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September 2020 Volume 254 | No 7 www.electricalreview.co.uk

Informing the electrical industry for 140 years

Test and trace for PD faults

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Talking Point

Smart Grids

Final Say

Turn a potential debt write-off into positive cashflow

How can low carbon grids benefit manufacturers?

How lighting can help support economic recovery and our goal of a net zero economy

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Conten t s Regulars

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04 • Editor’s Comment Save the date.

06 • News Stories from the sector.

10 • Gossage The hottest gossip from our industry insider.

28 • Talking Point

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How to turn a potential debt write off into positive cashflow.

30 • Final Say How lighting can help support economic recovery and our goal of a net zero economy.

31 • Products

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Innovations worth watching.

Features 14 • Intelligent Buildings Stacey Lucas of Sontay explores the role of sensors in achieving an idyllic interior.

20 • Energy Management

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With energy usage increasingly becoming a focus for businesses and industry, what else can be done to help meet your reduction target?

24 • Smart Grids How can low carbon grids benefit manufacturers? Neil Ballinger of EU Automation explains.

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26 • Renewables & Sustainability Ten simple steps that up your green credentials and save you money? Michael Rossman of EnergyBillKill. com tells us how.

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EDITOR

Claire Fletcher clairef@electricalreview.co.uk

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Jordan O’Brien jordano@sjpbusinessmedia.com

DESIGN & PRODUCTION

Alex Gold alexg@sjpbusinessmedia.com

GROUP ACCOUNT DIRECTOR

Sunny Nehru +44 (0) 207 062 2539 sunnyn@sjpbusinessmedia.com

ACCOUNT MANAGER

Kelly Baker

Editor’s Comment Bloody hell, it’s September already? I can’t actually remember experiencing a summer, so I guess that’s that then. But if nothing else, I’d like to thank 2020 for its consistency. September was to be the month we had tentatively rescheduled our annual ER & DCR Excellence Awards, but sadly due to our friend Covid, it was not to be. Our priority is, always has, and always will be, keeping our attendees safe and happy, so we’ve made the decision to defer our event until May 20, 2021. Our beautiful venue will remain the same (Christ Church Spitalfields for the uninitiated) and the good news is that entries shall remain open for the duration, and any submissions already received for 2020 will be carried over to next year, so do not fear! So, if you haven’t already, now’s your chance to get involved. I for one can’t wait to be back amongst the general populous and I look forward to seeing some of you lovely lot when all this is (finally) over. Claire Fletcher, Editor

+44 (0) 207 062 2534 kellyb@electricalreview.co.uk

PUBLISHER

Wayne Darroch

Printing by Buxton Paid subscription enquiries: subscriptions@electricalreview.co.uk SJP Business Media 2nd Floor, 123 Cannon Street London, EC4N 5AU Subscription rates: UK £221 per year, Overseas £262 Electrical Review is a controlled circulation monthly magazine available free to selected personnel at the publisher’s discretion. If you wish to apply for regular free copies then please visit: www.electricalreview.co.uk/register Electrical Review is published by

2nd floor,123 Cannon Street London, EC4N 5AU Any article in this journal represents the opinions of the author. This does not necessarily reflect the views of Electrical Review or its publisher – SJP Business Media ISSN 0013-4384 – All editorial contents © SJP Business Media Average net circulation Jan-Dec 2018 6,501

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4 Electrical www.electricalreview.co.uk Review | September ???? 2020



???????? NEWS

News ECA calls for diesel and petrol vehicles to be banned by 2030 The UK Government is under pressure to bring forward the ban on new diesel and petrol vehicles to 2030, as the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) threw its weight behind the plan. Earlier this year, the UK Government brought forward its ban on diesel and petrol vehicles to 2035, having previously pledged 2040 as the cut off date. Now, the ECA, along with other organisations such as Friends of the Earth and the Committee on Climate Change, is calling for the ban to be brought forward further. A 2030 cut off wouldn’t be unprecedented, many other countries around the world have already committed to that date. In fact, our closest neighbour, Ireland, has vowed to ban the sale of new diesel or petrol vehicles by 2030, joining both Sweden and the Netherlands. Norway is being even more ambitious, cutting off internal combustion engine sales in 2025. ​ While the ECA backs the 2030 date for the UK, rather than the more ambitious 2025 date, the organisation admits that bringing the ban forward by five years is only feasible if there is further investment in the UK’s electric charging infrastructure.

Is the UK electrical sector weathering the Covid-19 storm? There’s no denying that Covid-19 has ravaged the UK economy with many jobs lost in various sectors. However, new data from Screwfix has suggested that UK tradespeople, which includes electricians, are weathering the storm, and are either at the same or better business levels than they were 12 months ago. The research was undertaken independently on behalf of Screwfix, but appears to suggest that the UK electrical industry has been stunningly resilient throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, of the plumbers, electricians, builders and carpenters who were questioned in Screwfix’s Trade Pulse index, 56% say they are preparing as many quotes for jobs as they were this time last year, while a shocking 32% said they were busier than expected. Additionally, thanks to the key worker designation bestowed upon electricians, many continued to work during the UK’s lockdown. While there aren’t specific numbers for those working in the electrical sector, some 72% of UK tradespeople continued to work during April, while that rose to 77% in May. All these figures paint an optimistic future for the UK electrical sector over the next 12 months, with more than two thirds of respondents expecting business activity to remain the same or improve.

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NEWS

EATON EXITS MAINS LIGHTING MARKET IN EMEA TO FOCUS ON EMERGENCY LIGHTING

Eaton has announced that it is going to exit the mains lighting market in EMEA to focus on emergency lighting and fire products. The company cites low margins in the commercial lighting sector as a key factor in its decision. As part of the retreat from the mains lighting market, Eaton will be closing a 50,000 sqm factory in Doncaster that it acquired in 2012. The closure of the factory is set to result in the loss of 300 jobs, with 90 set to be saved as part of Eaton’s decision to have its emergency lighting products manufactured at another site nearby.

Smart meter installations recover from pandemic low The number of smart meters installed in UK properties have recovered from a previous low due to the lockdown imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to ElectraLink. As the Covid-19 lockdown took effect in March, energy suppliers suspended the installation of smart meters. This suspension was eventually lifted in June, although homeowners didn’t seem to be in a rush to get new smart meters installed. Early signs of a recovery are positive. July saw 152,000 meters installed, up 120% from the

69,000 meters that were installed during June. That’s still lower than the number of meters installed this time last year, however, with June’s figures down 67% on 2019 and July’s down 36%. Energy suppliers had hoped to be closer to meeting the Government’s target of taking ‘all reasonable steps’ to install smart meters in all homes and small businesses by the end of 2020. However, the Covid-19 slump has put suppliers off target, meaning the Government had no choice but to extend the deadline until June 30, 2021.

46GW OF RENEWABLE ENERGY CAPACITY NEEDED TO KEEP PACE WITH NET ZERO TARGETS

Importance of emergency lighting highlighted after death of 80-year-old man The death of an 80-year-old man at Aberdeen Market could have possibly been prevented had the company running the site installed and maintained adequate emergency lighting. The operator of Aberdeen Market, Market Village Company Ltd, has been fined £80,000 due to the company’s failure to maintain the

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lighting in the fire escape stairwell where victim Frank Finnie was discovered. Market Village Company Ltd was prosecuted over a contravention of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, which calls for lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of a building’s normal lighting.

For the UK Government to achieve its goal of reaching net zero by 2050, the country will need to see an additional 46GW of renewable energy capacity installed by 2030. That’s according to Cornwall Insight’s ‘benchmark power curve’, which suggests that the 46GW of new capacity will come from 11GW of onshore wind, 10GW of solar and 25GW of offshore wind power.



GOSSAGE Pyrrhic victory for Poland The Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, returned to Warsaw waving the European Council 2030 expenditure deal, and claiming victory. Poland is the only EU country refusing to agree to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, and an earlier draft text had said countries must accept this target in order to receive climate funds for greening the economy. But Morawiecki used his veto threat to convince other leaders to drop this demand. The result is that Poland will still be able to access 50% of those funds without signing up to the climate goal. “We won better rules than what the European Commission proposed [with] the possibility of getting 50% immediately, without committing to the climate target,” boasted Morawiecki. What he failed to mention is that his victory is largely hollow. Because the trade-off he agreed shrinks by half of a new climate abatement funding that had been created specifically at the request of Warsaw. Poland could have had 100% of a potential €38 billion top-up via this ‘Just Transition Fund’, aimed at supporting coal-reliant countries’ transition to clean energy economies. Instead it will get 50% of a potential €18 billion – all for exclusion from a 2050 goal most reckon Poland will eventually sign up to anyway during 2021.

Solar lakes Plans by Swiss technology company and solar panel manufacturer Meyer Burger to build a 10GW floating solar plant on a lake due to be left behind by the future closure of Germany’s Hambach coal mine, is gaining support from the local scientific community. Uwe Rau, director of the Institute for Energy and Climate Research at the Forschungszentrum Juelich research centre, describes the company’s proposal in the state of North RhineWestphalia as, “perfect and absolutely feasible.” Noting that it was an ideal situation for the region, Rau maintains installing solar parks in opencast mines and replacing coal-fired power stations would offer a double advantage, because electricity pylons and lines leading away from coal-fired power plants would not have to be dismantled and erected elsewhere. “It also fits in very well in terms of scale: the solar park could generate just as much electricity as all of today’s coal-fired power plants in North Rhine-Westphalia’s mining district combined.”

Chinese torture The Conservative backwoodsmen MPs smell blood on China. They have already reversed Government policy and banned Huawei from involvement in rolling out the fifth generation (5G) of wireless communications networks. They now intend to stop another Chinese firm, CGN, from showcasing its HPR1000 technology when building a replacement nuclear power station at Bradwell in Essex. The MPs will achieve this by amending the forthcoming National Security and Investment Bill. Trouble is, CGN already have contracts signed to part-fund nuclear power stations together with Electricité de France, at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk. In both cases, the Chinese have absolutely key engineering roles, with know-how not easily replaced. The big question is: if CGN were chucked out of Bradwell, whether they would also walk away from the other two projects. Of course in doing so, they would then be in breach of many existing contractual obligations. But, in such circumstances, good luck with suing the Chinese government.

10 Electrical www.electricalreview.co.uk Review | September ???? 2020

When electricity money talks You may have heard about the $60 million electricity political slush fund run by the (now former) Republican party speaker (e.g. leader) of the Ohio House of Representatives, Larry Householder. It turns out, that once this money had been collected, Householder pushed through a huge bailout of two nuclear plants and several coal plants, all of which were losing serious money. Simultaneously, he also gutted most of Ohio’s standards on energy efficiency and clean energy, which were weak to begin with. This case looks to be truly malodorous. Householder appears to have won his high office largely because the power company, FirstEnergy, and its affiliates – most prominent of which was America’s biggest coal firm, Murray Energy – were funding his political operation under the table, using a ‘nonprofit’ shell corporation that he controlled. That allowed him to pump huge sums into the campaigns of allied candidates who, after winning their legislative seats, voted to give him the speakership. Then they voted in favour of his highest priority, the bailout bill. FBI prosecutors claim that $400,000 of the power company’s money went directly into Householder’s pocket as he was doing the company’s bidding in the Ohio Statehouse. Ohio is one of the most marginal states, which could make the difference for Donald Trump’s re-election bid this November 3. Despite being from the same political party as Householder, Trump has set out entirely to distance himself from this giant scandal. But to do so convincingly, Trump needs to fire his Cabinet member whom he personally placed in charge of the (seriously misnamed) Environmental Protection Agency, instructing him to push back on efficiency standards for electricity using equipment. His name is Andrew Wheeler. Why does Trump need to do so? Want to know who was Murray Energy’s chief lobbyist when it funnelled over $100,000 to Householder’s slush fund in 2016? Step forward, the very same Andrew Wheeler.



SPONSORED FEATURE

Your perfect first line of defence: detect faults before they become failures Catching faults within switchgear or cabling equipment before they become problematic is important to avoid downtime. Here, Megger explains how its technology can help with exactly that.

f you work with high- or medium-voltage (MV) switchgear or cables, Megger’s handheld PD scan instrument provides you with a convenient and reliable way of detecting insulation faults before they progress to cause major failures. PD Scan lets you detect and measure partial discharge (PD) activity, which is a reliable early-warning indicator of deterioration in MV insulation. You’ll find the new instrument exceptionally versatile, thanks to its wide range of internal and external sensors, and with its touchscreen interface and user-guided software, you’ll also find it easy to use. PD Scan works by detecting the radio frequency emissions produced by PD faults so you won’t need to make any direct connection to the switchgear or cable being investigated. You carry out the tests with the asset under investigation energised, which minimises the need for inconvenient and disruptive outages. A further important benefit is that the instrument evaluates and interprets PD data for you and gives you a clear and unambiguous indication of whether there are anomalies that you will need to investigate further. “Failures in MV installations often lead to long downtimes and can be very costly,” said Hein Putter, product manager at Megger. “Users of PD Scan can, however, detect potential weak points and resolve them before they develop further and lead to outright failures. This means they can make big savings and avoid service interruptions that might incur large penalties.” PD Scan is particularly suitable for PD measurements in transformer/ distribution substations and for the inspection of switchgear, including the identification of problems on voltage and current transformers, terminations and bushings. It is also ideal for surveying HV components,

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such as air-isolated busbars and transformer bushings. Additionally, you can use PD Scan to carry out quick online PD measurements on cables. When using PD Scan, you can choose from a variety of internal and external sensors and, when you connect an external sensor, the instrument will automatically recognise it, thus minimising the risk of mistakes.

The instrument evaluates and interprets PD data for you and gives you a clear and unambiguous indication of whether there are anomalies that you will need to investigate further. If, for example, you find that the transient earth voltage (TEV) readings on several switchgear panels are the same, using the external TEV sensor will allow you to pinpoint the location of PD activity so that you can take appropriate remedial action - without needing to open more than one panel. You can also use PD Scan with acoustic sensors and optional Bluetooth headphones to detect corona and surface discharges in medium- and high-voltage systems. You’ll appreciate PD Scan’s compact design and simple operation via a large colour touchscreen, features that make it an indispensable companion for maintenance and service tasks. It even has a built-in camera so you can photograph damaged areas quickly and conveniently, as well as an integrated QR code scanner that makes it easy for you to scan equipment data and compare measurements with your existing databases. And the dedicated software that completes the PD Scan package provides everything you need for analysing and reporting your results.

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ADVERTORIAL

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INTELLIGENT BUILDINGS

A sixth sense From temperature to building occupancy, water to air quality, and gas to lighting usage; sensors are having an increasing effect on a building’s operational performance. Stacey Lucas, commercial and marketing director at Sontay, explains the role each sensor plays in achieving this interior idyll. s people return to their workplaces following the government’s lockdown measures imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there will be unprecedented focus on ensuring the offices, factories and warehouses employees reoccupy hereafter are as bio-secure as it is possible to be. Building sensors, installed as part of an efficient central management system, offer an ingeniously smart and effective way of remotely monitoring elements such as temperature, air quality and ventilation to help maintain a healthy indoor climate for the occupiers’ comfort and peace of mind. Sensors also give property owners more control over energy usage; a benefit that not only helps reduce heating and lighting costs, but also facilitates a significant reduction in a building’s carbon footprint. Their usage could therefore be crucial in driving environmental initiatives, such as the UK government’s pledge for carbon-neutral status by 2050. The following is a guide to the ‘must-have’ sensors for a healthier, safer, energy-efficient building.

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Temperature sensor Historically, temperature has been viewed as crucial to occupancy comfort in buildings. In the workplace, such contentment results in improved productivity and fewer sick days. Sensors can help maintain the ideal indoors temperature, which for an office environment, is found to be around 22°C. Humidity sensor Relative humidity can have a negative effect on indoor temperature settings. If not controlled, it can make a room feel hotter or colder than the actual temperature reading. In order to maintain the desired indoor climate, the humidity reading should be around 50%. A humidity sensor will help achieve this. CO2 sensor The Covid-19 pandemic has focused a lot of attention on the amount of indoor space people should be allowed to share in order to maintain distance and prevent viral spread. A CO2 sensor provides a clear visual indication of when a workplace requires ventilation due to deterioration in the indoor air quality. When we exhale, we emit CO2, which if left unchecked in a busy office environment for example, can lead to headaches due to increased discomfort levels. A CO2 sensor with an LED traffic light-style display can help alleviate this issue. When showing green, for instance, the sensor is indicating that a room isn’t over-occupied and the risk to air quality is low. Should the sensor show amber, it’s a sign that windows require opening or fewer people need to be in the room to maintain the same healthy

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indoor environment. When the sensor turns red it is a call to action, as it indicates there is not enough ventilation in the room. At these last two stages, if a sensor is connected to a building management system, it will activate the relevant vents. Air quality sensor This monitors levels of airborne volatile organic compounds (VOC), pollutants which are found in paints and other building materials. This sensor has particular relevance to the current climate, with the increased use of hand sanitisers, aggressive cleaning products and detergents potentially adding to the release of harmful VOCs into the interior atmosphere. CO sensor In a domestic or workplace setting, high levels of carbon monoxide can be life-threatening. A lot of CO sensors are installed within indoor car parks where there is high retail footfall. In these environments, the sensor will trigger ventilation systems into use when safe pollution levels are exceeded due to car exhaust fumes. Water detection sensor This is what we call a behind-the-scenes sensor, which has come into its own during the recent coronavirus crisis. With many people recently forced to work from home via PCs, tablets and other digital devices, data centres have been vital to maintaining remote operations and ensuring staff retain contact with colleagues and their employers. A water detection sensor takes the form of a strip of tape. This is placed in a floor cavity beneath the data centre in order to detect any presence of water. Should this situation arise, the sensor will short circuit the server and trigger a response from a connected building management system, which will decide whether to shut down the server or notify the relevant maintenance team. Pressure sensor Behind-the-scenes in a building management system application, liquid or air pressure sensors are used in either pipe or ductwork. These indicate a drop in liquid or air pressure, which usually means in relation to air pressure, a fan has stopped working. This can have a debilitating effect on a building’s ventilation, therefore a sensor will alert a fault to a management system and the incident can be investigated accordingly. Light level sensors Again, this is relevant to the recent nationwide lockdown, when many offices in towns and cities remained empty, whilst within the buildings themselves lights and other energy sources continued to burn unmon-


INTELLIGENT BUILDINGS

itored. An estimated 40% of a building’s energy costs are attributed to light usage, therefore installing a sensor which operates lighting based on a building’s occupancy and interior light levels has financial and environmental benefits. Occupancy sensors Although considered an effective security item to alert the presence of intruders in a building, our selling-point for occupancy sensors is their ability to detect ‘people presence’ in order to regulate temperature control or air conditioning usage. Such services can be smartly switched on or off depending on how well occupied a building is. This can lead to huge gains in terms of cost-savings and enhancing a property’s sustainable credentials.

Air velocity sensor This is often used in cleanroom applications such as hospital operating theatres. Outside or polluted air is prevented from getting into these hygiene-critical areas in a process that involves over-pressurising the rooms. An air velocity sensor, along with a pressure sensor, indicates when a room is at the required velocity pressure and acts as a warning device if levels begin to drop. Though relatively small in size, building sensors can have a huge part to play in ensuring properties, particularly workspaces, are managed safely, sustainably and profitably. Like a friend we never knew we had, these smart little devices look out for us when we’re in the office, and look out for the office when we’re at home. They are becoming ever more vital to the way we work today, and in the future.

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INTELLIGENT BUILDINGS

Getting smart with underfloor heating Franz Huelle, head of technical at Rehau Building Solutions, explores how electrical contractors can use under floor heating (UFH) together with smart controls to deliver more efficient and intelligent buildings for end-users. ow the nation’s buildings are heated has changed dramatically over time and, as industry becomes more sustainable, so too must heating innovations. In order to drive efficiency and adaptability in a variety of buildings, many are increasingly opting for UFH technology. To regulate and optimise such systems, building professionals are also starting to implement smart controls into these solutions. For any building project, whether new-build or refurbishment, choosing an efficient, future-proof heating solution is important to developers or contractors. Once thought of as an expensive, high-end solution, UFH is fast becoming an efficient space heating solution in any development. More flexible and scalable than traditional central heating, a building can benefit from the adaptability of underfloor heating throughout its working life, as layouts and occupant habits change. As the world works to become more environmentally-friendly, the nation’s building stock must also be constructed with sustainability in mind. Lower flow temperatures in UFH systems compared to their more traditional radiator counterparts distinguish them as a more sustainable,

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high-performing option. Specifically, according to research by the British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers Association (BEAMA), warm water UFH installations are 25% more efficient than radiators when paired with a modern condensing boiler, and 40% more cost-effective with a heat pump. On top of this, growing use of technology, such as smart controls, drives further efficiency by optimising and regulating space heating throughout a building using data learned from occupant habits over time. As consumer demand for this technology grows, so too will the expectation that energy efficient heating solutions and smart controls will be present in all modern buildings. Smart controls are growing In recent years, smart home technology has grown in popularity and use at an exceptional rate in homes across the world. Continued development of our national 5G infrastructure, along with sector growth, demonstrates the UK’s own smart home market, already worth over £900 million in 2017, will see enormous expansion.


INTELLIGENT BUILDINGS

Yet though smart controls can optimise a multitude of building functions, when integrated with technologies such as UFH, they can start to deliver savings on energy bills over time while keeping occupants in optimal comfort. However, end-user requirements can vary, and, with this in mind, it is important that an electrical contractor knows their customers’ distinct needs when they are installing a system. Understanding end-user requirements How we use buildings, both residential and commercial, is changing constantly. Whether through growing numbers of multigenerational households, or office spaces becoming flexible coworking spaces; occupant requirements and overall trends vary greatly across the nation’s building stock. This is even more the case for mixed-use developments, where the blend of commercial and residential property presents an even more complex assortment of end-user needs. When it comes to providing building services, such as heating for these diverse uses, it helps to have a level of flexibility from a system. Smart controls can alleviate complications associated with these varying heating requirements. With an efficient means of space heating, such as UFH, every room can be heated to each occupant’s exacting requirements, whatever time of the day that is required.

More flexible and scalable than traditional central heating, a building can benefit from the adaptability of underfloor heating throughout its working life, as layouts and occupant habits change For many end-users, a heating system must be energy efficient to keep costs to a minimum, whilst providing a comfortable level of warmth. Smart controls offer an excellent way to do this, gleaning information from occupant habits and times of peak demand to efficiently adjust the system’s overall energy consumption. By doing so, valuable savings can be passed onto the end-user. It is clear end-users across many building types have varying heating requirements, yet ensuring a property remains future-proofed and cost-effective is a common concern. In this respect, it is key for electrical contractors to get ahead of the smart control curve. Getting smart For electrical contractors fitting these systems, it is important to know what smart controls can deliver in order to provide the best results for customers. In order to deliver solutions across developments and projects, systems must also be quick and easy to install and set up so contractors can meet tight deadlines. Connected smart devices use data from sensors, the internet and information learned over time from a building’s efficiency and occupant habits to optimise the heating of a space. With other technologies like geofencing, which determines the location of a building’s occupants and heats their rooms accordingly, these solutions can work with UFH systems to continually optimise a home’s space heating.

Often working from an internet-connected base station, smart controls can cover a wide array of underfloor heating zones within a property. Depending on the technology available, these singular zones can be divided up into subgroups that can be programmed individually to fit the building’s needs. With this kind of functionality, electrical contractors can easily separate spaces in-line with end-user requirements. For instance, separate floors belonging to different organisations in an office building can be regulated distinctly, or apartments in a block can benefit from their own separate system. Initially, programming smart technology can seem a daunting and complicated prospect. However, most systems provide electrical contractors with easy installation and are designed with flexibility and adaptability in mind. Indeed, the most up-to-date systems often feature a simple tool-free set-up with an intuitive commissioning wizard for more complex systems, guiding contractors through process and system checks. The internet connectivity of these smart devices also provides contractors with a host of other possibilities, including remote access to installed systems for servicing. With end-user permission, system data is now capable of being accessed through dedicated apps, delivering more intuitive maintenance, while saving time and increasing customer satisfaction.

As the world works to become more environmentally friendly, the nation’s building stock must also be constructed with sustainability in mind As technology’s progress continues to march on, these smart control systems will also continue to develop, offering a multitude of temperature control functions, such as air conditioning and ventilation. Such innovations will be viable to electrical contractors as they seek solutions in a world where sustainability is an increasing priority. With that in mind, smart controls represent a technology that can help key stakeholders keep up with rapidly changing end-user demands, while also improving overall energy efficiency and future-proofing buildings for years to come.

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SPONSORED FEATURE

Protecting our energy infrastructure In days gone by, activists sawed down pylons to forcibly isolate smaller areas from the energy grid. Nowadays it is hackers, whose motives range from political to purely financial, who are attempting to use digital means to remotely access our critical infrastructure. Here, OMICRON explores the role of cyber security monitoring systems (IDS) for substations.

he protection engineering and SCADA technology or the station automation system (SAS) belong to the critical infrastructure of utilities. They make an essential contribution to maintaining the energy supply. These infrastructures must, therefore, be protected against unauthorised access or illogical switching actions that cause disruptions to the energy supply or the destruction of equipment. Andreas Klien, product manager responsible for cybersecurity products at OMICRON, explains the challenges facing substation operators today, “To get a better handle on this, we look at the possible attack vectors that might be utilised against the station control and protection technology: How could a hacker or malware get into the substation?

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Where is the path of least resistance as far as a potential hacker is concerned, what would make their job as easy as possible? This is the first thing an operator has to consider.” OMICRON’s IDS (Intrusion Detection System) StationGuard protects these critical infrastructures against almost all conceivable cyberattacks or unauthorised actions. It contains the accumulated know-how from many decades of worldwide engineering work in switchgear, as well as research on IEC 61850 network analysis. With its unique approach, a combination of cybersecurity threat monitoring and functional monitoring, StationGuard not only detects unauthorised activity on the substation network, but also identifies problems


SPONSORED FEATURE

in the IEC 61850 communication, enabling it to detect different types of malfunctions in the substation to allow a quick response. To achieve this, StationGuard imports the SCL (Substation Configuration Language) file of the substation to create a complete system model of the automation system and the substation. It then compares each in-

OMICRON’s IDS (Intrusion Detection System) StationGuard protects critical infrastructures against almost all conceivable cyber attacks or unauthorised actions

StationGuard is based on cyber secure hardware and is controlled and monitored by the easy-to-use software running on it.

StationGuard is easy to use and presents each event in a clear and comprehensive presentation of the station.

There are multiple attack vectors to a typical substation, each marked with a number

dividual network packet with the live system model. This process works without a learning phase and independently through the SCL description with just a few additional manual inputs. An essential feature of StationGuard is its ease of use. Its user interface is adapted to the diagrams and terminology in substations and does not use special IT terminology. Therefore, all information is easily understood by protection and control engineers. Because verification of the network traffic contains such a high level of detail, not only are illegal packet encoding and unauthorised control commands detected, but also errors in the sequence numbers and more complex measurements, such as message transmission times or critical states of the IEC 61850 quality bits. StationGuard emits very few false alarms because it knows the typical maintenance operations and considers them in a specialised maintenance mode. The IDS itself is protected by a secure measured boot chain (via a crypto chip), encryption of data and communication, and a specially hardened Linux operating system. In addition, OMICRON’s StationGuard experts assist users with questions about alarms reported by the IDS. To do this, they can analyse the network recordings of StationGuard to assess whether a potential threat situation exists.

It is very easy to integrate StationGuard to an existing substation network

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ENERGY MANAGEMENT

Is there another way to reach your energy reduction target? With energy usage increasingly becoming a focus for businesses and industry, what else can you do to help you meet your target? The experts at Eco-Max have the answer. building or office will dramatically reduce your energy consumption, and therefore help a business achieve its energy target. A voltage optimiser can reduce the energy consumed by your equipment across site by up to 19%, which can help a business not only reduce the amount of energy it uses, but also reduce its energy bill. Businesses which rely on electrical equipment or machines that are consistently switched on to carry out production are the ones that will most benefit. And let’s be honest, that is the majority of UK businesses.

The over supply of electricity to your equipment can also reduce its life by nearly half – 45%, according to the British Standard Wiring Regulations

s an on-site property manager, or someone who operationally runs a big factory or warehouse, the topic of energy reduction is always prevalent. With the government looking to reduce emissions and energy consumption, big businesses are looking at new ways to help them achieve this. By now, most people who are responsible for the management of premises will have looked at many practices in order to reduce energy costs. LED lighting, for example, is often the first technology that seems a straightforward place to start, as they consume far less energy than their traditional discharge lighting predecessors. Whilst LED lights will make some inroads towards helping you to achieve your energy reduction targets and savings, in many businesses, lighting may only be a small fraction of your overall energy consumption. There are other products out there that can dramatically reduce your energy consumption, and therefore reduce your energy bill too. One of those products is a voltage optimiser, and here’s how it works. Did you know that UK electricity provided to every business is supplied at an average voltage of 242 V and can be as high as 253 V? But, as a business, you don’t need all that power as your electrical equipment can work efficiently at 220 V. Basically, any power supplied over this voltage is wasting energy, which you are needlessly paying for. That is where a voltage optimiser comes in. Whichever way you look at it, installing a voltage optimiser in your

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There are other benefits too The over supply of electricity to your equipment can also reduce its life by nearly half – 45%, according to the British Standard Wiring Regulations. So, whether your business is office-based or industrial, the over supply of electricity can lead to a piece of equipment failing much earlier than needed. Wayne Cramer, MD of GWE, explains, “Whilst we have tens of thousands of voltage optimisers installed across the UK, it still seems to be the energy sector’s best kept secret, and we regularly see it help businesses reduce their energy consumption by around 10%. “Why wouldn’t you want to fit one to help a business reach its energy target? We’ve been going 26 years and in that time I’ve had plenty a facility or energy manager ask me how we can help them hit their energy efficiency targets. This is now getting more difficult to achieve for many of them as they may already have done the LED lighting and other technologies, but it’s no less of a focus for all business owners and managers. “My answer has always been, and still is, a voltage optimiser. Fitting one, even after you have done all the other energy efficiency measures you can think of, is even known to exceed your annual energy reduction target in one go. Once fitted you don’t need to think about it, it just gets on with helping you achieve your energy goals year on year.” Lots of well-known businesses have already turned to voltage optimisers to ensure they are as energy efficient as they can be. Kelloggs, Betfred and the National Trust have all installed voltage optimisers to help hit their energy targets across their businesses and become more energy efficient.



SPONSORED FEATURE

You haven’t had an accident so you must be doing it right. Right? Wrong! There are many pitfalls associated with emergency lighting, which is why it’s so important to get things right. Vertiv explains how.

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SPONSORED FEATURE

ngineers the world over seldom get praise for making our world a better, more comfortable and safer place to live. But as sure as night follows day, when something goes wrong with one of their creations, the public and the legislators are quick to blame and keen to prevent a reoccurrence. But it was not always so. In the 1900s, cinemas were the main source of entertainment for the British public, with exciting new and extravagant Cinemas being opened regularly throughout the country, with auditoriums capable of holding over 3,000 people. Cinema audiences rose from 19 million a week in 1939 to 30 million a week by 1945. As grand as many of these building were, safety was not always taken into consideration. On New Years Eve 1929, the Glen Cinema in Paisley was engulfed in smoke and due to a lack of safety considerations, 69 children lost their lives.

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Emergency lighting as a weak link The point is that nobody intentionally sets out to make a disaster, but when they happen, they force a new way of behaviour enshrined in legislation. This is where so many of our world-renowned British Standards have come from and why adherence is critical to prevent future unnecessary mass loss of life. Take these three British Standards regarding emergency lighting: • BS 5266-1:2016 Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises. • BS EN 60598-2-22 British and European standard for emergency luminaires. • BS EN 1838: 2013 British and European standard for Lighting Applications – Emergency Lighting • BS 5499-10: 2014 Guidance for the selection and use of safety signs and fire safety notices. • Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRFSO) - Requires a responsible person, such as the employer, owner, occupier or managing agent in non-domestic premises, to ensure the fire safety of all employees and that premises are safe for any other person who may be on site or in the vicinity, e.g. visitors to a public building This may seem like a small topic on the face of it, but it is the weakest link in any facility when an event requires evacuation, like a fire or gas explosion. This is highlighted in a recent incident at a London hotel. It is people, not the building systems, that always make the headlines. No trial = error What we can learn from instances like this is what the title of this article suggests, just because you haven’t had that accident, does not mean that you are prepared. Some may think why do I need to comply with the British Standards? What is the point? We only need to look back to 2017 and Grenfell to answer those questions. The 2016 upgrade to that building did not meet the requirements of the British Standards, in particular the cladding, resulting in the death of 72 people. There was also a case in Aberdeen Market recently where the owners were find £80,000 following the death of a pensioner who had fallen down a stairwell which had inadequate emergency lighting.

With emergency lighting, the consequences are a lot more serious than pure financial loss and reputation for the facility owner. Personal fines and custodial sentences for everyone in the chain of negligence are considered appropriate. “If you think safety is expensive… …try an Accident” goes the old adage, attributed to many in the business of providing services like air travel with huge downside risk to skimping on safety. Those who own or are responsible for running facilities where emergency lighting is mandated are in the same position. They approach health and safety with the best of intents and purpose, however sometimes you simply do not know what you do not know. It is hard to be an expert in every aspect of the facility. There are options to fill that knowledge gap.

With emergency lighting, the consequences are a lot more serious than pure financial loss and reputation for the facility owner It’s easy to make good decisions when there are no bad options And that’s part of the problem. There are bad options and bad actors. Taking the latter first, there are emergency lighting solutions on the market that are not compliant. But how can you tell upfront? And then there is the question of what system suits your facility? Self-contained systems are cost-effective for smaller facilities, but what if that facility grows, are they scalable and cost-effective then? Centralised systems claim to have a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) but does that really stack up and from what size facility? What about UPS Systems, where do these fit in the equation? And then there’s the requirement of testing, automated versus manual. Which is right for you? Many options to choose from, many wrong decisions to make. Ignorance is not bliss Standards change but compliance doesn’t so the idea of fit-and-forget is not fit for purpose and economising on standards is a false economy. You need to be compliant, which is why you turn to an expert to give you that added support and confidence. Since 1993, Vertiv has been a leading UK supplier of certified compliant emergency lighting, and other life-critical systems such as PA systems, fire lifts and smoke diversion systems. You’ll find our systems in airports, rail networks, cinemas and retail and local authority facilities. Take Action To understand what system suits your needs, join our upcoming webcast Emergency Lighting Made Easy where our technical experts we will demystify how best to deploy or upgrade your system.

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SMART GRIDS

How can low carbon microgrids help manufacturers? To reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and minimise their carbon footprint, an increasing number of companies are implementing low-carbon microgrids. Just like traditional microgrids, low-carbon ones can help firms meet their energy demands without depending solely on the national grid. Unlike traditional solutions, however, these eco-friendly microgrids are almost zero-emission. Neil Ballinger, head of EMEA at EU Automation, explains the benefits for manufacturers.

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SMART GRIDS

microgrid is a localised group of energy resources and loads that can operate independently and when connected to the wide area grid. The ability to work in island mode is what differentiates a microgrid from other forms of on-site energy generation. This also makes microgrids a popular option among manufacturers who wish to secure a steady supply of electricity without having to rely solely on their country’s national grid. A microgrid is formed by connection to a point of common coupling (PCC), a source of energy supply and a charge/discharge storage system, in the form of batteries, for example. Traditional microgrids rely on fossil fuels as a source of energy supply. However, low-carbon microgrids use renewable sources, such as solar panels or wind turbines, to generate a significant part or even all of their energy supply.

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Improved reliability There are three scenarios where microgrids have traditionally been used and where low-carbon solutions are now on the rise. These include offgrid areas, areas with unsatisfactory or intermittent grids, and areas with reliable grids but high security needs. Off-grid areas are still common in some regions of Africa, some small islands, and sparsely populated territories such as central Australia. Despite their lower level of industrialisation, these areas are important in sectors such as the extractive industry, as they are rich in mineral resources. In this scenario, low-carbon microgrids offer new opportunities to satisfy the sector’s energy needs while reducing the considerable environmental impact of mineral extraction. Areas with insufficient or intermittent grids are still prevalent in many developing regions, such as Latin America and the Indian subcontinent. Normally, manufacturers in these regions use diesel generators as a back-up power solution. However, the price of diesel is subject to market fluctuations, so low-carbon microgrids represent a cheaper and more sustainable option. In industrialised countries, low-carbon microgrids are used in areas where the electricity supply is steady and reliable, but where the need for security is paramount, such as hospitals, airports, data centres and military bases. Microgrids can be completely off-grid and operate in constant island mode, being the sole power source for their customers. This is the case, for example, on the Isle of Eigg in Scotland. Prior to the installation of microgrids, the island’s few residents depended on unreliable, expensive and carbon-intensive diesel generators. But in 2008, the island became the world’s first off-grid community powered solely by wind, water and solar. Completed off-grid microgrids have been installed in several communities that, for economic or geographical reasons, didn’t have access to a national grid, such as rural villages in the Manipur state of India or the Native American reservation of Blue Lake Rancheria, in California. Though many similar projects are taking off, most microgrids today are still connected to the main grid, which represents an additional source of power and provides more flexibility. This is the case of most community microgrids, which provide clean energy to towns that do have access to the grid, but are striving to minimise their carbon footprint while reducing energy bills. More savings, less carbon Recently, an increasing number of plants with reliable electricity supply

have turned to low-carbon microgrids to cut energy bills and reduce their environmental impact. The main benefit of implementing a solar or wind-based microgrid is economical, since the price of both renewable energies and modern storage solutions is dropping. According to a recent report by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the global cost of solar panels fell by more than 60% between 2009 and 2015, while lithium-ion battery costs decreased by more than 50% from 2013 to 2016. The cost of solar is expected to fall further as adoption rates rise. Moreover, firms can sign a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with an external provider of renewable energy solutions, giving them access to a low energy price over a long-term period. Strategies like this can also help manufacturers shield against the volatility of crude oil prices. Low-carbon microgrids are also an efficient way of reducing a firm’s carbon footprint and therefore its environmental taxes. In areas with carbon offsetting targets, such as the EU Emissions Trading System or the UK Carbon Price Floor, switching to a low-carbon microgrid can drastically cut a plant’s compliance costs. Moreover, reducing emissions can improve a firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) rating and enhance its brand image.

An increasing number of plants with reliable electricity supply have turned to low carbon microgrids to cut energy bills and reduce their environmental impact

The challenges Though microgrids have been installed for decades, there is still no clear legal framework for them, with many states not even having a legal definition of a microgrid. This means, for example, that while financial incentives are usually available for businesses willing to invest in renewables, in some cases it is unclear whether or not these incentives apply to the construction of low-carbon microgrids. The lack of a clear legal framework also means that business owners might face the risk that new regulations will impose restrictions or costs that they didn’t anticipate while planning or constructing their low-carbon microgrid. Despite the falling prices of renewable energy sources and their storage solutions, financial hurdles can also contribute to slow down the deployment of microgrids. Microgrids tend to integrate multiple energy sources and are often implemented in geographical areas with unique characteristics or in high-risk applications. As a consequence, investors tend to see them as a challenging project. Public-private partnerships and mixed ownership agreements can help overcome financial barriers, encouraging investment in renewables-powered microgrids. Despite the challenges to their implementation, low-carbon microgrids represent a smart solution to achieve energy independence, cut energy bills and reduce the impact of the manufacturing sector on fragile ecosystems.

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RENEWABLES & SUSTAINABILITY

10 steps to going green Ten simple steps that up your green credentials and save you money? Look no further, Michael Rossman, co-founder at EnergyBillKill.com, is here to tell us how. he exhausting topic of climate change has been plugged so much that people and businesses are growing tired of it. However, even the most sceptical among us can agree that being green is important and a no-brainer if it takes very little effort at all. Being green isn’t just about the environment – it’s also about cutting energy costs, being sustainable and enhancing your brand image. If you are an electrical company that wants to be green, there are ways to go about it while saving money in the process.

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1. Carry out an energy assessment/audit An energy audit will assess when, where and how your business uses energy so you can understand your energy use and identify energy-saving opportunities.

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An audit will survey your business’ equipment, appliances, energy use, operating patterns and energy supplier to determine any areas of improvement. It isn’t a disruptive process and it will go a long way to helping you save money and be greener. You can conduct your own energy audit (Gazprom has a good how-to guide) or there are companies that offer them. 2. Create a waste management plan A waste management plan will reduce the amount of waste you produce and ensure that what can be recycled gets recycled. At a basic level, a waste management plan should: • Determine who is responsible for waste. • Establish areas in your business that produce waste. • Set targets for minimising waste. • Put in place measures for waste recycling.


RENEWABLES & SUSTAINABILITY

It is estimated between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, as well as several million tonnes of glass and scrap metal. If we all start recycling more, we can make a profound difference to this number. 3. Change to LED light bulbs If your premises use incandescent light bulbs, switching to LED light bulbs will slash your energy consumption per bulb by at least 75%. If your premises use CFL bulbs (which are more efficient than incandescent bulbs, but not as efficient as LED bulbs), you will slash your energy consumption per bulb by 35%. LED light bulbs are rated to last around 50,000 hours and they are the most efficient bulbs on the market. They are also available in all sizes.

Being green isn’t just about the environment – it’s also about cutting energy costs, being sustainable and enhancing your brand image 4. Turn appliances off standby Appliances and electrical tools like drills on standby consume around five to 9kWh of electricity each year. If you multiply that number by the number of appliances and tools you own that are left on standby, the wasted electricity soon adds up. It’s better for the environment and your wallet to turn appliances and tools off at the plug, even if it adds a little inconvenience to your day. 5. Install low flow aerators on taps Low flow aerators reduce the flow of water from the faucet of a tap without reducing pressure. You can install them in around 30 seconds, and they save around 50% of the water you would normally use at the sink. Water bills are never extortionately high, however the energy used by water treatment facilities is enormous. By using less water, less water needs to be treated, helping to reduce your impact on the environment. 6. Use a dehumidifier Dehumidifiers are great for garages, workshops and basements that are prone to high humidity. They are also useful indoors for air purification. A dehumidifier reduces humidity by collecting water from the air. You can reuse this water in your business or on-site. 7. Insulate The leading cause of poor energy efficiency in buildings is poor insulation, but how do you know if this is a problem in your premises? The easiest way to find out is by having an Energy Performance Certificate conducted. EPCs are available from a commercial energy assessor. If your building is exempt from requiring an EPC by law, then an EPC will be a voluntary endeavour. We recommend going for it if your business struggles to stay warm and heated when it’s cold outside.

8. Consider Demand Side Response Demand Side Response (DSR) is an intervention you can make to reduce your impact and strain on the National Grid during peak times. It requires you to turn up, turn down or shift your energy use in response to demand on energy infrastructure. It’s about intelligent energy use and timing your operation to reduce strain and potential electricity supply problems. 9. Supplement your energy supply with self-generated electricity If you can supplement your energy supply with electricity that’s self-generated, you will lower your energy bills and reduce your dependency on the grid. A large enough solar panel installation on the roof of your property could power 20 to 30% of your premises, such as lighting and small appliances. Or you might prefer a wind turbine? One turbine is classed as permitted development in non-conservation areas, so long as it stands no taller than 11.1 metres with a swept area no greater than 3.8m. This size of wind turbine would produce around 8 MW a year. 10. Switch to green energy It might surprise you to know that green energy can be cheaper than traditional energy, so long as you compare the market at the right time. With electricity, you can switch to 100% renewable electricity that is either directly sourced from green and renewable sources or purchased from the National Grid and backed by Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs). With gas, there is no such thing as 100% renewable gas, however, some suppliers do a carbon offset to offer carbon-neutral gas. A carbon offset measures the amount of gas used and then invests in renewable projects around the world.

A large enough solar panel installation on the roof of your property could power 20 to 30% of your premises, such as lighting and small appliances As a side note, you can also do your own carbon offsetting by measuring your carbon footprint and investing in renewable projects around the world. You will be able to switch to green energy when your existing contract runs down. It’s a good idea to compare quotes early to get an idea about prices. Your existing supplier may already offer green energy, but it is unlikely the price they quote you on renewal will be the best you can get. Energy suppliers are known for offering low introductory prices (for new customers) and high renewal prices (for existing customers). It’s a lot like car insurance in this sense – a merry-go-round that saps trust in energy prices. Get your quotes in early and you should do well. Green energy should cost you no more than normal energy and it will slash your carbon footprint.

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TALKING POINT

Current account What if an electrical contractor was given the opportunity of turning a potential bad debt write-off into positive cashflow? Andrew Birkwood, founder and CEO at Azzurro Associates, explains how.

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TALKING POINT

usiness can be tough. Even when things are going well and the economy is booming, trouble is never very far away. The unexpected loss of a major customer or a protracted payment dispute can put pressure on cashflow which, if not carefully managed, can soon turn a drama into a crisis. Many electrical businesses and contractors fail, not because they don’t deliver a great product or service, or even have a full order book, but more often because they don’t spend enough time focusing on the cash. That said, even the best run businesses will have been challenged by the uncertainties around Brexit, and even moreso by a global pandemic. And even those with professional credit management teams suffer from late payments. Contractors find themselves chasing customers for work they’ve completed, a service they’ve delivered, or a maintenance contract they’ve fulfilled. Distributors chase contractors for products long-since delivered but not yet paid for; and the manufacturers themselves struggle with payments from both contractors and distributors alike. What is common across all is that they typically have a large volume of comparatively small value invoices to collect. They have to balance at what stage they give up on their own collections activities and recognise that the cost has become disproportionate to the amount overdue, especially if they end up in court when there is still no guarantee they’ll get any money at the end. So what if the finance team was given the opportunity of turning a potential bad debt write off into positive cashflow? Put another way, what if a business could effectively ‘sell’ its invoices for cash? And what if in doing so, the industry helped to effectively create a new ‘category’ of debt management solutions available to the hard-pressed finance director?

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Very few CFOs realise that there is any value in delinquent debt; fewer still, perhaps, are aware that such unpaid invoices can be instantly converted into cash A new debt management solution While the concept of selling debts is not new, it is new to the world of commercial credit. Whereas the acquisition of large consumer debt portfolios is ‘business as usual’, the acquisition of portfolios of delinquent commercial debt is not. It is far less typical for a business to actively seek to buy a commercial portfolio in isolation. Until now. So how does it work? A debt ‘buyer’ values a tranche of debt at anything between (typically) 5% to 30% of its face value. Based on its valuation, this is the amount that the ‘seller’ (the electrical business) receives. The value is determined by a number of different factors, the two most important being the age of the debt and the credit profile of the debtor. A recent invoice to a large, well-established business is likely to pay a higher percentage than a very old one to a small business. The only restrictions relating to the invoices purchased is that they have to be ‘younger’ than six years from the due date, and of a value greater than £100. There are no restrictions, however, to the volume or make up of the portfolio; they may comprise a small number of large

invoices or a large number of small invoices, so long as they have a total value of £50,000 and above (to a maximum of £10 million). Once the invoices have been acquired, the responsibility of collecting the outstanding balances rests with the purchaser. They will use a range of skills and credit reference agency data to determine the appropriate servicing strategy (i.e the collections techniques most likely to result in a successful outcome for all parties). It is those skills and insight that will identify any vulnerable customers, allowing forbearance and breathing space where required. Of the money that is collected, the purchaser shares a proportion of the collections it achieves, which can be as much as 50%, with the amount remitted to the client on a monthly basis. Redefining cashflow finance Other ‘cashflow funding’ options are also available. The Government has gone out of its way to support businesses with various loans, grants and other hand-outs (as of 12 July some £31.70 billion of Bounce Back Loans had been approved for 1,047,611 businesses. By the same date, a further £11.85 billion in CBILS had been granted to 54,538 different firms), but while the effects of the various rescue schemes take time to get off the ground, many cannot afford – quite literally – to wait. Businesses might therefore look to more ‘traditional’ methods of cashflow funding including various forms of invoice finance (factoring, invoice discounting, asset-based finance etc), where the amount of money available is directly linked to the invoices generated. Again, however, such financing has its drawbacks and relies on a constant flow of business and invoicing. As business dries up, so does the cash. Invoice finance providers advance cash against invoices that are still within term (i.e. 30 days), whereas debt buyers provide cash for debts that are overdue or delinquent, and that a business is struggling or has failed to collect. This is an important distinction: whereas the amounts advanced (typically 80% of the invoice/sales ledger value) appear much higher than the amount offered for debts that are sold, they are not comparing like for like. Very few CFOs realise that there is any value in delinquent debt; fewer still, perhaps, are aware that such unpaid invoices can be instantly converted into cash – cash that can be used to invest; cash that would otherwise have simply been written off. It is probably fair to say that there has never been a more important time for businesses to be able to extract value from their unpaid debts. As coronavirus leads to more businesses failing to pay their suppliers, businesses further up the supply chain need to make sure they don’t run into liquidity problems. If there is an up-side to the Covid-19 crisis it is that it has once again obliged businesses to look at their most important asset, and understand the critical importance of cashflow. The speed with which some businesses ran out of cash has been alarming, but the speed with which others re-focused their credit teams was rather more uplifting. Interim small business commissioner Philip King, whose office champions fair payment practices and supports businesses looking to resolve payment disputes, said that “….at times like these we need creative ideas.” Commercial debt purchase – and the emergence of a new genre of debt management solution – is one such ‘creative idea’ that is likely to have traction long into the future.

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FINAL SAY

Light at the end of the tunnel? In this Q&A, Peter Hunt of the Lighting Industry Association (LIA) discusses how lighting can help support economic recovery and the goal of a net zero economy.

Firstly, how severely has the lighting industry been impacted by the pandemic? The lighting industry has been hit by Covid-19 in much the same way as any other business linked to the construction sector. By June we were seeing sales reductions in the region of 40% on figures for the same month in 2019, although this recovered somewhat in July as restrictions were eased. There is modest optimism as our industry looks to the end of the year with predicted sales levels at around 80% of 2019 figures monthon-month. Pockets of the industry have done well, in particular those supplying the supermarkets and large retail outlets, and the same sector is also continuing to roll out their refit programmes which has helped some contract lighting suppliers. Is there light at the end of the tunnel (pun intended) with regards to normality within the lighting industry? This depends to some extent on the success or otherwise of the Government initiatives to stimulate the economic recovery through the construction sector. The recently announced £2 billion Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme does not include lighting, despite early indications that it would. The LIA believes this is a mistake as lighting offers the lowest cost improvement in energy consumption of any measure. Given that the Government has insisted the money must have been spent by the end of March 2021, it is hard to see how the core measures such as insulation, ground and air source heat pumps and solar thermal will be able to gear up to meet a short burst of demand in the few months available. There are still many millions of inefficient lamps burning in people’s homes and this is an ideal opportunity to introduce a ‘new lamps for old’ scheme, which removes them from service and replaces them with efficient LEDs. We very much hope that there will be further initiatives to stimulate public spending on infrastructure projects.

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So, how can the lighting industry help support economic recovery? It is worth noting that 80% of the buildings that will be in use in 2050 already exist, however, much of that stock is old, energy inefficient and, in many cases unhealthy. The UK has among the oldest building stock in the developed world and, arguably, it could be considered a greater priority to improve the energy efficiency of these than building new zero-carbon homes. With only 1% (on average) of buildings undergoing energy renovations each year, it would take over 100 years to deliver on the UK’s 2050 zero carbon objective. Renovation of our ageing building stock will reduce energy demand, while supporting the value chains of the construction industry and create jobs and wealth. The National Infrastructure Commission, established in 2015, has consistently called for greening of the UK building stock to support the government’s statutory commitment to be running a net zero carbon economy by 2050. LED lighting is highly efficient. Add presence detectors, daylight linking, timeclock events, and personal control and the impact can be upwards of an additional 60% over the energy savings already provided by LED lighting. Smart lighting systems can unlock benefits to building operations, and more importantly to the well-being and comfort of the building occupants, as well as their productivity. Will government backing be necessary if lighting is to make a positive impact to the economy? Yes, the Lighting Industry Association recently launched a White Paper setting out a number of measures the Government could adopt to stimulate the economy. • Amend building regulations to increase the efficiency of installed lighting and introduce smart lighting and controls to maximise the energy efficiency of lighting in buildings. • Review taxation policy to encourage uptake of the more efficient technologies. • Incentivise the adoption of ‘circular economy’ thinking in product design to ensure the UK takes the lead in sustainable lighting. Developing a metric to rate a product for its energy consumption in manufacture and use, its upgradability, reusability and recyclability is a way to facilitate this. • Review business rates to incentivise raising the efficiency of buildings. • Public buildings should lead by example through a programme of refurbishment and energy efficiency upgrades. Finally, do you feel the UK’s target of Net Zero by 2050 is realistic? Yes, but it will need a major commitment from the Government to stimulate a green economy to drive this.


PRODUCTS

Scolmore combines fan isolator and fuse on one plate Another installer-inspired new product has been added to Scolmore’s wiring accessories range – a pre-manufactured plate which combines a threepole fan isolator module alongside a 3A fuse. Installers are already fans of the existing fan isolation switch and fused connection unit, which they make up on the MiniGrid plate, and the latest development takes it one step further by combining both modules on a ready-made plate. By providing the fan isolator and fuse on one plate, contractors will save valuable installation time with no need to assemble the modular combination. The new combined 10A fan isolator with 3A fuse plate has been added to the Mode range of contemporary, white antimicrobial wiring accessories, which remains the company’s best-selling range. The new combination plates are supplied with a 20-year warranty.

Scolmore • 01827 63454 www.scolmore.com

CP introduces new family of high-level lighting controls aimed at industrial premises The new family of high bay presence detectors from CP Electronics provides enhanced energy savings through precise light control and longrange detection capability. With a mounting height ranging from 5m to 20m, the 360° detection coverage remains the best in its category, with a detection range diameter of 30m for walk towards, and 40m for walk across when mounted at a height of 15m. The in-built five pyro design ensures detection of small movements, waving arms and nodding heads etc, with no compromise on design. With a field of view of 60°, light is detected from all possible directions, allowing better interpretation of the available amount of natural light in the environment. External positioning of the communication inputs also aids in better reception from the commissioning remote control up to a maximum mounting height of 20m, thus easing the setup and testing time.

CP Electronics • 0333 9000671 www.cpelectronics.co.uk

ESP launches free design service for CCTV and fire systems

U-Lite: The slimline linear LED luminaire from Ovia

ESP has launched a newly dedicated design service which will give contractors access to a free-of-charge design facility that will cover CCTV and fire systems. The aim is to provide expertise in choosing the right products and solutions to create a scheme that meets all the requirements and objectives of the project in question, and that is compliant with all the relevant regulations and standards. From an initial enquiry to discuss the requirements, the next stage will be one of information and measurements gathering. For larger and more complex design schemes, a visit to site will be carried out for a detailed survey. With all the relevant information gathered, including drawings and specifications, a suitable design proposal for a CCTV system or fire system will be created and supplied to the client along with a quotation.

Introducing the U-Lite range of slimline linear LED luminaires from Scolmore Group company, Ovia, designed and developed as the ideal retrofit replacement for single and twin-lamp fluorescent fittings. With 24 variants in the U-Lite range, they can be installed into walls and ceilings or suspended. Suitable for numerous applications, i.e. car parks, warehouses and manufacturing facilities, the range comes in standard, microwave sensor and emergency models, and in three different lengths – 1,200mm, 1,500mm and 1,800mm. Each length is available in a single fluorescent lamp equivalent and a twin lamp equivalent output. Wattage ratings range from 21W to 72W cool white (4,000K) and they offer an LED lifetime of 50,000 hours (L70). Made from non-corrosive polycarbonate, each unit has an IP rating of IP65 and a tough impact protection rating of IK08. They are all supplied with a five-year warranty.

ESP • 01527 515150 www.espuk.com

OVIA • 01827 300640 www.oviauk.com

Test Universe 4.20 available from Omicron

CENTIEL UK expands sales team

Test Universe is Omicron’s most powerful and convenient software tool for settings-based testing of protection relays. Test Universe 4.20 offers various improvements and implements several customer requirements: • Advanced Power module: input options for entering criteria for automatic ramp assessment have been extended and simplified; allows the usage of all binary inputs; Power View displays the trip during ramping in the diagram. • Improved ease of use of all Power and Distance modules due to dynamic ribbon. • Client Server module: full control of all binary outputs of the CMC. • Advanced Transplay: delay time compensation of external amplifiers. • Tolerances in Overcurrent module have been aligned with the standard IEC 60255-151. • Permanent ADMO light license: integrates the full ADMO standalone functionality for central planning and management of up to 50 assets, as well as an unlimited number of test sets. You can download the new software version from Omicron’s Customer Portal (for registered users) via www.my.omicronergy.com.

Leading UPS manufacturer, CENTIEL UK, has appointed Jay Rai as its newest sales engineer, as the company continues to expand its UK operations. Jay Rai will now be responsible for key account management and hardware sales for London and the South, reporting to Louis McGarry, sales and marketing director. Jay Rai joins from critical digital infrastructure provider Vertiv, where he spent a year as part of a graduate recruitment programme, and three years in the commercial and industrial UPS team. His UPS background combined with his experience of sales and marketing skills makes Jay an ideal fit for CENTIEL’s growing sales and marketing department. Jay also has a degree in mechanical engineering for automotive design from Brunel University.

CENTIEL • 01420 82031 www.centiel.co.uk

Omicron • 01785 848100 www.omicronenergy.com

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