Ted Barrett                                                   - Training, Consultancy and Technical Services
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Blog for November


Hello good people, welcome to my report for November. I don’t envy our security services keeping an eye on the House of Parliament this month, there must have been many a modern-day version of the gunpowder plot to deal with.

Those of you who are working as sparkies in the UK must be aware that time for the 17 Edition of BS7671 is about to run out. The 18th Edition came into force as a transitory stage on the 1st of July this year, where installers could work to the 17th or 18th Edition. However, as from January the 1st 2019 the 17th is finished and only the 18th can be used.

As the weather changes I’m reminded how cold it used to be working on a building site and how that is part of my working life I really don’t miss in any shape or form.

It always interests and amuses me that as we hurtle towards December people start to talk about snow. Those old enough will start talking about the winter of 1963 where we did have a big cold snap and a massive snow bomb. Those a little younger may start misting over and recalling the winter of 2010. Whatever, all will have a particular winter memory dear to their heart’s.

The Eco Doom-sayers will also be wheeled out for their twaddle and start spouting figures and data to convince us that the end is nigh. Of climate change, I do not really dispute. I find it incredible though that this new religion (Eco) does not find climate change a naturally occurring event. This planet has an ice-age about every 11,000 years. Guess when the last one was? (Yes, that’s right. About 11,000 years ago) Do the Ecos actually think it is normal for a planet to remain at exactly the same temperature for thousands of years? it would be more prudent if we used what time we have left to prepare for the next ice sheet to slide across northern Europe and North America. The only problem is that business and governments haven’t figured out a way to use a forthcoming ice-age as they have “global warming” as an excuse. It works better to say “we are not expanding the road network in Oxford because we need to focus on sustainable transport strategy”. I suppose they could always say “There is very little point in building any new roads as they will all be pushed out of the way by a trillion ton glacier” but then people might begin to realise that putting your kids in a wobbly assembly attached to the bike that you can’t ride properly, cos you are doing your bit to save the planet, isn’t going to make a scrap of difference in the grand scheme of things. Apart from saving the council the cost of providing a proper local infrastructure (what a winner).

All the expats who relocated to Spain have got the right idea, I don’t think the ice sheet extended much further than the Pyrenees during the last ice-age. Personally, I reckon the UK should do a swop with Madagascar and get out while we can. Either that or we start buying up tracts of land throughout Africa and start building housing estates there - perhaps we should have taken more care of the Commonwealth while we had the chance!!!

My final rib at the Ecos is this: how do they feel about Continental Drift? Do they propose that we connect massive chains between Africa and South America to stop them drifting any further apart?

Talking of Africa, and if you are fed up with “Rap/Jungle” (for chrissakes we’ve had rapping now for more than 30 years) for a different slant, look up Angelique Kidjo on Youtube performing “Agolo” – Brilliant!

And now for my last gripe - Smart Meters. I am annoyed beyond belief by the latest ads promoting this. They have even got the neck to finish the ad with the logo “Campaigning for a Smart Britain”. The whole issue is such a monumental scam that I wish the Advertising Standards Authority could intervene. Of course, they can’t because nobody can say anything if the great god Eco has been invoked and of course they haven’t got any engineers at the ASA.

The idea being sold behind smart meters is that you will be able to observe your energy usage on a small display unit and then be able to go around the house turning off equipment that is wasting energy. Well that’s great, except most of us have already turned off everything we don’t really need, replaced light bulbs with LEDs and compact fluorescents, insulated our lofts to the nth degree and upgraded all our home laundry etc to the latest energy efficient models. In short, there is nothing else we can do to save energy!

So how is the modern eco-driven family going to use a smart meter then? I can picture the scene: Mum and Dad (or I should say gender neutral multi-cultural parents) with kids sat in a darkened room, all wearing hats and coats (to help save the world) watching the smart meter display unit. Suddenly there is a peak, the load profile soars to a staggering 1.5 Kilo-Watts (an electrical kettle can be 2–3kW). A gender-neutral kid falls off the sofa in shock. How can this be? We have been so careful? They suddenly realise that it must be the fridge, the temperature inside the fridge must have risen, so the thermostat has started the fridge compressor to get the temperature down to the correct level. But never fear, space family Eco is on the case. If the fridge is consuming energy it must be evil, there is only one option – turn off the fridge and bring on the food poisoning! If that is the future, I can only welcome the next frigging ice-age.

The real reason for installing “smart meters” is to get rid of the meter reader. This means larger profit for business so is a brilliant piece of bullshit. You may not realise it but when you do have your smart meter installed you need no others, it provides a hub for all your other services such as gas and water to connect to as well. So no more meter readers for them either and cigars all round in the board room. Welcome to the world of Eco/Sustainable Corporate snake-oil salesmanship and mugs that believe everything they are told.

With regard to my travels this month I have been to London, Bath (x2), Swindon, Dunstable and Chelmsford.

Now I now it sounds corny but it really upsets me to think of anybody spending Christmas alone. I have known periods of loneliness in my life and although I do enjoy an occasional period of solitude, after a while it becomes very depressing. So please do keep an eye out for neighbours that may be on their own. If we could just take 20 minutes out of our own busy lives to share a chat or cup of tea with a neighbour it could be a life-saver, you may even learn a little about yourself.

And let’s not just do it at Christmas either.

My next report will be at the end of December, so I must take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.