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Your VIeW INTo NorTh hampshIre LIFesTYLe


North Hampshire Life January 2013

“New Year, New Name, New Ideas”

This month will see the inaugural Basingstoke Entrepaneur roadshow, an event designed to help people who want to start their own business or who have done so obtain help to take it further.

January 2013 - Issue 9 Firstly I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and all of us here at “North hampshire Life” would like to wish you a very happy New Year. Now I’m not sure about you, but with most if not all shops closed for just one day over the Christmas period, the holiday season seemed to fly by quicker than normal. Funny how people still seemed to be panic buying as if the end of the world was upon us! and on that note, it’s good news to hear that Nasa has decided that aposphis is not going to be paying us a direct visit in 2036 but it will be considerably closer than anything else has been in most of our lifetimes. (apophis is a near earth asteroid weighing some 26,990,000,000 kilograms which Nasa at one point gave a 2.7% chance of coliding with the earth.  anybody else watch Bruce Willis in armageddon over Christmas?) For those of you wanting to leave the workplace and set up your own business we have a great article about an event which will be taking place on the 31st January 2013. some great guest speakers will be on hand to pass around their knowledge and advice but with places limited, it is suggested you book your place in plenty of time. energy does appear to be a central theme in our first edition of 2013 with an article on home energy monitoring systems and another on the benefits of switching suppliers. Later on in the year we are hoping to have an article from a local company which produces some of the best energy monitoring products in the world, based right here in North hampshire. so whilst you’re waiting for next months edition, start thinking of how you can become the next Branson or in a few years time, the latest addition to Dragons Den. regards Chris & mike

Designed, produced and published by mike peates Chris Wright 3 holman Close Bramley hampshire rG26 5XD 01256 881452 (mike) 01256 881233 (Chris) editor@northhampshirelife Twitter @northhantslife

printed by: Greenhouse Graphics Bramley 01256 880770

Contents page 5 “home energy monitoring systems”

page 6 “New Year - New Ideas”

page 9 “Looking for (free) Deliverance”

page 10 “switching energy supplier” Contact us for all your advertising or editorial news:

Features editor megan Collins Quinlan



Home Energy Monitoring Systems The Future Is Here f the mainstream media are correct, in-home monitoring equipment could be the way of the future. In fact, we could all be watching our energy use, checking for water leaks and turning on our heating from nothing more than our mobile phone and an Internet connection within a few years.


Megan Collins Quinlan HOW dO tHey WOrk? home monitoring systems use a router to connect your home's information to the Internet, where you can access it from a secure site. The types of information they can retrieve and store include what your energy use is, what your water use is and even what each individual appliance is doing. You will also have access to graphs and your system can even alert you via text message or email when you have reached a preset energy use figure.

all of this is achieved through the use of a central hub in your home which is connected to the appliances or meter you an example of an OWL home electricity monitoring unit wish to monitor. If you Wireless monitoring equipment may have solar panels or other renewable sound like something from a star Trek energy sources, you may be able to episode, but in just a few years all of our connect to these as well. homes will be fitted with a basic unit thanks to a government program which will offer us smarter energy systems. a smart meter will be fitted in all uK homes by 2019 and are designed to allow us to keep a closer watch on our energy use. They will also automatically send our gas and electricity readings to our supplier. The hope is that we will all be able to use less energy because we have better information about how much we are using. But this is just the beginning of this new technology. If you want to be ahead of the crowd, you can buy a system now and start monitoring your home's energy use from wherever you are – even the other side of the world.

WHy is tHis usefuL? over time you will be able to build up a picture of what your energy usage is and therefore you can learn about when and how you can reduce your spending. Clearly this will allow you to save money and to moderate your use. The only way to reduce your energy bills is to use less energy and knowledge is power when it comes to this. There is a very good chance that you will remember to turn off

your lights if you get a text message reminding you – for example.

any draWbacks? at the moment these systems can be pricey and you may be expected to pay an ongoing fee to get access to the website to see your information remotely. It is possible that you will end up saving enough money to make this worthwhile however. There are also some concerns about privacy issues with regards to home monitoring. The fact is that a third party will have knowledge of your energy use and could possibly save or sell this information. There is also a possibility that your home could be open to cyber thieves who could hack into your Internet connection. some privacy groups have expressed concern regarding this, but it is up to you to ensure that your privacy is protected and to never go ahead if you are worried. Just ask your supplier what their checks and balances are.

WHat is tHe future? Well the future is already here, but is not necessarily available to all of us. It is expected that home monitoring systems will be able to link to your burglar and fire alarm as standard and will even allow you to monitor the functions of your home – turning on your heating, opening your curtains and switching on lights all at the touch of a button on your mobile, tablet or computer. Whether you want to get as technical as this is up to you, but in the meantime, simple monitoring of your energy use is a great start and could even save you money. What more is there to say?


New Year - New Ideas Mike Peates

He lp for t ho s e s t a rt in g O R RUNNING A n ew bu s ine ss s this article is being written, it is that quiet pause between the Christmas and New Year festivities when some will be back at work others will be enjoying a break. No matter which category you fell in to, it is the time of year for new hopes and dreams to be explored and resolutions to be made.


In addition to entrepreneurial exhibitors we also have an extremely inspiring line up of speakers all of whom have a different background and are now successful business owners. You may remember a previous article on

Did your resolution include ‘Firing Your Boss’ and setting up your own business? or maybe you do not want to go and work for someone else and would rather set out on your own? The thought is exciting but the

reality can appear daunting. Whether you want to turn a hobby into a business or you have invented the next ‘big thing’, getting started is the biggest step and greatest leap of faith. But it needn’t be a leap onto the unknown. This month will see the inaugural Basingstoke entrepreneur roadshow, an event designed to help people who want to start their own business, or have done so and decided they need some help to take it further. Not only do the exhibitors have products and services to help you, in the main they are people just like you and can pass on invaluable experience. They have travelled the same path and can pass on the lessons they have learned. 6

Basingstoke Laughter house, the owner, Jan Jack, will be telling of her transition from secretary to comedian. Linda Cheung is the owner of local business Cubesocial, one of the fastest growing start ups in the last 12 months. Linda has recently spoken at conferences in Berlin and Greece. agnes Cserhati is an entrepreneur Coach, she landed on these shores aged 17 and by the age of 19 had won

her first entrepreneur award. michelle rodger is travelling all the way from scotland to demystify ‘Crowdfunding’ an alternative form of finance for your business. all of these ladies have an inspirational story to tell and places are limited. The roadshow itself is an example of what can be achieved with no start up money, no experience, an idea, a passion and hard work. It started as a solution to help small (micro) businesses showcase their products and services to larger businesses without having to lay out large amounts of cash to do so. The

roadshow has given them the opportunity to do so at a fraction of the cost of other local exhibitions. Whilst the primary aim is to help local entrepreneurs, larger businesses are invited to discover products and services available locally to them. If you want to ‘Fire Your Boss and Ignite Your Imagination’ go to the website for more information and to register for this free event. alternatively, turn up on 31st January at Viewpoint, Basing View, Basingstoke from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Basingstoke entrepreneur roadshow is being sponsored by Be offices and Dream Idea uK.




Looking for (free) Deliverance

he general public will get anything delivered these days. You’ve probably noticed that as you wait behind a large van parked in your street. Nearly every supermarket offers to get your groceries to your door. The sunday papers (usually late) slipped through your letterbox, oil for your heating, the weekly joint, a new washing machine, something bizarre bought on ebay… all are supplied at your door.


Now you can get your pet food delivered. No more emergency trips to the supermarket or trudging down to the pet shop on a wet evening to feed

Fido or get grub for the goldfish. Companies like oscar pet Foods actually specialise in delivery comehail-or-shine, preferring a free visit in their colourful van to opening a shop. But there’s a lot more to door-to-door delivery nowadays. It’s not just about

saving you time and petrol money, but offering you a new kind of personal service. rather than being one of the many miserably meandering around food aisles with a trolley, you now get individual attention with advice, information and a friendly face. Take the oscars approach. of course, they deliver a range of pet food to suit every breed

and budget, but they can also talk about your pet’s nutritional needs or behavioural issues. They can regularly monitor your pet’s reaction to the food. They ensure you are happy with your choice and offer other kinds of pet care. Delivery is not just about handing over a bag of food once a month, but a continual support to benefit you and your pet. many people of course love delivery. For the elderly it is the chance of regular company and conversation. Busy mums no longer need drag whining children

down to the shops. Working pet owners can end a hard day’s work playing with their pets rather than

shopping for them. so why not consider delivery yourself from the pain of shopping? The oscars pet Foods franchise is a leading nutritionist and pet food supplier, offering free delivery and personal pet advice on your doorstep. each franchisee is specially trained to offer its range of quality pet foods to suit all animals. every customer receives a free taste trial to ensure they are completely happy with the food, as well as advice about costs – for example, feeding a Labrador with oscar’s premium range is only 71p/day. For more information contact Jean on 01256 880393 or visit 9

Switching Energy Supplier Is it really as easy as the TV suggests? ith energy prices increasing by an incredible 7.6% on average since last November and the indication that prices are likely to continue rising for the foreseeable future, many of us will have considered switching to another supplier either for a cheaper tariff or for a fixed rate. add to this the fact that energy companies are now viewed in the same way as real estate agents and car salesmen when it comes to trust and we have some very good reasons for not staying loyal to any one company.


The peace of mind which comes from knowing that your energy bills will be set for the next year or two is invaluable, but is the process of switching really as easy as the

television adverts tell us? Well, in most cases the answer is yes, it is easy, but you need to be aware that it is a lengthy process and may involve a little legwork from you at certain stages of the switch. searcH Out tHe best deaL Your first port of call should be a comparison site to see which tariffs will suit your needs. You will be asked a few details including what you currently pay for your energy or what specific tariff you are on. You will also be asked if you want any particular features from your energy tariff. Your options here include a green tariff, a duel fuel tariff, a provide your own readings tariff and a pay by a direct debit tariff. In most cases, reading your own meter and paying your duel fuel bill by direct debit will cost you less. 10

If you choose not to use a comparison site, you will need to call each of the energy suppliers in your area. In the uK we only have six major suppliers and a handful of smaller ones, so this won't take too long. Don't forget that the cheapest deal may not be the best one for you. You should always take into account any tie-ins, the cost of cancelling, the reviews for the supplier in terms of their customer service and whether they meet your needs in terms of extras such as insulation deals, cashback or bonuses. once you have your choice decided, you simply inform your new supplier that you would like to go ahead and they will start the process of switching on your behalf.

nOW Wait... This is the part where you may find yourself waiting for phone calls and emails and wishing the companies involved would just hurry up. realistically it will take 5 – 6 weeks for the switch to be completed and during that time you may hear very little from either supplier. Finally towards the end of this time you will be asked to supply a reading from your meter for the new supplier who will pass it on to your old supplier. This will be the basis upon which your final bill will be calculated. If you are lucky, you may receive a cheque from your old supplier or you may be one of the unlucky ones who will need to pay them. at this point you should take an active role in the switching process. Double

Megan Collins Quinlan check that they have the correct readings and that you are being charged accordingly. It will be very difficult to go back and challenge a reading at a later date. also ensure that your new supplier is starting you on the correct reading. aren't suppLiers being fOrced tO give us tHe best deaL?

sort of... The regulator ofgem has recently introduced some new legislation which will ask the energy companies to suggest the best tariff for their customers on a regular basis. This means that once a year you may receive a letter which will tell you how to switch to the tariff they think is ideal for you. They are also being asked to have fewer tariffs and to simplify how

they are worked out. The government have claimed that this new legislation will ensure that all customers get the best possible tariff, but in reality, it is up to us to make sure that happens. Your energy company may send you a nice letter telling you about their plans and even explain to you how to switch, but unless you pick up the phone or click your computer mouse and take the first steps, you will languish on a higher tariff than you need. essentially, lowering our energy costs is a challenge in the current climate, but it is possible to get the best deals if you are willing to accept that it is your right and your responsibility to switch and to do so on a regular basis.



Dispute Resolution Dispute resolution encompasses mediation and collaborative law ith the possible exception of september, January is usually the busiest month for Family Lawyers and, while the reasons for that are obviously distressing, there is one positive to bear in mind. For those of you who find yourselves in the position of contemplating separation, the dissolution of your civil partnership or divorce – or who have encountered difficulties with regard to contact with children over the festive period – there are now more options available in the form of Dispute resolution.

In the collaborative law process, by contrast, the parties will attend meetings with their respective legal advisors, both of whom will be specially trained and must be experienced Family Lawyers. The collaborative lawyers will advise and assist the parties in reaching an outcome which suits them.

Dispute resolution encompasses mediation and collaborative law, both of which are alternative methods to the traditional approach usually taken by solicitors, whereby relationship disputes are resolved as a result of a formal application being made to the Court.

The Government has changed the rules of litigation so that, in most cases, anyone wanting to make an application to Court, is required to attend a meeting (called a mIam) during which Dispute resolution is discussed and encouraged, before the court application can be made. Clearly, therefore, the Government supports mediation and other forms of dispute resolution as a costeffective method of resolving family problems.


The main difference between mediation and collaborative law is that, with mediation, both parties attend without lawyers, while the mediator – who may well be an experienced Family Lawyer – will assist the couple to reach an agreement which is best for their family, but without giving legal advice or ‘acting’ for either of the parties.

Both methods of Dispute resolution take an holistic approach as to what is best for your family, which is not necessarily the ‘best deal’ that one of the parties may receive if the case went to Court.

rowberry morris has an outstanding reputation in conventional court litigation and all of our Family Lawyers are very experienced. however, we also have both

mediators and collaborative lawyers available in our offices, so can offer a complete range of services, not just traditional litigation. We aim to ensure that parties adopt the right approach at an early stage in the process of resolving their family disputes. If you have need of our services, please do not hesitate to call either myself or email one of the team for an appointment. start the year with a bold move! If the spectre of separation, civil partnership disputes or divorce cast a long shadow over your Christmas, make sure that the next festive season is a completely different story from the last.

Julie Gallimore rowberry morris, sherfield house, mulford’s hill Tadley rG26 3XJ Free parking at rear of office 0118 9812992 e mail:

North Hampshire Life - Issue 9  

Your view into North Hampshire Lifestyle. North Hampshire Life is the new permanent name of Loci Pannum.