People across Derby might have to start using the 01332 dialling code to call others in the city within the next five years, reports thisisbusiness-eastmidlands.co.uk.
This warning comes from Ofcom who says the number of telecom companies buying numbers in bulk then not allocating them – are causing a shortage that will affect local residents and business telecoms.
There are approximately 300 firms now offering phone services, and Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, is responsible for allocating numbers to them. However, the telecoms providers only re-assign them after customers sign up.
According to an Ofcom spokesperson, the large number of telephone providers in Derby (84) could be behind the shortage – as the number of new allocation numbers here is higher than the average country-wide. The spokesperson said:
“Numbers are not going to run out, but we may need to take steps in Derby to ensure that local consumers have a wide choice of providers when they want a new fixed phone line”
Derby is one of seven cities most affected, where unlike others – they do not have the more current three or four-digit dialling codes, such as 0115 or 0207.
Ofcom is investigating two possible solutions; changing the dialling system within the cities; or charging operators who keep a bank of numbers – that way they will be encouraged to release more.
National Grid, one of the world’s largest utilities, predicts gas demand will reach 25% more than the seasonal average today – with gas prices likely to follow the trend.
As reported by Reuters, Gas for Tuesday delivery traded on the wholesale market at a 21-month high of 57.50 pence (up 2.75 pence compared to last year), but the price fell and was later around 57 pence per therm.
Commenting on the volatile gas market, one trader said:
“The market is a bit concerned, we’re approaching record high demand. This is a full-on January darkest days weather condition…
… It’s coping fine, It’s just a bit fragile, it’s very very unusual this early in”
However, the UK gas network is coping and has been receiving imports from Norway and the Netherlands to help meet the increased heating demand.
Meanwhile, concerns regarding gas storage levels have also been affecting gas prices. However, Britain Isle of Grain, Dragon and South Hook liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals have already supplied a combined 90 million cubic metres – with more tankers due over the next few weeks.
MP’s have criticised the UK’s progress on meeting renewable energy targets. MP’s on the Committee of Public Accounts say it’s not clear how much different sources of renewable energy will cost and how successful some of these technologies are.
Chair of the Committee is Margaret Hodge who said that the Department of Energy and Climate Change needed “a greater sense of urgency and purpose”.
The committee has been told that the country is set to miss its target of getting 10% of its electricity from sources of renewable energy by the end of this year and in fact won’t achieve this target until 2012. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has been criticised for not doing enough to deal with the fact that progress on the deployment of renewable energy has been slow.
Margaret Hodge said that despite the fact that £180m of funds had been made available for the development of renewable energy much of this money had not been spent. She said “progress in meeting renewable energy targets has been unacceptably slow over the last decade”.
MP’s criticised the Energy Department for not being ready for the future even though the UK had signed up to a legally binding target set by the EU to supply 15% of the energy in the UK from sources of renewable energy by 2020.
The committee said that the UK had signed up to this target with no “clear plans, targets for each renewable energy technology, estimates of funding required or understanding how the rate at which planning applications for onshore wind turbines were being rejected might affect progress”.
The report by the committee raises questions about energy security within the UK. It’s quite concerning that the UK has signed up to targets with no clears plans on how to best achieve them. In only a few years time coal fired power stations and nuclear power plants are set to be decommissioned and renewable energy sources were supposed to fill the gap.
The wholesale electricity price for power hit a 22-month high yesterday as the UK faces the coldest November for 25 years. Snow and ice is causing widespread disruption but the cold weather is also causing increased demands on the UK electricity network.
As reported by Utility Week, the price of power to be delivered, trading on the wholesale electricity market, reached an early high of £67.00/megawatt hour (MWh) – and the last time it traded at a higher closing price was on 8 January 2009, according to ICIS Heren’s historical data.
But, with the snow set to continue, the availability of power is a concern – there are a number of nuclear units currently off-line due to planned and unplanned outages, including refuelling.
Furthermore, the extreme cold weather in neighbouring markets has also made the situation worse and the UK was exporting power to continental Europe through the 2GW (gigawatt) UK France interconnector cable in the early hours of yesterday.
Commenting on the spike in wholesale electricity prices, Jamie Stewart, electricity market analyst for ICIS Heren, said:
“Energy desks have been scrambling to ensure that they hold enough power to cover demand over the coming days in a febrile trading environment, which has boosted prices…
… The power system is coping, but the 22month high is a reflection of just how tight the supply picture is so early into the winter”
Vodafone is making it cheaper for customers from the UK to use their smartphones in Europe. Vodafone has announced that UK customers can use their home data plan aboard for just £2 a day.
In an attempt to help both domestic and business mobile users Vodafone is also offering a price plan for frequent travellers that includes data roaming within their current monthly package.
Vodafone hopes the changes will make it simpler and cheaper for those travelling abroad whether on holiday or business. Vodafone customers will be able to get the new tariffs in all European countries serviced by Vodafone and also France, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria.
The chief executive of Vodafone, Vittorio Colao, has said that he expects sales of smartphones in Europe to grow from 32% to over 70% by 2013. He said that by offering a competitive pricing package Vodafone hoped to drive up smartphone sales.