Despite continuing opposition, the Japanese government has ordered that a reactor at one of the country’s nuclear power plants is turned back on.
According to the operators of the Oi nuclear power plant, Kansai Electric Power, the reactor should be ready to begin operating again at 9pm on Sunday. Once it’s operational it will be the first nuclear reactor in the country to start generating electricity since the earthquake and tsunami in March of last year.
There have been reports that a number of alarms have been going off at the plant where the reactor is located. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said that these alarms were associated with maintaining a constant power supply from outside of the plant.
Utility Exchange has reported previously that the Japanese government is keen to re-start some of its nuclear reactors to ensure the country can cope with the extra power required during the hot summer months and to help boost the economy.
Energy firms in Japan are concerned that they are not generating enough electricity to meet demand in the summer. Demand for business electricity increases at this time of the year as firms switch on air conditioning units to compensate for the high summer temperatures. Last summer, workers were allowed to go to work in cooler clothing and some businesses changed their working hours so that they operated when there was less demand for electricity.
However, there are concerns among the public that the Oi reactors are situated on top of seismic faults which have only just been discovered. Protestors argue that until these faults have been assessed it would be “crazy” to restart the reactor. Executive director of Green Action, Aileen Mioko Smith, said that local and national politicians supported a call for tests to be carried out before the reactor is restarted but said that the government would not listen.
The Energy Saving Trust has revealed that thousands of households are wasting energy by leaving devices on standby.
A study by the Energy Saving Trust and two government departments found that households could be spending over £1bn needlessly because they are not switching off devices such as computers and TVs.
But it’s not just householders wasting money on energy. The Carbon Trust has said that businesses could slash their energy bills by 10% if they simply turned off appliances and turned down the heating.
The study looked at how 250 homes used electricity and discovered that they were spending between £50 and £86 on devices which had been left on standby. This amounts to as much as 9-16% of the average electricity bill.
Many modern devices have low energy modes or turn themselves off if they are inactive for a certain amount of time. However, it’s not economical for households to keep buying new products and therefore people need to be aware of how much it costs and how much money they could save by ensuring devices are turned off.
Making simple changes can help both householders and businesses to reduce energy costs. For example, householders can dry washing outside or on an indoor airer, rather than using a tumble dryer while businesses can ensure computers, laptops and monitors are turned off at the end of the day. The Hub has reported in the past that leaving a PC on overnight uses enough electricity to make 200 cups of coffee.
According to the Energy Saving Trust (EST) it costs around £80 a year to run a washing machine and tumble dryer and that’s not taking into account the cost of washing powder.
The chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, Philip Sellwood, said “It’s crucial that households across the nation can make informed decisions by having the right advice to help them reduce their energy usage and fuel bills”.
So far we have looked at the fuel mix for E.ON, British Gas and SSE and today we will look at the fuel mix for EDF Energy.
All energy suppliers have to provide a fuel mix disclosure and fuel sources for electricity generation is different for each supplier. The Hub has already reviewed the fuel mix for British Gas, E.ON and SSE.
So, what is the fuel mix for EDF Energy?
The majority of electricity generated by EDF comes from nuclear power. 62% of EDF’s electricity is generated by nuclear compared with a national average of 17%. Around 28% of EDF’s electricity comes from coal which is almost the same as the UK average of 29%.
While the UK average for electricity generated by gas is 44%, only 6% of EDF’s electricity comes from gas. EDF’s use of renewables to generate electricity is also below the UK average.
It’s not surprising that the vast majority of EDF’s electricity comes from nuclear power. EDF owns 8 nuclear power stations in the UK including Sizewell B, Hunterston B and Hinkley B.
A number of suppliers have agreed to make changes as a result of the Contract End Date (CED) campaign which aims to make business energy bills fairer.
The CED campaign has been supported by thousands of businesses and charities and as a result of the campaign a number of business energy suppliers have agreed to improve their communications with business customers.
The campaign wants to make it easier for businesses to review energy tariffs and it has called for Contract End dates and how much notice is required to terminate the contract, to be printed on bills. The campaign has also called for renewal letters to be sent by Recorded Delivery and for them to show the difference between how much the customer is currently charged and the proposed new rates.
CNG has said it will introduce CEDs on bills and send renewal letters by Recorded Delivery as early as August. E.ON has agreed to put CEDs on bills and says it will look at other ways to make communications between supplier and customer better. ScottishPower says it already sends renewal letters by Recorded Delivery to some of its customers.
The managing director of CNG, Jacqui Hall said, “CNG is embracing the opportunity to represent independent energy suppliers in the pioneering bid to promote greater competition and better, more accurate communication between energy providers and customers. Delivering clear, concise information at regular intervals to our customers on their notice period and contract end date will empower them to seek out the best deal for their needs at any one time and overall, this move will increase accountability and credibility in this industry”.
Sales director at E.ON, Anthony Ainsworth, said “Our small business customers want clearer information about when their contract ends and the options they have at this point which is why we’ll be putting Contract End Dates on our bills by the end of the year”.
Hotels and other forms of hospitality business use a great deal of energy but how can those involved in the hospitality industry and in particular the hotel business, reduce their business energy costs?
So far The Hub has looked at how the warehousing industry, office based businesses and manufacturing businesses can reduce their business energy costs. Today The Hub will look at the hospitality industry and assess how it can reduce business energy costs using information from businesslink.gov.uk.
Hotels and those involved in other forms of the hospitality industry should:
Ensure Facilities On Offer Are Energy Efficient
Hotels have a number of facilities which use a lot of energy. For example, kitchens, laundry and leisure facilities. These facilities need to be managed efficiently to ensure energy is not wasted. As business electricity prices increase, saving energy in facilities which consume a high amount of energy is important.
Use Motion Sensor Lighting And Taps
It may be worthwhile installing lighting triggered by movement and taps which work in a similar way. These shouldn’t just be confined to guest facilities but those used by everyone, including employees.
Ensure Heating Is Operating Correctly.
This advice applies to all businesses but it’s particularly important in hotel facilities where people are spending the night. Ensure that heating and cooling systems are controlled properly and are working at the required temperatures.
Ensure freezers are working efficiently by defrosting them on a regular basis. Keep doors shut rather than leaving them open for periods of time and fill any unused spaces with bubble wrap.
Further information on energy efficiency can be found by signing up to the Hospitable Climates programme.