We are so fortunate having one of the safest national electricity supplies in the world. Sometimes we may grumble about the cost but when we consider the hundreds of times a day we rely on this silent, invisible resource, there is so much to rejoice about. We are now moving away from coal fired energy entirely, our national grid is supplied by a variety of ways and we still rely on other fossil fuels suh as natural gas. The use of nuclear power stations accounts for just under 20 percent of the UK electricity and is projected to rise to about a third by 2035. There are currently 15 operaitonal nuclear reactors which are based across 7 locations – advaned gas colled reactors and one pressurised water cooled reactor. The rest of our energy is imported via very complex system across europe. So we do have a wide variety of sources to provide this essential resource. Our safety record is tremendous – the training of operational teams second to none. This ripples down to the service work by contractors a local domestic level. All electrical contractors have to be trained, qualified and hold certification.
Author: Mike Terry
It’s incredible when you think about how many things we use in a day that call for electricity. In this country we don’t have to think about it at all. We simply flick and switch and it’s there. From the moment we wake up, perhaps to a mains powered clock radio; then pop into the shower, probably has an independent pump in the loft and then drying and styling the hair. All these before we’ve even been up half an hour. As we move about downstairs, there’s the radio or tv for the news . . . the kettle goes on and perhaps the microwave oven for the porridge or the toaster. Breakfast ensues, followed by hasty dishwasher emptying before refilling . . .Has the family dropped off their dirty laundry for the housekeeper/laundry maid/cook/bottle washer aka Mum to collect us and deal with – electric washing machine followed by drier. How we ever got on with life without these ‘essentials’ is beyond the comprehension of most people today. Conserving this luxury is becoming an important feature so we can keep it for as long as it’s available!
When we think back to our history lessons at school, which jumped around the generations and periods and after the Romans, who from what we know from extensive physical and written evidence plus modern research methods, were far advanced in their thinking and ability to make progress. Ok, they did not get so far as to make electricity to run their towns and cities but they did find ways to make life comfortable for some of the hierarchy. Hot water ran into baths . . . thermal baths utilised natures own way of controlling matters. Who knows what greatness we would have been living under if the Romans had not suddenly become almost extinct in a short time. From Britain’s point of view their sudden and unexpected withdrawal from our shores in the 400ADs was catastrophic. We went from civilised townships with WCs, heated baths. . . . so many great advances, to utter shambles and we went back to nothingness. Until the great brains of the industrial revolutionaries in the 1700sand 1800s. People willing to risk reputations and vast sums of money, to realise their dream of bringing power, heat, light and warmth to homes. Power for industry to provide jobs and national prestige.
We have very stable power supplies here in this country and we don’t really have to worry about power cuts. I remember when young, throughout the winter we would be prone to power cuts on a regular basis. So much so that we had jam jars with candles together with matches placed strategically around the house, ready. I’m assuming these power cuts were in part caused by disruption to supplies from the grid to the huge pylons via overhead cables. It was one of the less attractive features of looking out over a broad landscape of open countryside. The lines of pylons. I used to find them utterly terrifying and could never go near them. Then in the early 1980s, my job moved to a unit above a midlands town and slap bang in front of the office was a huge pylon. Whenever it rained, we had hissing noises outside. the early generation computers did not work well on wet days and I was greatly relieved when we moved units some five years later. But those pylons have gradually been dismantled and we have so much more stability with underground electricity supplies. Whoever is supplying our homes and businesses, we are blessed with reliable and secure power source that is well run. Unlike so many other areas of the world.
There has been much in the news and media about the cost of utilities going up and up. This is probably understandable in terms of our weather this winter having been the worst on record in places. When the really cold weather stikes, we all put the heating on a little bit earlier each afternoon. The result is a massive overuuse of our national grid for the electricity needed. The gas is brought in via pipelines from across the continents. This has always worried me – as soona s it was obivous we had wasted and thrown away that precious resourse – North sea gas, we were in trouble! We hae to conserve fuel now. Each faily has the option of putting some sort of diy energy saving device on their property. We ust be encouraged to do whatever is needed to minimise our electrical footprint on this planet – to keep what we have for those who come after us.
I was visiting a chum in the next village the other day – usual question, did I fancy coffee. Yes, thinks I. This time though it wasn’t the fancy all singing, all dancing coffee roasting, grinding, sweet aroma’d machine that went on. No, it was an old fashioned kettle on the range. Apparently they’d recently been put on a smart meter and were advised of course that as they have the range on all day heating the house, and probably the water, it made sense to have a kettle almost permanently on stand by. It was lovely to see this shiny chrome thing happily coming to the boil. Almost back to tudor times with everything hanging near the fire to be useful! How amusing that in these days of hi tec everything, we ‘ve got to the point where common sense dictates that although the coffee might taste exciting in a big machine, for cheapness and cutting down power use, a cup of instant with a range kettle wins hands down!
Well, these days we are surrounded on all sides by parties who are jostling to get our attention for their particular favourite theme. Young folk in their thousands are desperately trying to get the politicians and Joe Public to listen to them about climate change – and some are prepared to take matters far beyond the norms for debate. Our country is slowly beginning to take some necessary steps to address the topics – we are however a very tiny little country and the part we play in wrecking the planet is miniscule in comparison with many other much bigger countries. We already try to limit our use of power in homes, are encouraged to use smart meters to register our useage for reduction purposes. The youngsters need to tackle the huyge burners of power – places like New York and other US cities need to be pushed much harder and that’s going to be their greatest challenge.
Out of the many sites on the internet dedicated to home solar and / or wind power, we need to be checking what is available to help us at home. We all know, great care must be taken with all forms of power and that’s truer than ever for anything installed in a domestic situation. As we know there are some really good guides on the internet, but it is best to actually go into a property with such an installatiion and talk to that practitioner, just in case there are questions to be sorted as the project proceeds.
For a system is to be worthy of safe consideration, the designer and installer, if not just one , must be available to describe the systm in full, how it works and how to get the best out of it when operating. Consider aswell what would they have done better or differently on their existing system. What are the optimum operating parameters. This information should be available before anyone signs on the bottom line.