbuild.

Fitzillume 2004 - the upgraded version of the package produced by the Fitzgerald Lighting Group - will be available free to visitors attending the Total Lighting section at the construction industry's premier trade event.

Around 1,200 exhibitors are expected to be present at Interbuild 2004, which runs at the NEC in Birmingham from 25 to 29 April.

Fitzgerald's marketing manager John Williams said: "We plan to use Interbuild as a platform to launch Fitzillume, our user-friendly lighting design software, which is now fully updated to assist with lighting calculations required within the recent addendum to LG3.

"By inputting details such as dimensions of the area to be lit, and then selecting luminaires from the electronic catalogue, the scheme can be designed and checked on-screen before the fittings are actually committed to the project."

Williams claims the software is aimed at all sectors of the industry – from large design departments to smaller contractors who need to produce a lighting scheme prior to commencing a project.

Free copies of the software will be available from the Fitzgerald Lighting Group on Stand 12 G40, where other companies Martell and Lightform, also part of the Fitzgerald Lighting Group, will also be exhibiting.

Free tickets to Interbuild 2004 can be reserved online at www.interbuild.com or by calling the ticket hotline on 0870 429 4558.

CGE power has made an offer to the Board of Drax Holdings for the UK's biggest power station, located in Yorkshire.

The proposal suggests Drax Holdings exchange all its assets, except for the benefits associated with Drax's claims in the TXU administrations, for a mix of undefined senior debt and mezzanine debt instruments in CGE Power.

Drax insists the proposal is highly conditional because the completion of any final offer is dependent on CGE's purchase of a number of other plants of an appropriate mix. CGE wants to acquire around a dozen power stations, providing some 15% of the UK's electricity capacity.

The 4,000MW Yorkshire plant is the biggest coal-fired power station in Europe.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) last week published extensive research on ladder stability devices in a bid to educate designers, manufacturers, employers and workers in how to prevent falls from height.

Undertaken for HSE by Loughborough University, the research was heralded as a "great step up" by Falls from Height programme manager, Bill Gillan.

"Falls from height killed 49 workers last year, including 11 who fell from moveable ladders," says Gillan. "HSE figures show that such falls also led to some 4,000 major injuries, of which about a third were the result of falls from moveable ladders."

Gillan said the independently reviewed research would help guide proposals for the new Work at Height Regulations (on which the HSE is currently consulting draft proposals) and that the findings would be discussed with relevant industry associations at the earliest opportunity.

The comprehensive document – some 290 pages – can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr205.htm.

Those needing further details or wishing to get involved with the Work at Height consultation should see: www.hse.gov.uk/consult/condocs/cd192.htm.

Ofgem has fined ScottishPower and npower penalties of £200,000 each after some 9,000 direct debit customers were unfairly stopped from switching to a different gas or electricity supplier last year.

The regulator's chairman, Sir John Mogg, said: "Our decision will demonstrate to all energy companies that we will not tolerate any bad practices that damage customer confidence in the competitive energy markets.

"Consumers can save a lot of money by switching supplier. We do not want to see anyone put off exercising their right to choose a new supplier."

The penalties were first proposed in December 2003. They will be paid into the Government Consolidated Fund, with affected customers not receiving any money.

Energywatch, the independent gas and electricity consumer watchdog, has called on the two firms to make an ex-gratia payment of £50 to each customer whose request to transfer was blocked.

This is the third time Ofgem has imposed financial penalties. It fined London Electricity £2m in November 2002 for mis-selling and fined British Gas Trading a total of £200,000 in June 2003 for incorrect objections.

Doctors do not recognise electrical sensitivity as an illness, although sufferers in America say electromagnetic exposure -such as watching television, working on a computer or walking past a microwave cooker - leaves them nauseated, dizzy and disoriented.

Arthur Firstenberg, a resident of California, says he has experienced electrical sensitivity since 1980, when he was a student. After undergoing a series of X-rays, Firstenberg said he became sensitive to common appliances, such as dishwashers and televisions. He described the sensation as a jangling of the nervous system.

"Imagine sticking your hand in a light socket every time you went by a toaster," he said.

He questions those who believe electrical sensitivity is a psychosomatic problem. "It's definitely real," he said. "If people are allergic to chocolate, milk and paint, why not one of the other marvels of the 20th century?"

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R & M Construction Services has installed high intensity variable lighting in the tunnel underneath the approach road leading to Heathrow's Terminal 5 building, and the prestigious "T5 Welcome Arch".

Light sensors monitor outside light levels and allow lighting inside the tunnel to vary accordingly to prevent driver disorientation when entering and leaving. The system also incorporates emergency lighting.

Graham Tyler, commercial director of R & M Construction Services said: "Using Pirelli's Flexo Modular Power System made the installation process much easier than using a conventional hard wire system.

"Working to a critical timescale meant the pressure was on as the road had to be open and ready for traffic on a specific date. The whole system was pre-made by Pirelli and delivered complete on 16 cable drums. It was literally a case of just laying out the cable and plugging in the lights.

"Future maintenance of the tunnel will be very straightforward as lights that fail can simply be removed and replaced rather than the whole tunnel closing to traffic."

Pirelli's Flexo Modular Power System is a prefabricated factory-tested cable harness. The plug and socket installation means no unsightly distribution boxes have to be mounted within the tunnel.

A range of steel perimeter trunking from Mita UK has been chosen for the secure containment and protection of mains The entrance of the former wool mill power cabling - together with voice and data wiring networks - in Bradford's Design Exchange.

Electrical contractors were from the Building Maintenance Services department of Bradford Council. The Exchange is housed in a former Victorian wool mill, converted from the three original historic buildings at a cost of £2.7 million. The project was funded jointly by the local authority and the European Regional Development Fund.

Mita 165x52mm steel perimeter trunking has been installed in both dado and skirting profiles to suit different requirements in offices, conference facilities and other areas.

The trunking accepts 'snap-fit' mounting boxes allowing rapid and easy installation of standard power outlets, telephone and data-points, without the need for metal accessory plates.

David Dix of Bradford Council says: "Mita SPT trunking allowed the installation to be tailored to meet the requirements of different areas in the building, based on a single standardised cable management solution".

Representatives of manufacturers, end-users, trade associations, housing associations and government departments will convene in London for EPN’s second Domestic CHP conference on 8 June.

Cogeneration - the production of usable heat and power from the same source - is established at the industrial level, but its application in small-scale residential properties is still in its infancy.

DCHP2 - Driving the Products to Market builds on the success of the 2003 event in giving this crucial emerging technology its own national forum.

As at the 2003 conference, speakers will be limited to 20-minute presentations so the subject can be covered in the greatest possible depth.

The full programme is:

The Business Case

DCHP in Context

Prioritising dCHP

Persuading the utilities

Positioning the products

Investing for mass production

What the market needs

Reality versus expectations

Interested parties

The manufacturer’s view

Housing Associations/Local Government

Central Government

Creating the market

Replacement gas boilers

Manufacturing and marketing strategy to 2013

Distribution companies as wholesalers

Until 26 March, delegates can book at the "early bird" discount price of £325. After that, the price is £375 including full documentation, lunch and refreshments. Please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Civil Aviation Authority's Safety Regulation Group (SRG), needed to upgrade the cabling at its Gatwick base. Terry Taylor of the CAA (right) inspects the installation

The building was originally flood-wired with Category 3 cabling, but when the first phase of the refurbishment programme for the east wing started in November 2000, it became clear that this needed to be upgraded. On the advice of Systems Installation Services, CAA decided to opt for Category 5e/6 from Siemon.

Terry Taylor, technical support manager at CAA comments: "Siemon's history of involvement in standards development, the company's product quality and the fact that Siemon Category 6 connectors were used by the testing organisation were important factors."

The refurbishment of the east wing's ground floor was completed in February 2001, with 800 outlets to Category 6. Attention then moved to the rest of the building and CAA started a competitive tender process for the project, which specified that Siemon Category 6 products must be used.

When the tender process was completed in May 2002, Cable and Wireless won the contract, which was to be managed by Allnet, a division of C&W, with SIS as the subcontracted installer. The final phase of the project was completed on time and within budget in August 2003.

In total, the installation consisted of just over 4,000 ports, one communication room and two distribution points in each floor/wing. Category 6 cabling was required for all under floor cabling with Category 5e to the desktop. Eventually, the whole building will be Category 6, but this is not required by existing applications at the current time.

All work needed to be done without moving staff, so installation was undertaken out of normal office hours.

It's hard to imagine that way back in 1905 there was a thriving and rapidly growing electrical industry. Many people
connected to the industry fell upon difficult times with poverty common, medicine in many cases not an exact science, no antibiotics and no National Health Service. So a group of electrical industry people got together and formed the EEIBA.

Next year, the charity will be 100 years old. With many National and local Centenary fundraising events planned, the EEIBA will introduce an awareness and publicity campaign at an unprecedented level.

The Association is already receiving individual offers of help from those fundraisers who enjoy doing something a bit different. Like the man who went on a sponsored slim, or the cyclist who raised funds pedalling from Lands End to John O'Groats, and the team that climbed Mont Blanc.

The EEIBA will again have places available in the London Marathon and there are also those fundraisers who do not wish to punish themselves over 26 miles who are planning short family and works fun runs.

So if you would like to become part of the EEIBA's Centenary celebrations - and make a personal effort however large or small - contact Kim on 020 8673 9823