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Electric car chargepoints to be installed in all future homes in world first

All new-build homes could soon be fitted with an electric car chargepoint, the government has outlined today (15 July 2019) in a public consultation on changing building regulations in England. The consultation comes alongside a package of announcements to support electric vehicle drivers and improve the experience of charging.

The proposals aim to support and encourage the growing uptake of electric vehicles within the UK by ensuring that all new homes with a dedicated car parking space are built with an electric chargepoint, making charging easier, cheaper and more convenient for drivers.

The legislation would be a world first, and complements wider investment and measures the government has put in place to ensure the UK has one of the best electric vehicle infrastructure networks in the world – as part of the £1.5 billion Road to Zero Strategy.

The government has also set out today that it wants to see all newly installed rapid and higher powered chargepoints provide debit or credit card payment by Spring 2020.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

With record levels of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads, it is clear there is an appetite for cleaner, greener transport.

Home charging provides the most convenient and low-cost option for consumers – you can simply plug your car in to charge overnight as you would a mobile phone.

The government has already taken steps to ensure that existing homes are electric vehicle ready by providing up to £500 off the costs of installing a chargepoint at home.

Having supported the installation of almost 100,000 domestic chargepoints through grant support schemes, the government has also announced that it is consulting on requirements that all new private chargepoints use ‘smart’ technology.

This means an electric vehicle would charge at different times of the day in response to signals, such as electricity tariff information. This would encourage off-peak charging, keeping costs down for consumers.

The consultation proposes using powers under the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act to require most new chargepoints to have smart functionality and meet minimum standards. It also launches a call for evidence on the longer-term options for smart charging.

For more information on electric vehicles and chargepoints, visit www.goultralow.com.

UK government to cut electricity bills for consumers in the north of Scotland

Households in the northern parts of Scotland could soon save money on their electricity bills thanks to UK government plans to more fairly distribute the costs for providing electricity to the Shetland Islands.

The isolated nature of Shetland’s electricity system means it costs £18 million more a year to keep its 23,000 residents’ homes and businesses powered, than it does to provide power on the mainland. The cost is currently picked up by consumers in the north of Scotland through their electricity bills.

These costs are expected to rise to £27 million from next year in order to deliver a necessary upgrade to Shetland’s power supply. The UK government is concerned about the burden this would place on consumers in the north of Scotland.

It has today (11 July 2019) published a consultation announcing plans to spread the costs of powering Shetland across Great Britain from April 2020, meaning consumers across the northern part of Scotland – from Thurso to Aberdeen – would save around £17 a year on their electricity bills.

Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Chris Skidmore, said:

The UK government is committed to ensuring everyone across the country, including in the remotest parts of northern Scotland, has access to a reliable energy supply at a fair price. We’ve already shown this through our price cap – intervening in the market to protect loyal consumers in all parts of the union from being overcharged.

Consumers in the north of Scotland should not have to fund the costs of maintaining Shetland’s energy security alone. The ability to share costs more widely is one of the benefits of being part of the United Kingdom and these plans will mean consumers in the north of Scotland will soon receive a welcome saving on their bills.

Shetland is different to other Scottish islands as it’s the only part of Britain’s licensed distribution network that is isolated. It’s unable to benefit from the economies of scale enjoyed by other islands, which are part of the integrated network, which is why costs have always been higher.

Scotland Secretary David Mundell said:

I warmly welcome the UK government’s plan to cut the electricity costs of consumers in the north of Scotland. Spreading the costs across the whole of Great Britain reflects the unique circumstances in Shetland and northern Scotland. ‎The UK government is determined to deliver for all of Scotland’s communities.

The UK government’s Hydro Benefit Replacement Scheme already provides an annual cross-subsidy of £61 million to protect electricity consumers in the north of Scotland from the high costs of electricity distribution in the region. It is funded by charges on electricity suppliers across Great Britain.

The scheme will be used to deliver the new funding arrangement for Shetland’s electricity, meaning that the total assistance provided through to the north of Scotland consumers will be almost £90 million a year.

New laws to guarantee payment for solar homes providing excess electricity

UK Homes and green businesses generating renewable and low-carbon electricity to be guaranteed money for power supplied to the grid.

New solar homes and businesses creating and exporting electricity to the grid will be guaranteed a payment from suppliers under new laws to be introduced by the government this week (Monday 10 June).

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) will ensure small-scale electricity generators installing solar, wind or other forms of renewable generation with a capacity up to 5MW will be paid for each unit of electricity they sell to the grid – tracked by their smart meter.

Residential solar panels are now over 50% cheaper than in 2011. SEG will build on the previous government subsidy scheme, which drove the installations of 850,000 small-scale renewable projects, but without passing on the cost to consumers.

Encouraging suppliers to competitively bid for electricity will give households the best market price for their energy, while providing the local grid with more clean, green energy, as the UK bids to become a net zero emissions economy.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Chris Skidmore, said:

The future of energy is local and the new smart export guarantee will ensure households that choose to become green energy generators will be guaranteed a payment for electricity supplied to the grid.

We want the energy market to innovate and it’s encouraging to see some suppliers already offering competitive export tariffs to reduce bills. We want more to follow suit, encouraging small-scale generation without adding to consumer bills, as we move towards a subsidy-free energy system and a net zero emissions economy.

SEG will place a legal obligation on energy suppliers with over 150,000 customers –covering more than 90% of the retail market – to introduce export tariffs by 1 January 2020. Some energy suppliers, including Octopus and Bulb, are already offering new smart tariffs, with some exceeding those offered under the previous subsidy scheme. At peak, solar has provided more than a quarter of the UK’s energy demands.

Chief Executive of Octopus Energy, Greg Jackson, said:

These smart export tariffs are game changing when it comes to harnessing the power of citizens to tackle climate change. They mean homes and businesses can be paid for producing clean electricity just like traditional generators, replacing old dirty power stations and pumping more renewable energy into the grid. This will help bring down prices for everyone as we use cheaper power generated locally by our neighbours.

The previous Feed-in Tariffs (FIT) scheme closed to new entrants from 31 March 2019, following consultations in 2015 and 2018, to reduce the costs to consumers as the price of installing solar panels came down.

SEG is designed to continue to grow the small-scale renewables export market by supporting local generation. Combined with existing technologies, like smart meters and battery storage, SEG will help bridge the gap to a smarter and more efficient energy system of the future.

The government is keen to support households and businesses in being able to store energy in batteries in their homes, which consumers will monitor on their smart meters, respond to price signals and choose the most economical times to charge their electric cars and sell their electricity back to the grid. In turn, this will help cut consumer bills, reduce the strain on energy networks, and give consumers more control of their energy use.

The new solar scheme comes as the government will unveil the winners of the latest round of the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund this week. One of the winners, Brill Power, has been awarded £686,000 in grant funding to explore further boosting the lifetime of lithium-ion battery packs for household energy storage and to bring down their cost for consumers.

Product Recall – Fluke T110, T130 and T150 Two-Pole Voltage Testers

Risk

Risk of electric shock due to false readings from product

Description

Fluke state that:

“It has been determined that certain Recalled Testers may experience premature failure of the interconnecting cable under cyclical bending stress. Recent experiments conducted by Fluke have shown a wide distribution in the number of cycles to failure exhibited by the Recalled Testers, meaning that certain Recalled Testers are subject to failure earlier than expected, leading to a useful life for certain of them that Fluke considers unacceptable.

Further, the cable may fail in an intermittent fashion where, depending on the cable flex orientation, it is possible for a Recalled Tester to pass a self check continuity test or validation on a known voltage source, while subsequent tests may display a false negative. The primary function of a T-Pole Tester is to detect the presence or absence of voltage to determine whether it is safe to touch an electrical installation and begin work.

A false negative may lead to electric shock or arc flash from subsequent user actions as a result of the false negative indication, which may lead to injury or even death. Because of this risk, please IMMEDIATELY STOP using your T-Pole Tester”

What To Do

If you believe that you possess an affected product stop using it immediately and check the below webpage for further details and recall information

Fluke Recall

Wiring Matters – Issue 74 March 2019

In the March 2019 issue they welcome back James Eade’s Mythbusting column, he will brief you on the developments of IEC 60364-8-2 and investigate the importance of working safely with storage.

Here is a quick look at what you can expect to find in this issue :-

Mythbusters #3 – All electrical appliances in the workplace should be tested annually

As myths go, this is a well-established one. A cursory glance at any item of electrical equipment in the workplace is very likely to reveal a green sticker indicating that the testing interval is annual, but should it be? As the IET Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment undergoes revision in preparation for a 5th Edition, James Eade delves into the archives to look at the rationale for testing and where such established practice comes from.

Working safely with storage: It’s not business as usual

Two near misses within the past 18 months have been a timely reminder of unique safety procedures for electrical energy storage systems –
Dr Andrew Crossland CEng and EUR ING Graham Kenyon CEng

Lecturing on the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations in Cyprus

The publication of the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations has created a surge in demand for local network events to provide updates and insight into the new and amended requirements. The IET Cyprus network requested a visit from a member of the IET Technical Regulations team to give lectures on the main technical changes and new requirements of the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations in Nicosia and Limassol and I was happy to volunteer to do them – By: Leon Markwell

Latest developments in International Standards for prosumers low-voltage electrical installations

In October 2018, a new standard, IEC 60364-8-2, was published. In this article, we give a brief overview of some of the latest requirements at international level, which may or may not be incorporated in BS 7671 in the future – By: Geoff Cronshaw

Crabtree: 1919 to 2019 and beyond

Electrical safety has always been at the heart of everything Crabtree does. It’s a philosophy that has seen the brand through periods of depression, a world war, and market uncertainty. It enables them to consistently deliver products and devices that installers can trust, and it all started with a ‘dolly’. (Sponsored)

Read the full issue here – https://electrical.theiet.org/wiring-matters/issues/74/