One thing we all have in common is that we shop. Some of us routinely order groceries online while others try on diamonds at Tiffany’s or test drive sports cars at dealerships. Whether a chore or a splurge, shopping is a fact of life. So, we all have our own personal vantage point from which to view the seismic shifts that are taking place in the retail industry through the digitalisation of shopping and changes in buying behaviour.

People talking about RCDs and the 18th Edition is, most of the time, a good thing, but occasionally it’s a dangerous thing, according to Electrium, home to brands Crabtree & Wylex.

More worker deaths are caused by falls from height than any other kind of work-related incident in the UK, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Alastair Hogg, sales director at MSA Safety, recaps on what we have learned from the year just gone, and explores what we need to be prepared for in 2019.

Spark Energy. Extra Energy. Gen4U. Future Energy. Usio Energy.Iresa. National Gas & Power. These seven small companies have one thing in common. During 2018, each ceased providing electricity supplies to British customers.

During last year there were no fewer than 73 active electricity suppliers  licensed by the regulator Ofgem . In 2017 there were 60. This time seven years ago, there were just 14.

When I first wrote this Diary, Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, and Peter Walker her maverick energy secretary. Way ahead of his time, he was a great champion of renewable electricity. 

It was an enthusiasm not shared at the Treasury, then run by arch climate change denier Nigel (now Lord) Lawson. He went out of its way to block any renewables progressing. Even so, Peter Walker would litter his speeches with ecstatic hymns of praise to various embryonic  renewable electricity initiatives. 

 A decision from the European Court of Justice has brought to a crashing halt a UK Government scheme  which has already paid out £5.6bn. The money has gone almost entirely  to those in business to sell  electricity, ostensibly to ensure the lights stay on in winter. 

The struggling tabloid “I” newspaper was chuffed to be sponsored by Octopus Energy for a four page supplement. It was entitled Energy Saving Special. Which largely consisted of advertising and editorial, urging householders to switch to buying electricity from Octopus. 

The International Energy Agency in Paris has long been a champion of carbon capture and storage development. Nine years ago, they were solemnly projecting that  there would be over one hundred CCS plants operating across the developed world by 2020.

Clearing operations at Germany’s embattled Hambach Forest , to make way for utility RWE’s proposed  expansion of a lignite coal mine, were halted by a Munster court. Asked to decide whether the forest is protected by EU environmental rules, the judges said RWE did not provide sufficient evidence why cutting down the old forest is, as claimed, to maintain energy supply security. They ordered that deforestation be stopped. 

For years, British proponents of nuclear power have strenuously denied any connection between the production of  nuclear weapons and that of electricity. Remember that compelling slogan Atoms For Peace? 

Chris Bielby MBE, chair of the Electrical Safety Roundtable, examines the progress being made on monitoring and enforcing Part P of the Building Regulations, and asks what more could be done